As we look back on the year that was in managed services, three issues rise to the top that should have been solved by now but still need attention. The king of them all, not surprisingly, is MSPs’ nagging uneasiness with the cloud.
Following close behind are issues over customer data liability and MSP staffing. As we prepare for 2017, you should think about how to tackle them going forward. Each of these issues is bound to cause you headaches at one point or another.
Let’s look at each issue individually:
As the managed services market matures, we could reasonably expect that providers by and large would have found ways to leverage cloud services, build value around them, and turn the cloud into a respectable profit generator.
Instead, as CompTIA’s Fifth Annual Trends in Managed Services report released last spring indicates, too many MSPs still view the cloud with suspicion and fear. MSPs cited it as the No. 1 concern that keeps them up at night, according to the report.
This is problematic, as the cloud becomes more and more prevalent in our lives, with everyone from individual consumers to large enterprises using some form of cloud service. Whether we’re talking about consumers relying on their Amazon Echo smart speakers for everyday functions or a corporation implementing a hybrid cloud to handle critical applications, the cloud is here to stay. MSPs need to find a way to benefit from the cloud or be left behind as its importance grows.
As the controversy over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server demonstrated, IT service providers can get dragged into uncomfortable situations revolving around data privacy and security issues. Three providers were questioned in conjunction with the defeated Democratic presidential candidate’s server, although none was charged with anything.
Providers have an obligation to protect their clients’ data, but you also need to protect yourselves. That means understanding the sensitivity of the data you are handling and what privacy and breach disclosure laws apply to it. Spell it all out in contracts with customers so if there’s ever an issue, you are covered.
The unending search for skills is a decades-old issue for service providers and the IT industry in general. Even when the economy falters, there never seem to be enough skilled tech workers to fill all vacancies.
This is likely to persist because as a society we do a poor job of encouraging students to pursue computing, math and science careers. It’s a responsibility we all share, and since it especially touches MSPs, you should do your part to find a solution.
Be it through supporting CompTIA’s efforts in this area, reaching out to local schools and colleges for some type of partnership or offering internships to eager students, there is a role for you to play. It’s a responsibility no MSP should ignore.
Staffing, customer data liability and cloud fears are likely to remain issues for MSPs because they are complex. But that doesn’t mean you should shrug and forget about them. Make it a part of your 2017 plans to address them.