2020 changed everything for Managed Service Providers

2020 will be known as the year that changed everything, everyone and every sector – and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are no exception says  Zyxel Regional Director Rachel Rothwell (pictured) .

Rothwell said the MSP’s customers needs virtually changed overnight once the pandemic took hold. Those that were once hesitant to allow remote working had their hand forced and are now more relaxed about allowing employees to work from home. But this also means the network needs to be more robust. Many businesses have put money in place to keep people connected from home, many of which were short term solutions not suitable for long term remote working in the ‘new abnormal’.

“While there’s still a large amount of uncertainty regarding what ‘the new normal’ will look like, the short-term challenges for the IT teams that MSP’s work with are becoming more apparent. With restricted access to offices and strict social distancing regulations, there could be complications with respect to installing new equipment. There are new rules and safety guidelines to adhere to in terms of the delivery and installation of new equipment on site – and who can come onto the premises as well”, Rothwell said.

Restricted access to offices could create challenges with hardware support. If devices are managed as stand-alone units or used as a simple on-network management protocol (SNMP) solution, there may be some difficulties if network administration staff are not on-site all the time. If network administrators aren’t there to monitor traffic and devices, if anything goes wrong there will be a delay in correcting the problem. In contrast, being able to offer remote support as part of an ongoing managed service offering minimises unnecessary boots on the ground, while ensuring IT systems are quickly up and running – and remote workers are back online – without having to visit the office, she said.

“A further challenge for many businesses is the availability of IT budgets. With a sharp increase in IT spend at the start of the lockdown period to enable home workers, on top of additional costs associated with the pandemic, IT budgets are likely to be leaner for the foreseeable future. With less upfront budget for new IT equipment, organisations may look to extend the lifecycle of their current hardware or opt for other ways to spread out IT costs, preferring an OpEx costing model to an up-front CapEx model”, Rothwell added.

She said that MSPs must now work with their customers to future proof IT. [Possibly with a crystal ball, a set of Tarot cards, the I Ching or geomancy? Ed.]