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Here are several ways the MSP community can stay connected—and strong—through this pandemic.
August 3, 2020
Sponsored by Kaseya
Normally, our images of community consist of shared tables for meals, after-work drinks at the local watering hole, conferences full of lanyard-wearing networkers and meetups with our peers. Thanks to COVID-19, those are increasingly distant memories for the MSP community and others as social distancing has us limiting our contact with others and avoiding just those sorts of situations.
While our typical, real-life settings for community interaction may be off-limits for the time being, the power of communities remain. Human interaction, despite taking place behind screen, is still happening and might be more important than ever.
Communal by Nature
Our species is not designed for isolation, and we generally crave at least some forms of human contact, no matter how introverted we may be. Although the current state of the world requires us to be a little more creative and unconventional in our methods, we need community now more than ever. Purely social interactions are relatively easy to adapt to social distancing, particularly when the weather is nice. Driveway dinners, walk-and-talks and video chats can at least partially replace what we’re used to.
But when it comes to talking shop, options are more limited. Your spouse, kids or roommate probably don’t care about the latest data breach or Windows 10 patch. They’d probably rather talk about celebrity gossip or the weather or even politics than HIPPA compliance or the merits of the NIST Framework.
The good news is those in the MSP community do have options other than lecturing their dogs on the importance of disaster recovery plans. Your peers are in the same boat, and they’re similarly looking for ways to connect meaningfully around topics the entire industry is facing.
The Internet to the Rescue
Handshakes and handing out business cards aren’t much of an option online, but the same technology MSPs have been ramping up and supporting to keep their customers in business during the pandemic can also deliver the communal interactions we need. MSP professionals just need to make an effort and find their preferred modes of virtual interaction.
Online communities are one way to stay engaged and social. Whether it’s a reddit thread or a Facebook or LinkedIn group, or a community hosted by major technology firms, participating in these forums is a way to stay up to date, share knowledge and keep active.
While signing up for too many can turn into a wormhole that sucks up all your spare time, dipping in and out until you find the community that suits your taste and interests is a worthy endeavor. Even when things get back to normal, it can be an ongoing source of support and comradery.
Many longstanding in-person professional communities have shifted their activities online. While it’s not quite the same, it may be far easier to attend these events since it only requires opening a new browser tab, and not hiring a babysitter or driving across town.
In fact, since other commitments have fallen to the wayside, many of these communities have actually increased the number of events they hold and offer a more diverse selection of topics and formats. These can be a great opportunity to stay connected with the local community and maybe even discover new business opportunities.
Education and Training
With so much time on your hands and a pretty uncertain job market on the horizon, now is an excellent time to upgrade your resume with some new skills and certifications. Identify your weak spots or an area where you’d like to build up some expertise, and find an online course or certification program to enhance your profile.
Not only will you make yourself both more knowledgeable and more marketable, you’ll have the opportunity in some settings to interact with your fellow students and instructors. While a study group might not be quite as much fun as a night on the town, it’s a great opportunity to meet some fellow practitioners while learning something new.
With bustling convention centers and packed auditoriums off the table for a while, many industry events have gone virtual for 2020. Their agendas are still packed with learning opportunities, noteworthy speakers, industry roundtables and networking opportunities, despite the lack of an in-person element.
Without having to pay for travel, hotel rooms and meals, it’s far less expensive to attend, plus you don’t necessarily have to take the entire day off of work. Since they’re cheaper and more convenient, it’s a great time to attend an event you normally not might have made it to, or to return via your screen to an old favorite.
For example, later this summer, Connect IT, the IT industry’s top event, is going virtual. The event has tripled the number of training and certification sessions from years past, while still offering a fantastic lineup of speakers and sessions, along with a number of fun surprises. The event runs August 24 through 27, and virtual passes start at less than $100.
Keep Learning and Growing
The time is now to foster new connections and keep established ones going. MSPs and the technologies they support enable all these great virtual and remote solutions to happen, so don’t sit on the sidelines! Get out there and dial up a new kind of community for yourself.
Jim Lippie is GM & SVP, Partner Development.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.
Read more about:MSPs
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