By Corey Kirkendoll, President/CEO, 5k Technical Services and ASCII Group Member Since 2016
The managed services market is changing rapidly and, if you are not staying on top of the plethora of new technologies introduced almost daily you’ll find yourself left behind, struggling to stay relevant. With new VoIP, backup, and security companies popping up every other week, it’s imperative to stay aware if you want to ensure you’re continuously providing your clients the best in class in any service you deliver.
As an MSP myself, I see these three trends changing the way we work and deliver best-in-class services.
- Cloud services — What do you think of when you here the term “cloud services?” I define cloud as anything doing some type of work or processing for a customer that is not located on their internal network. The advances in the architectures, technologies, and vendors that provide cloud services has made it necessary for every company have all or part of its business running in the cloud. You can save your customer time and money by allowing applications, email, and other workloads to be hosted on cloud infrastructure. One thing you should remember when migrating to the cloud is you have to plan accordingly because the way you deliver and administer services will change dramatically. You also need to adjust your support costs and may need to bring in some additional expertise to leverage the new service offering. Make sure you do your homework — it’s not as simple as loading an agent and letting it do its magic.
- Security — With the explosion of malware, ransomware, and other cyber security threats, MSPs must ensure they have a solid network design with layers of security. The days of simply having AV on the client machine is no longer enough and will not suffice. You need to have the right firewall, properly segmented network with a DMZ, and proper backups performed and tested regularly. If an MSP does not have these basic things, they are putting themselves and their clients at a huge risk. MSPs need to make sure they have a plan in place as well as an in-the-event-of-an-incident-how-will-you-handle-an-emergency-and-keep-you-and-your-customer-safe plan. Every MSP needs to have the proper policies and procedures in place for themselves and their customers to ensure they can detect, respond, and remediate any type of cyber security attack.
- Consolation of RMM and PSA tools — MSPs rely heavily on PSA and RMM tools which are a key factor on the services they can provide to their clients. With all the consolidation going on, MSPs need to be continually evaluating their tools, looking for the best features and functionality to ensure they can deliver world-class services to their clients. This does not mean you have to change or move away from your current provider, but you should always evaluate the competition and make recommendations to your tool provider to add features you like and add value to your offering. For old-school MSPs, the new tools allow MSPs to get in the game cheaper and faster than before. This is both good and bad because a RMM and PSA are table stakes and nothing you can hang your hat on as a true differentiator. You will have to really hone in on your Unique Value Proposition and show your true value.
As an MSP, I feel if you are to be competitive in the future you need to make sure you have a solid cloud services offering and a way to move your customers to it. You also need to ensure both your and your customers’ security is the highest priority. You need to continue to ensure you are always using and adopting the latest and greatest tools to supply and deliver your services. If you follow these three trends there is no doubt you will be ahead of the game that is constantly changing the way MSPs work and support their clients.
About The ASCII Group, Inc.
The ASCII Group is a vibrant reseller community of independent MSPs, VARs, and other solution providers. Formed in 1984, ASCII has more than 70 programs that provide turnkey cost-cutting strategies, innovative business building programs, and extensive peer interaction. ASCII members enjoy benefits such as marketing support; educational information; group purchasing power; increased leverage in the marketplace; and multiple networking opportunities. These programs enable ASCII members to increase revenue, lower operating costs, and grow service opportunities. ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent information technology (IT) solution providers, integrators and value added resellers (VARs) in the world. Learn more at www.ascii.com.