The world of IT is evolving. Imagine that! We all realize that change can come swiftly and being nimble enough to adapt to change can be a challenge. But if we look back, how has the world of IT changed and where is it heading? It's time we look at the past, present and future of a service provider’s role and responsibility to their customers. 

IT Providers Way Back When

The IT service provider of yesterday was mainly focused on supporting devices. The workforce generally came into the office, worked from 9am to 5pm on their desktop computers, then packed up and went home. Before the explosion of laptops, smart phones and tablets, working from home mainly consisted of paperwork and phone calls. As a result, a service provider’s main responsibly to their customers was making sure the servers were running, the computers were working, and the network was reliable. Most of the work was still done in the office.

Enter: the Cloud - Our Current State of IT

The introduction of the “cloud” has started to change how people work, and because of that, service providers need to start evolving their roles as well. Now, companies and individuals are sending data to the cloud, so service providers are not only responsible for making sure devices are working, but making sure data is secure and accessible as well. You’ve probably noticed the huge spike in adoption of backup and disaster recovery services and other security solutions over the past few years. The cloud is quickly changing the way people work and service providers need to adapt, learn new skills and offer new services to stay relevant to their customers.

What's the Cloud Forecast?

I don’t see this slowing down anytime in the near future. In fact, I only see the cloud becoming more and more important to companies and employees as time goes on. Those pesky millennials (I can say that because I technically am one) are pushing the boundaries of the traditional workplace and forcing companies to rethink how business is done. This brings me to the core idea of this blog post.

The Future of IT and How Providers Should Be Responding

The future of IT is about access. Can I get to my data anywhere, anytime, from whatever device I’m working on? Data needs to be accessible all the time. The role of IT is moving away from taking care of devices to taking care of the user. Managing the user experience and ensuring that employees can be as collaborative and productive as possible.

Bring Your Own Solution

You may be in the camp that thinks bring-your-own-device (BYOD ) is “dead” (or dying) and that your customers don’t care about Shadow IT and bring-your-own-application (BYOA), but it’s hard to ignore the abundance of data surrounding these trends. A recent LogMeIn study found that 7x more cloud applications are running on your customer’s network than you think and about 70% of organizations report some form of BYOA on their network. To download the full LogMeIn BYOA independent research report, visit this landing page. Also, join us at our breakout at the Continuum Navigate conference; our session will provide you with some real insight into what’s actually happening on your customers’ networks and what you can start doing today to manage it.

You need to start addressing these trends now, before your customers start doing it for you. The security risks around BYOD and BYOA are absolute realties and if you aren’t trying to address them with your customers you are doing them a disservice. Enable your customers. Find ways to provide them with access to their critical business data without compromising security. Otherwise, they will keep finding ways to go around you.