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MSP Survival Skills for the COVID-19 Pandemic (and Beyond)

The COVID-19 pandemic requires companies to establish new rules of engagement when it comes to supporting digital transformation and hybrid workforces.

4 Min Read
COVID-19 pandemic
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In mid-March of this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies (including MSPs) had to quickly ramp up infrastructure and processes to enable a complete shift to remote work. How long will companies need to operate this way? Right now, the question remains open ended.

What is clear, however, is that organizations must re-evaluate what went right (and wrong) during this unexpected transition, and use those lessons to inform their ongoing efforts toward digital transformation.

Whatever gaps existed in your digital transformation plans for your business, and the plans of your clients, the recent pandemic has laid them bare. That’s why it’s critical that MSPs accelerate efforts to close those gaps and rise to the challenge of a rapidly evolving digital marketplace.

The good news for MSPs is that most companies are in the same boat–technology spend is largely holding steady, as companies have to maintain the resources needed to support their own work-from-home efforts. Clients and potential clients need help maintaining existing infrastructure or building out more reliable solutions and processes. There will be a demand for new digital services, along with new ways to deliver products and services.

To survive and thrive not only during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in what will likely be a significantly different marketplace afterward, MSPs need to adopt a number of strategies.

  1. Accept that remote work is likely here to stay.

Implement an IT infrastructure that can safely, securely and efficiently support remote work. This isn’t just important during a pandemic, but also in the future when your team will need to work from client sites, and for clients who can interact with you digitally.

  1. Adopt a flexible culture.

Even companies that were previously opposed to remote work are finding that employees have remained productive. In some cases, productivity has increased. Your company culture should help employees rapidly adjust how and where they work, not just during emergencies, but also during the normal course of business. Your team can work better if they know a reliable plan is in place to ensure continuity. Your clients will appreciate it, too. You should also re-evaluate how you approach sick days and personal time off in light of current events, and be prepared to operate a safe office environment for those that must return to the building.

  1. Create a consolidated, singular infrastructure and mission.

Companies that were caught off guard by the COVID-19 pandemic have had to operate with dual systems–one based on a largely on-premise workforce, and one cobbled together to support remote work. That forced marriage won’t hold together moving forward. It’s time to merge technologies and processes so that the entire organization is firmly planted on a strong, digital platform. Your clients are also working in hybrid mode and may already have implemented a mix of cloud-based, IaaS and SaaS solutions. They’ll need help managing and consolidating that complexity.

  1. Consolidate management tools.

Many MSPs are using a mix of different remote monitoring and management solutions, which makes it difficult to get a full view of their clients and the systems they oversee. To remain efficient, you’ll need a unified platform to help establish that visibility.

  1. Remote access will be critical.

Identify which systems are critical for running your business, and make sure all employees can access the tools and data they need remotely. If they can’t, prioritize enabling remote access. You’ll also need to be able to restore your clients’ data and applications remotely.  Make sure your team is cross-trained, so that you can provide continuous support for your clients, even when key staff members may be unavailable.

The COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a wake-up call for MSPs that have lagged behind in their digital transformation efforts. The changes you implement to support this extended (and unplanned) remote work experiment can also ensure future success as a flexible, agile service provider.

Michael Mowder is the Senior Director of Global Partner Success for Barracuda MSP, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for the partner journey from on-boarding, to implementation, through professional services and finally, renewal.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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