By Florian Malecki, Senior Director, International Product Marketing at StorageCraft, an Arcserve Company
There’s no denying that Covid-19 has caused a rapid shift to remote working, across practically every business that could enable it. Helping these organisations make such a dramatic transition have been managed service providers (MSPs), who have played a critical role in making the shift as seamless and as quick as possible.
MSPs enabled businesses to embrace a new era of cloud applications that go beyond receiving emails or simply sharing files. Be it cloud-based collaboration tools such as Zoom or Slack for example, or voice-over IP systems, MSPs were on hand to guide businesses through this transition. In a recent survey of over 100-IT decision makers at midsize UK companies by StorageCraft, an Arcserve Company, 46% said that they had increased their use of cloud data backup and recovery services because of Covid-19.
As the world gradually opens up again after the pandemic, businesses will find that they still need support navigating a hybrid working environment. MSPs will play a key role in this new approach, in which some employees will continue to work from home, while others choose to return to the office. In fact, 43% of survey respondents said that they expect a mix of in-office and remote working even after employees can safely return to the office.
As well as helping their clients to come out of the pandemic in a stronger position, MSPs must also grab the opportunity to expand their own business, and even concentrate on new monetisation efforts. Take when the pandemic first hit as an example. Businesses pivoted overnight to digitally transform their organisations, switching to remote working at an unprecedented rate and scale.
MSPs now have an opportunity to reflect on whether the changes made are strong enough to support a hybrid workforce in the future or whether specific fixes need to be made. They can also audit and make any necessary improvements to what was done under time pressures. By readdressing any imperfections, MSPs can also establish that their clients have, from a data backup and security perspective, a robust and reliable infrastructure for the working world post-Covid.
As organisations operate in a state of flux, and with vast amounts more data migrating to the cloud, ransomware attacks have been catapulted to the forefront, making the security element that much more critical. According to Skybox Security’s Vulnerability and Threat Trends Report, ransomware incidents increased by 72% during the pandemic and mobile vulnerabilities rose by 50%. This serves to highlight the dangers of an increasingly blurry line between corporate and personal networks in a hybrid workforce.
With companies now leveraging IoT, artificial intelligence and 5G to generate ever more data, ransomware problems will only continue to grow in severity. Data generated can be easily compromised and held captive through ransomware attacks. Fortunately for businesses, MSPs are in an excellent position to thwart the massive threat posed by ransomware by helping customers implement data backup and recovery strategies.
MSPs will be better able to react quickly and erase any potential damage caused by ransomware attacks by deploying or recommending the right backup solution.
It’s critical that MSPs promote the 3-2- 1-1 strategy of having 3 backup copies of data on 2 different media, with 1 of those copies located offsite for disaster recovery. The final 1 in this equation is immutable object storage. MSPs can now ensure that all data is proactively protected against ransomware or accidental corruption or loss by combining data protection via immutable storage with protection from data loss across on-premises, cloud and virtual workloads.
Now more than ever, customers are expecting their MSPs to provide these kinds of value-added services. In its recent study, StorageCraft, an Arcserve Company found that over the next 12 months, 38% of respondents plan to increase their security spending with an MSP, while39% plan to increase their MSP budget dedicated to backing up on-premises data in the cloud.
The hybrid model is undoubtedly the future of work, with companies increasingly transitioning to the cloud. MSPs, in turn, are uniquely positioned to help clients balance their virtual workload between on-premises and the cloud. Partners that embrace the hybrid solution model can better
meet customers’ needs—while remaining valuable and increasingly relevant to those customers for years to come.
As the worst of the pandemic subsides around the world, MSPs can and should maximise their value further and enable their customers to prosper in a post-COVID world.