The Future of the MSP: Expert Predictions for 2018

By now, you’ve probably read plenty of predictions for the managed IT services industry in the new year. If not, here’s a brief summary: AI will take off, the cloud will become a big player for businesses, cyber security will continue to be a focal point, and IT services will be in higher demand. But which trends and changes in the market are actually worth watching?

Keep reading to discover key insights into the future of managed IT services and best practices you can put to use right away to align your MSP business for success in 2018.

Recently, Continuum CEO Michael George and other Continuum executives shared their own predictions for the managed services market with Below are the key takeaways and what impacts it could have on your business.

Prediction #1: Clients Will Expect Enhanced Security

The number one reason that service providers might lose business in 2018 will be because of cyber security. End clients now have the mentality that their MSP will take every necessary step to secure them against cyber threats. However, an evolving threat landscape means there are new sets of attack vectors that clients aren't prepared for, not to mention a growing portfolio of security tools that they're not paying for.

“Service providers are going to face difficult conversations with their clients, in which they need to explain how the threat has changed and what the clients now need to be protected,” says Michael George. “These will be challenging, but with the marketplace rapidly retooling and retraining to meet this demand, these service providers must either face the difficult conversation or face being unseated by a more capable rival.”

What Does This Mean for You?

As more companies begin to adopt this "security-first" thinking, service providers will be forced to reeducate clients and prospects on what security means today and what expectations to have. Leaders in the market should focus on getting organizations thinking about security through regular awareness campaigns or simulated security attacks with phishing and other attack vectors.

Additionally, service providers need to decide if they want to have these tough conversations now, or in the aftermath of an attack their clients thought they were protected against. This is a place where smart MSPs can set themselves apart by leading with a comprehensive and effective security solution.

Pro Tip: If you want to accelerate your cyber security sales in 2018, download this success kit!

Prediction #2: More Movement (and Complexity) in the Cloud

We can expect to see fewer on-premise servers in 2018 as SMBs will continue to move more servers to the cloud. Why? Because they think it is safer, less expensive and more reliable.

At the same time, this will give way to a new major challenge for SMBs: complexity. This movement to the cloud means access from anywhere, but it also means more accounts to keep up with and more data spanning from the cloud to on-premise. What’s more, it means more to manage and more to protect.

“This year we saw more cloud-based disaster recoveries than ever in the history of BDR at Continuum,” says Randy Bowie, Vice President of Backup Products & Engineering. “This was driven by natural disasters at a time when small business is more dependent on IT than ever. I think we will see this trend continue in 2018, as cloud disaster recovery is a necessity for a growing number of businesses. Backup of cloud-based services, such as e-mail and productivity applications will continue growing as these applications continue moving off premise.”

Pro Tip: Click here to download your guide to explaining the cloud to clients!

What Does This Mean for You?

Confidentiality, integrity, and availability will become the triad of data security and compliance. Accordingly, Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solutions will be viewed more in this light than ever before.

A solution which cannot demonstrate protection from unauthorized access, data tampering, while providing ready access to authorized users is simply not viable. Long-term data retention driven by compliance will continue to benefit from the expansion of highly durable and secure long-term storage options from Amazon, Azure, Google, IBM and others. These technologies also provide a good alternative for offsite backup.

Overall, it looks as though service providers will need to shift their organizational focus and economics from service delivery to becoming better in-tune with their market and selling against their needs, or they could struggle to survive beyond 2019.

Want to learn more? Click here to read the full article.


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