As a managed IT services customer, you pay for your MSP to be laser-focused on your challenges and also stay updated on the ever-changing nature of technology.
You turn to your MSP for leadership, so you don’t have to try and make sense of IT on your own.
2021 threw some curveballs at MSPs, and at The KR Group, we’re expecting some of these challenges to continue into 2022. However, we’re confident that we have the knowledge and resources to keep your IT environment secure and profitable regardless of what the next 12 months have in store.
Wondering what that will look like as the new year approaches? Here are a few topics The KR Group’s managed IT services team – and any MSP – is keeping in mind:
- Increased reliance on external IT management
- Challenges facing managed IT services
- Focus on cybersecurity
- Demand for more transparency
Of course, time will only tell what 2022 has in store for managed IT services, but for now, here are the conversations MSPs are having.
Increased Reliance on External IT Management
As employees continue working from home full- or part-time, many organizations have traded some or all of their on-site infrastructure for cloud-based alternatives. Without on-site infrastructure or employees, the benefits of an internal IT person start to wane.
Combine this with continual labor shortages, many organizations have turned to outside help for their technology because it takes IT off of their plate.
Managed IT services gives you the ability to allocate all the duties of your IT (on-site or cloud-based) to your MSP. This includes bundled IT solutions, as well as support for them.
In other words, it’s clear why managed IT services have become so popular, but 2021 still handed MSPs a fair share of less than ideal circumstances.
Challenges MSPs Faced in 2021
Regardless of what industry you’re in, we all had our fair share of difficulties to overcome over the last several months.
In managed IT services, here are some that have impacted providers the most:
1. Supporting Remote Workers
With many employees permanently working from home full-time or part-time, the consumption of IT has shifted.
No longer are your users only depending on the IT physically in your office, but they now have a home office with some of its own infrastructure.
Your MSP had to decide what to do with the solutions users depend on but aren’t a part of your organization’s internal infrastructure.
For example, if your remote employee has an issue with their home router, does the MSP get involved in resolving the issue?
It’s unlikely an MSP will send an engineer to visit your employees’ residences, but they may provide some assistance on how to troubleshoot the device – a service not many MSPs provided prior to Covid.
2. Labor Shortages
One of the benefits customers reap from MSPs is access to highly skilled and knowledgeable IT engineers. To attract these employees, MSPs now have to think outside of the box for recruitment.
If it takes longer than normal for your MSP to resolve your service request, keep in mind they’re likely struggling with the same labor problems as every other organization.
3. Shipping Delays
If you’ve ordered something online recently, you know there are significant shipping delays. From having supplies stuck on cargo ships off the coast of Los Angeles to a shortage of truck drivers and delivery personnel, it’s taking weeks or even months for solutions to arrive.
As a result, MSPs have started noticing customers pre-purchasing equipment for projects that they intend to implement six or more months in the future.
Additionally, MSPs are working with customers with an extended shipping timeline in mind. If you’re working with your MSP for a future project, then, they’ll likely start talking about making a plan well before you actually need the project completed.
Focus on Cybersecurity
Security breaches have gone from affecting one business at a time to simultaneously disrupting many organizations.
Back in April of 2021, the Solar Winds breach took everyone by surprise when it successfully impacted multiple government agencies and large enterprise customers.
And while it got the attention of leaders in the small- and medium-sized business segment, the general attitude is that a breach of that magnitude would only be directed at larger organizations.
Then, when Kaseya, an IT management software, was hacked in July 2021, it became evident that a far-reaching attack could impact anyone. And, MSPs are targeted even more than smaller organizations because if the attacker can manipulate an MSP’s data, then they can reach all the customers under that provider’s care.
So how is the managed IT services industry addressing this?
As we approach 2022, external regulatory agencies – such as CMMC, HIPAA, FRPA, and others – are cracking down on what they consider to be adequate security.
MSPs are re-evaluating their own security solutions and doing their best to ensure you’re protected if a breach like this were to happen again.
For example, The KR Group has included security assessments in the ongoing maintenance of MSP customers’ IT environments and upgraded all of our clients to a next-generation antivirus.
Increase in Transparency
The combination of recent cyberattacks that hit a little too close for MSP customers’ comfort and changes from individual MSPs and their ecosystem partners has created a more wary attitude toward cybersecurity.
Existing and prospective customers are asking questions like, “How do I know my MSP is taking care of my cybersecurity needs?” or “What objective proof is there that the solutions my MSP recommends will protect my IT environment?”
Instead of you just taking your MSP’s word that the security solutions are effective, you’re asking them to answer questions they may have never been asked before.
But these questions hold your MSP accountable for providing you with the best service and solutions in today’s tumultuous IT landscape, and that is a good thing.
Thinking about Managed IT Services in 2022
Whether you’re already a managed services customer or thinking about handing over your IT to an MSP in 2022, there’s a lot to evaluate about the service’s future.
The demand for external IT management is continuing to rise as staffing challenges and outsourced solutions increase.
At the same time, your MSP must keep up with cybersecurity trends to protect themselves and your organization as the impact of a breach continues to grow. With such high stakes, you also should understand why your MSP is making these decisions and how they’re protecting your environment.
But through all of this, keep in mind that MSPs are going through their own struggles, such as adjusting to users working from home, finding adequate labor, and planning for extended shipping times.
Managed IT services will continue to provide needed IT support in 2022, and it will continue to evolve with the rest of technology.
To learn more about everything an MSP can do for your business, check out this free guide to all things managed IT services.