We’re back with another excerpt from Ray Vrabel’s, popular Breaking Bad blog series from SMB Nation. This time, we're covering a common curse many of you managed IT services providers (MSPs) fall victim to – Business Complacency. Unlike other threats, business complacency is a silent, slowly developing hazard that can leave your business vulnerable.
Luckily, Ray has you covered! Are you thinking about how to improve your service offering? Outlined below, are a few irresistible technologies to present to your clients. Be proactive. Don't let yourself get caught in a rut. There's business value in expanding your portfolio, and your clients (both new and existing) will thank you!
1.) Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)
While you might currently be working as break/fix, managed services is still trending at an upward pace. In fact, recent studies are predicting a bumper year in 2014 for MSPs. According to Markets and Markets, the managed services market will grow by almost 80%, from $142.75 billion in 2013 to $256.05 billion in 2018. This demand is set to translate across every industry vertical. However, even if you are apprehensive about offering a recurring business model, start slowly by first adding an RMM tool. Find one that provides the freedom to scale your business and allows you to invest as little or as much as you want.
Providing some type of remote support is key when a problem should occur; it’s even appropriate if you are running a break/fix model. This way, you can think about issues before they occur, all while keeping employee uptime to a maximum and avoiding downtime. Remember, each time you do something that’s proactive for your business (like adding RMM), you are moving one step closer to a managed services model, whether you intend to or not.
2.) Regular Updates and Patch Management
No solution provider wants, no matter what business model they are offering, a client whose patches are out of date and not secure – this could lead to potential disaster. For instance, think about what happened earlier this month with the Community Health System security breach; nearly 4.5 million patient data records were compromised. While this is a much larger scale than your SMB clients, even if just one of your clients experiences a data breach, it can lead to much larger problems. Most of these breaches and viruses, for example Cryptolocker, ultimately settle by way of weak or out-of-date patches. Patches can protect against these vulnerabilities in which hackers can easily gain access. By keeping track of your clients’ patches and offering updates, you save both yourself and your client time and stress that could lead to a possible data compromise.
3.) Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR)
This is a technology that is truly a no-brainer. Even if you only budget for one additional technology, I recommend BDR. It offers low overhead to your client and is not costly for you. I have seen many solution providers who have shifted their business model to managed services simply because they wanted to add BDR. Managed services isn’t something you can actually “touch” and/or “feel,” so many times it can seem a bit more daunting when moving from break/fix--not to mention a harder value proposition sell to your client. But because BDR is an actual device and function that can be demonstrated, it is often the stepping stone that leads to a managed services model. This, coupled with its ROI and up-front cost-effective price point, can be the first move toward putting together an eventual managed services model. And you might even pick up some new clients along the way.
4.) File Sync and Share
In the last year, I have seen more gravitation toward this technology. File sync and share offers low overhead and cost and is another way to get your foot in the door to talk with new clients about this hot topic. File sync and share could also be a way to get your business ready to move to the cloud (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet). The reality is that everything is moving into a virtual world, and now with the cloud and other phenomena such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and smartphones, users want to access their data anywhere, and at any time. With a reliable file sync and share platform, you can offer this (along with BDR) to ensure that your client’s data is safeguarded and accessible at all times.
For Ray’s complete article, Breaking Bad Part 7: Combating Business Complacency, click here.
In the end, you need to stay relevant with fresh, new ideas to grow your MSP business. Even if you start by adding only one of these four services, continually update your offering. You won't just make current clients stickier, you'll attract new prospects as well! Recognizing this value and potential is the first step toward offering a true, managed IT services business model.
What else might you be doing wrong?