We can thank the pandemic for the fast shift from office-bound employees to a remote, at-home workforce. The CEO of one online job search service called it “the largest change in American working and living conditions since World War II.” His company predicts that 25 percent of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by year-end. Many of us—maybe most of us—were amazed how organizations made the transition to remote work quickly and seamlessly. And MSPs played an indispensable role in making that happen.
Now, we’re slowly but surely moving past COVID. And if you’re an MSP, you have a crucial part to play in helping each of your customers find its own new normal. Based on current trends, it’s most likely that hybrid environments will win out, where some employees work from home, some work from the office, and some split their time between the two. A recent Gallup study found that 53 percent of businesses anticipate having a hybrid work environment in 2022 and beyond.
That spells opportunity for MSPs. Helping your customers meet hybrid work demands by strengthening their IT infrastructures and security postures allows you to develop new revenue streams and grow your business.
Data Backup and Recovery: MSPs Can Make it Better
The first thing you can do as an MSP is ensure that your customers have a solid, stable infrastructure that can meet the challenges of our post-COVID world—especially when it comes to data protection. That starts by offering better backup and recovery options.
This should be your starting point because we’ve already seen how hybrid work opens the door to new attack vectors. With organizations evolving quickly, employees working from less secure home offices, and mountains of data moving to the cloud, ransomware attacks have skyrocketed. The numbers bear this out, with the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report highlighting that their customers saw 623.3 million ransomware attacks globally last year—an average of 2,170 each and a 105 percent year over year increase.
With the lines between corporate and personal networks now blurred by this hybrid workforce, new doors have been opened that let hackers wreak havoc on your customers’ businesses. And it will only get worse as new technologies like IoT and 5G create potential vulnerabilities as they generate ever more data that attackers would love to lock down for ransom. That puts MSPs in a perfect position to help your customers deploy data protection, backup, and recovery strategies that prevent ransomware from causing significant damage.
As an MSP, you can help your customers react quickly to ransomware attacks and substantially mitigate any damage by deploying or recommending the right backup solution for their needs. That includes leveraging leading-edge backup storage solutions that take data snapshots every 90 seconds. These immutable snapshots offer your customers a continuous set of recovery points. And, because immutable snapshots are saved in a write-once, read many times format, they can’t be altered or deleted. That means your customers can recover, even if ransomware makes its way into their network.
More Services, More Data Protections, More Revenues
As their MSP, your customers look to you to provide the services they need—like better backup and recovery. Penetration testing (pen test) is quickly becoming another MSP customer demand, with most MSPs already offering the service, testing for vulnerabilities in customer systems and fixing them as needed.
A pen test is a fast, affordable way for MSPs to uncover their customers’ vulnerabilities. In a typical pen test, you look for common configuration issues, identify flaws that might be undetected by automated tools, and evaluate the effectiveness of your customers’ security controls. When a pen test finds a security gap, you can provide the solution to close it.
Another opportunity for MSPs is providing backup and recovery capabilities testing. Even with cyberattacks in the headlines almost daily, many of your customers probably don’t test their data recovery plan or, even worse, don’t even have a data recovery plan. Again, this is where your expertise as an MSP means you are well-positioned to help your customers regularly test their backups and, most importantly, recover quickly if they experience a data loss.
A new avenue that MSPs are looking into is supporting customer cyber insurance acquisition. Large, traditional insurers are increasingly selective about underwriting businesses, with cyber insurance becoming harder to get and more costly—there was a 96 percent year-over-year increase in the cost of cyber insurance in 2021. Getting cyber insurance demands that organizations have robust cybersecurity protocols and processes. That means your customers need to work with you, as their MSP, to put these protocols and processes in place to meet the insurers' requirements.
Add these up, and it all spells more revenue opportunities for MSPs.
Hybrid Work Isn’t Going Anywhere
The hybrid workforce is here to stay. Employees demand it, with jobs that are specified as “remote” getting 300 percent more applicants than onsite jobs, according to ZipRecruiter. That is forcing companies to adapt, including transitioning to the cloud.
As an MSP, you can help your customers find the right balance between on-premises and the cloud. And by also embracing the hybrid workforce model, you are more likely to be able to meet your customers’ needs, ensuring that you bring relevance and add value to your working relationship.
MSPs: Partnerships That Matter
If nothing else, the past two years have demonstrated the value that MSPs bring to businesses as their IT partners. And there are plenty of changes still to come that will force you to think beyond your traditional offerings so you can offer your customers a complete suite of solutions—beyond pen testing and cyber insurance support. Helping your customers flourish in today’s hybrid work world is a clear path to ensuring MSPs do the same.
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