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Recent Impacts on MSPs Due to COVID-19

27 May 2020 by Natalie Frith

MSPs

We know there’s a lot of information circulating right now related to remote working, and with so many of us confined to home offices, it seems we have even more time to consume this information. Well, we assure you; this won’t be another ‘tips for working from home’ article.

Below is a roundup of some key takeaways on topics of interest for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) – food for thought during your next break in the home office.

We’ll start with the good news for MSPs

We are in the midst of a never before seen accelerated digital transformation, resulting in droves of cloud service adoption including Office 365.

Microsoft Teams is up to more than 75 million users now, a number that has nearly doubled since March, and commercial Office 365 subscriptions are up to 258 million, according to the latest tally. “As COVID-19 impacts every aspect of our work in life, we have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during an earnings call.

As far as the broader digital transformation, the coronavirus pandemic has left companies with no option other than to pivot entire business models, with many launching digital initiatives on accelerated timeframes and with strained resources. Projects that were previously paced over a year-long rollout plan are now being executed in just a matter of weeks. What this has shown us is that digital transformation for organizations does not have to take years. If it is a matter of survival, it is in our nature to make it happen – ‘if there’s a will there’s a way.’

What we’re discovering, is that in some cases, crises can push people to their highest potential. Also, the pandemic has put a spotlight on all the ways companies may have under-utilized the talents of individual members within their team. After all, digital transformation is not just about digitizing a business – but unlocking human potential.

Result: Because of these digital transformations and the race to the cloud, we suspect that as Office 365 service provider partners, MSPs have seen an increased need for cloud-based software and services, and possibly had to provide additional services related to recent customer migrations. This is just phase one for some companies, with the entire digital transformation process being far from over.

Increased Cloud IT infrastructure spending

While IT infrastructure spending may be down, many organizations have recently scrambled to suddenly support work from home capabilities for employees and are relying on the cloud to make this happen. The IDC estimates these moves will help 2020’s cloud IT infrastructure spending rise 3.6% over 2019’s $66.8 billion to $69.2 billion. More importantly, they expect this cloud service demand to remain sticky going forward.

The IDC’s new five-year forecast predicts cloud IT infrastructure spending will reach $100.1 billion in 2024, representing a compound annual growth rate of 8.4%. Non-cloud IT infrastructure spending will decline slightly to $65.3 billion.

Result: MSPs should consider tweaking business strategies and resources to accommodate the end-user spending shift away from non-cloud IT infrastructure spending.

Now for the bad news

Increased focus on cybersecurity threats/services and securing client systems:

While working from home has been advantageous for business, unfortunately it has also created the perfect environment for cybercriminals.

According to a recent article by Channel Futures, “COVID-19 hit us with all the necessary ingredients to fuel cybercrime: 100% work from home (WFH) before most organizations were really ready; chaos caused by technical issues plaguing workers not used to WFH; panic and desire to ‘know more’ and a temptation to visit unverified websites in search of up-to-the-minute information; remote workforce technology supported by vendors driven by ‘new feature time to market’ and not security; employees taking over responsibilities for COVID-19 affected coworkers (unfamiliarity with process); and uncertainty regarding unexpected communication supposedly coming from their employers.”

There has also been a rise in Shadow IT due to new remote work conditions, as employees seek ways to collaborate, share files, share their desktop, video conference, etc. Shadow IT poses many dangers to an organization as it can escalate data security and compliance risks; increase IT costs; and become counterproductive to the organization in the way of employee inefficiency and productivity.

Additionally, there has been a massive spike in Coronavirus-related spear phishing attacks, with a 667% increase in March 2020. The majority are scamming emails, some are brand impersonation, and unfortunately most are capitalizing on the pandemic by faking companies to donate to, providing links to buy face masks, etc.

Result: Cybercrime is obviously not something anybody wants one of their customers to fall victim to. However, these developments are providing MSPs the opportunity to educate clients around cybersecurity threats, provide additional security consultation services and even specialized software to help detect anomalies and prevent attacks.

Business as unusual

With ‘business as unusual’, things continue to evolve and change very rapidly in the current climate. What is an issue today may be eclipsed by a new, never-before-seen anomaly tomorrow. Best practice is to stay flexible, stay informed, and innovate where possible as many industries rapidly shift gears to stay afloat.

If you work for an MSP and one of your customers has an upcoming cloud migration project, you can find out how to become one of our Office 365 partners here. We offer a range of partnership opportunities, with migration services extending to mailboxes, email archives, and PST files, as well as tenant-to-tenant migrations, with a specialist team to help you simplify and speed up the entire process.

For customers who have already migrated to the Microsoft cloud, our Nova Office 365 management software can help you turn insights into action, with reporting and analytics, delegation and policy control, service monitoring, adoption campaigns, and so much more. Please get in contact to learn more about how you can keep your customers moving with Quadrotech.