Managed IT Services in 2020
Businesses are wrestling with a harsh climate. An unpredictable economic environment, employees working remotely and in the office, cybercrime on the rise, and the continuation of technology being essential to day-to-day operations are the tip of the IT challenge iceberg. The realities of operating a business during the global health pandemic have only underscored the importance of IT and made its operations more difficult.
MORE THAN COST REDUCTION
The demands on businesses have reached the point where, for many, managed IT services are the only answer. Today’s managed service providers (MSPs) take on a strategic partner role to help organizations transform and run their operations and processes. These strategic partnerships bring more than cost reductions. A strong focus on the strategic fit, the partner's level of investment, cybersecurity experience, and the ability to offer virtual CIO services are critical to choosing the right teammate.
The right MSP will enable your organization to keep up with the latest technologies, while controlling expenses. By reducing the risk of using new technology with a seasoned team of experts on hand, you'll improve efficiency and achieve operational benefits.
As the demand for IT services increases, MSPs are responding with new services. Here are some of the important trends for MSPs in 2020.
Cybercrime is on the rise. A report from Juniper Research estimated that on average, small businesses spend less than $500 per year on cybersecurity, and many use consumer-grade products. Even worse, a report from BullGuard found that 43% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have no cybersecurity defense plan. It is a growing problem that isn't subsiding, and ignoring it is a recipe for disaster. By working with an MSP for cybersecurity, SMBs get the support of a strategic partner focused on protecting their company from attacks and recovering quickly against any breach.
The cloud isn’t new in 2020, but it has undoubtedly earned its spot on the list with COVID-19. The disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has forced companies to adjust their operations. For those businesses that rely on MSPs with cloud services, there was instant availability of IT resources. Employees were able to switch from the office to a work-from-home environment with relative ease. As businesses begin to bring employees back to the office, the flexibility that the cloud brings will continue to be an essential component of MSPs.
The number of demands on IT resources has escalated dramatically in 2020. Employees need help deciding when to use company infrastructure, how to connect to the corporate networks, what security steps to take, and what collaboration tools to install. These critical decisions don't take into account the longer-term planning and strategy needed for bringing employees back to the office or how to handle software end-of-life concerns.
A virtual CIO (vCIO) is a senior technology expert that delivers strategic advice to your company on an as-needed basis. With a vCIO on your managed service team, you can focus on the core business with the confidence that a trusted expert plans ahead and looks at how technology can continue to help your business be successful. While virtual CIOs are becoming more common in managed services, this isn't a role that can be filled easily. It is crucial to make sure your MSP has seasoned experts in these roles with the experience that is relevant to your needs. A virtual CIO can help your company in a few important ways:
- Create a strategic technology framework that maps to the business key initiatives
- Design and implement methods and processes to drive change
- Oversee your day-to-day technology direction
- Provide expert advice during unexpected events and crises
- Support strategic technology vendor relationships
It used to be that working with an MSP meant receiving historical reports on key indicators with no information on what was happening on a real-time basis. It could be frustrating and a reason why businesses avoided managed services. Thanks to all the capabilities built into technology infrastructure, your MSP can build a dashboard that gives you a window in your network performance. The advantage is being able to see, at any moment, what is important for you.
Not all MSPs offer this service. It requires an investment from the MSP to build the service and make sure it works with all the technical elements in your network. Another advantage of this functionality is the confidence that your MSP has the technology chops needed for this strategic role.
Charting a course to the future, while navigating today’s environment is no easy feat. Managed services can give your business an advantage. The recent advancements in services offered by an MSP partnership have become a must for companies of all sizes.