For a lot of modern businesses, MSPs play a valuable role. MSPs are the secret weapon for companies looking to streamline processes for a competitive advantage. Whether that’s through building networks or purchasing devices for end users, application and software support, or maintaining networks in all varieties. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated growth in new and unpredictable ways.
What’s the old saying, “where some see risk, others see opportunity?” All these areas have one thing in common: opportunities in the next year for MSPs to consider taking on new service offerings. Let’s look at what we see as three of the main trends in managed services ready to take more of in clients’ needs. And what you might be able to do to respond.
Increased Need for Managed Security Solutions
In the The 2022 State of IT report from Spiceworks’ Ziff Davis, managed services will continue to take up more and more of companies’ budgets. Managed security services expect to grow to 10% of total MSP budgets over the next year.
Employees also still have to work remotely. This means IT teams have to find more effective ways to secure data, no matter where their people are. Or what networks they’re using. This will continue well beyond 2022. Gartner Research expects that by the end of 2023 more than 82% of companies will continue to allow employees to work remotely to some degree. Further, more than 90% of IT operations and infrastructure teams will continue to work remotely.
Cyberattacks have also increased significantly since 2020. Brute-force attacks spiked by 400% in March and April 2020 on devices running remote desktop protocols. Email scams also grew by 667% in 2020, while malicious files that used “Zoom” as part of their name increased by 2,000%.
Cleanup costs for a data breach averaged $3.9 million in 2020, along with incalculable damage to company reputations. Businesses have even more reason to consider the many positives managed security presents. It’s much more cost-effective than supporting your own hardware. It’s always up-to-date and always staffed by trained experts. Managed services and can also adapt quicker than on-premise solutions can.
With that in mind, we’ve identified three key areas within security services that MSPs should consider offering solutions for in 2022. These include:
- Cybersecurity monitoring and management (Security as a Service)
- Endpoint protection
- Security as a Service (SECaaS)
One excellent opportunity we see is for MSPs to expand offerings beyond basic security. Services like software implementation. In particular, MSPs should look toward offering security solutions that include continuous evaluation and zero trust models, like Multi-Factor Authentication.
Another more overlooked aspect, less technical but no less important, is end-user education.
Multifactor Authentication (MFA) is one of the most effective ways for businesses to protect themselves from attack. But, setting up MFA services is not an off-the-shelf job. Your MSP is likely already well-suited to help with the deployment and onboarding of an MFA solution on all web-facing applications.
And the market seems to agree. The 2022 State of the IT shows that 68% of respondents would be accelerating the adoption of hardware-based/MFA authentication.
Another of the trends in managed services we’re seeing around security is endpoint protection—specifically, security information and event management (SIEM) and patch management.
SIEM helps businesses discover and deal with potential vulnerabilities and threats before they become an emergency. This is made up of several components in your network monitoring and management system, including network traffic analysis, network visibility and inventory, cloud network monitoring, and more, all in one centralized, cloud-based software set up.
Maintaining this level of network visibility (download our free ebook with more great tips on how to up your network visibility), is a challenge for many businesses, especially if they don’t have the necessary personnel. Unfortunately, it isn’t always financially feasible to hire the IT staff needed, which is where your MSPs come in.
The same also applies to patch management. It’s a struggle for many companies to keep their software up to date with essential security patches, especially if they’re still trying to do it manually. That’s leading to gaps in perimeter security, and a big rise in things like malware-based firmware attacks on enterprise networks.
If one of the goals of network monitoring is reducing downtime and the risk of disruption, security becomes an overlapping issue. MSPs can take advantage of these trends in managed services by offering SIEM and patch management as part of their network monitoring and management service hours.
By now you’ve probably noticed: that a number of businesses (maybe even your own!) were, and maybe still are, unprepared from a security standpoint especially when it comes to securing remote workers. Employees were used to operating in a highly secure environment that filtered many threats before they ever reached them. Email scams rarely reach the end-user in an on-site, secured network environment. There was no real need to ensure employees understood why they shouldn’t click or download anything from unknown users.
Now, as employees connect remotely, that “filter” is no longer there, but their behavior hasn’t changed. This lack of awareness of threats increases the risks of bad actors gaining access to your network remotely.
A lot of companies have become aware of this, and are turning to third parties for help. And that could be you. Employee security threat education and testing against end-users is going to be more and more important. The 2022 State of IT shows a whopping 76% of companies surveyed plan to increase their adoption of employee security training tools.
Security as a Service
No matter what approach seems doable for your MSP, consider using a subscription-based approach. These types of “Security as a service (SECaas)” offerings allow businesses to implement powerful security solutions far more cost-effectively compared to the total cost of ownership. Leveraging some truly heavy-weight security measures you could never afford to buy and implement on your own is, like many other aspects of the cloud hosting revolution, a game-changer for the majority of small and medium enterprises.
It’s also an excellent model for MSPs as it provides predictable and guaranteed income that makes it easier to manage cash flow and expansion.
Email security, SSO, and even cloud access are all avenues to explore.
A larger market means an expanded client base
This coming trend isn’t so much about one particular tactic or service, but more of a whole expansion of the market itself into new territory. We expect to see is a significant growth of the client market in areas that have formerly been reserved for “large” MSPs, or would normally have their own in-house corporate IT teams.
Through 2020 and 2021, many businesses simply didn’t have the IT infrastructure necessary to ensure their employees could be productive, even when working from home. So, many turned to MSPs. MSPs already have the experience to support companies working from multiple locations, making it relatively easy to expand their services to include remote work solutions.
This is probably not news to you. You’ve been living it for the last two years! But not only are overall IT budget allocations to MSPs increasing at a steady pace to keep up with working trends, but it’s who’s spending that made our ears perk up.
Mid-market companies— those with between 501 and 1,000 employees—are becoming more open to working with MSPs. Traditionally inaccessible (only 17% of small MSPs and 25% of midsize MSPs stated they worked with companies in this bracket), these companies are now looking to reduce costs, but also manage increasingly complex network problems. And that’s prompting many to seek the help of available, reputable MSPs (and not just “large” ones).
Interestingly, mid-market companies represent a mere 3% of all U.S. businesses, but they are responsible for generating 33% of private sector employment and GDP, making this sector an invaluable client base for managed service providers.
Furthermore, we’re also poised to see the mid-market growth become more pointed in certain sectors, like an increase in MSP spending in the education sector:
- The pandemic has accelerated the need for digital transformation in the education sector, which will need increasingly more help with remote learning, security management, infrastructure updates, automated backups, and much more.
- As the co-managed IT model becomes more popular, we’ll start to see MSPs that narrow their focus to target companies where they can support the in-house IT team with specialized knowledge and experience.
A need to manage all these new cloud networks
Finally, look to see an even more accelerated adoption of cloud services and virtual environments, and as a result, an increase in spend on management of those services.
Many companies were forced to rush and adopt cloud tech as they transitioned to a remote work model in 2020. But a pivot to cloud services isn’t something a company undertakes lightly. Instead of planning the move properly, companies ended up with siloed cloud solutions, and a bunch of disconnected tools that may be redundant, overlapping, and creating a host of security risks.
As well, with so many cloud options available, many businesses are utterly confused about the best option for their needs.
Therefore, an increasing number of businesses will see MSPs as the right solution now to fix and streamline their on-premise architecture, and help to guide them in choosing the right cloud solutions. Which in turn means ongoing service and end-user support.
According to Gartner, the cloud system infrastructure managed services market will grow to $81 billion in 2022, compared to $44 billion in 2019.
The 2022 State of IT report also predicts that 50% of all network traffic will be cloud-based by the end of 2022. MSPs that can quickly expand their offerings into cloud monitoring solutions will be in the perfect position to take advantage of this managed services trend.
The forecast shows that the market is growing, but right now it’s large MSPs that are the ones benefiting the most; expanding at a faster rate than smaller firms. Many smaller MSPs are being swallowed up by their larger counterparts through acquisitions, or they’re simply going out of business because they can’t keep up.
Smaller MSPs must diversify and mature their service offerings to keep up with evolving customer needs if they want to survive. Break/Fix alone won’t keep the lights on for much longer.
For smaller independent MSPs to survive, it’s time to take advantage of scale. Employing a network monitoring and management system like Auvik can quickly enable smaller MSPs to manage operations and for multiple networks (and multiple clients!) more efficiently, thereby allowing them to scale their business.
Now is the time to take action on trends in managed services. See how Auvik can help your MSP scale fast in 2022, and manage more clients more effectively. Get your free 14-day Auvik trial here.
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