Many businesses say working with an MSP helps them stay competitive.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

December 16, 2020

4 Min Read
Businesspeople shaking hands meeting

Most SMB and midmarket business executives rely on working with an MSP to help them maintain a competitive advantage.

That’s according to a new survey by Infrascale. More than 1,200 business executives at SMBs or midmarket companies responded. All are either working with or have previously worked with an MSP.

Some 68% of executives believe working with an MSP helps them stay ahead of their competition.

The survey suggests the top reason businesses opt to work with MSPs, chosen by 51% of respondents, is to save costs. The second most common reason is increased security (46%)

More Economical than Internal Talent

Almost all of the survey takers said it’s extremely or very important to have a predictable IT budget right now. Therefore, 51% view working with an MSP as more economical than hiring internal talent.

When it comes to budgeting, the areas of IT noted as incurring the most expense are: information security (60%), data storage (48%) and data analytics/business intelligence (45%).

Brian Kuhn is Infrascale‘s COO. He said many SMB and midmarket companies understand the value and have worked with MSPs. Managing IT certainly looks to be something that MSPs can offer as a win.


Infrascale’s Brian Kuhn

“The real opportunity to shine [is] security and data protection,” he said.

The most critical services that an MSP must offer are data protection, backup and data recovery, and cybersecurity services.

“The warning/challenge [is to] always deliver quality and what the customer seeks most,” Kuhn said. “The most important criterion when selecting an MSP was quality of solutions (52%). Second was attention to security (46%).”

Other musts include 24/7 support, optimum cost, flexibility and accommodations, and saving time/offloading time-consuming tasks.

Pandemic Increases Importance of MSPs

“MSPs have become especially important to SMBs due to COVID-19, especially since most employees are no longer contained in the confines of a corporate network,” Kuhn said. “Risk abounds. MSPs providing data protection services are the biggest value/importance to the SMB customers. Cloud backup (54%), antivirus/malware software (51%) and network security tools such as firewalls, VPNs (50%) are the top technologies implemented due to COVID-19 — all in the wheelhouse of MSP support services.”

Almost all businesses use a backup solution and almost as many use disaster recovery. In most cases, MSPs help provide these solutions.

The move to the cloud is official, as 97% have implemented cloud-based infrastructure with a cloud service provider. Seventy-two percent use an MSP for cloud-based infrastructure. Just 3% said their organizations work with entities other than MSPs for assistance with cloud-based infrastructure. Meanwhile, 22% said they handle the responsibility for cloud-based infrastructure internally.

Thirty-nine percent said they have only worked with an MSP for one to three years, while 31% said they have worked with their MSP for more than three years.

More than half of respondents said it took “a few weeks” or less to establish a good workflow with their MSP. About one in five (19%) said it can take as little as a few days. About 2% said they were able to establish a good workflow immediately. Just 14% said it took three months or more to establish a good workflow with their MSP.

The Infrascale survey results indicate that working with an MSP can substantially reduce the time required to implement new technology solutions.

Negative Experiences

Just over one-third report having a negative experience with an MSP. The biggest reasons, tied at 43%, were high costs and quality issues.

Slightly more have fired an MSP, with the No. 1 reason being cost.

Eighty-one percent said they are either extremely or very likely to explore additional third-party assistance, beyond an MSP, to build their company’s security, data protection and/or remote work capabilities.

“Based on the results, we recommend that MSPs continue to lead with solutions focused on security, data storage and data analytics,” said Russell Reeder, Infrascale’s CEO. “Our most successful MSP partners are enabling their businesses to be more secure, and to always access and analyze their data. The lifeblood of any business is its data, so it makes sense that securing it, backing it up, and analyzing it is most important to businesses.”

Read more about:

MSPsChannel Research

About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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