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Managed Networking Services for Remote Workforces--Fundamentals and the Future

SMBs are reaching out to MSPs to help balance protection and productivity for the remote workforce.

Datto Guest Blogger

January 27, 2022

3 Min Read
Remote Workforce
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The remote workforce has morphed from an outlier to a constant. Gartner estimates that 51% of all knowledge workers globally are working remotely now. Furthermore, as many as 32% of all employees worldwide may now be remote. The new reality means companies must be better prepared to protect their intellectual property and prevent bad actors from accessing confidential information.

As a result, users demand connectivity for every aspect of their jobs, and it has to work–always. At the same time, MSPs need a solution to be easy to manage, providing the opportunities to make margin and grow their business.

SMBs are becoming aware of how dependent their employees are on network connectivity–and how difficult it’s become to manage. That’s exactly why they’re reaching out to MSPs for help managing connectivity so that they can protect resources while maintaining productivity. In turn, MSPs are on the lookout for remote access solutions that are purpose-built for them, enabling the delivery of networking as a managed service.

MSPs need to monitor several networking trends now so they can be best prepared to keep their customers connected. These include:

Dispersed workers and workloads: COVID has ensured that the remote workforce is here to stay. Even if remote working scales back, however, workloads and data are no longer confined to the corporate office–networking keeps them connected to their users.

Changing technologies: SaaS adoption by SMBs is growing in record numbers, with recent research showing that 56% of SMBs are using five or more cloud-based applications. Simultaneously, the sector’s demand for wireless has never been higher, and cognitive network capabilities are increasing. Even more important is the virtualization of network functions, which is transforming solutions for SMBs and enterprise.

 These changes to the networking landscape create many challenges. MSPs should focus on two shifts when evaluating next-gen solutions:

  1. Increasingly complex LAN management: Managing networks is becoming more challenging than ever. Complicating factors include multiple vendors per network, a rapid growth in untrusted devices and limited MSP-focused networking appliance hardware to choose from. Plus, no two SMB customers have the exact same needs.

To address these issues, MSPs want three primary capabilities in their network solutions:

  • Discovery and monitoring: See everything on the network without adding another pane of glass.

  • Configuration and control: Configure and control the hardware, while still maintaining hardware flexibility for diverse SMB customers.

  • Automated remediation: Help the team to deploy best practices with ease.

  1. WAN performance needs changing with distributed networks: Far-flung distributed networks are seriously complicating the WAN. Network security is often unknown, and remote workers’ home networks have kids and spouses competing for bandwidth. Meanwhile, VPN usage is inconsistent, and help desk for a remote workforce is expensive for MSPs to deploy. Finally, solutions are highly fragmented between native VPN, third-party VPN, cloud-native applications, and more.

As a result, MSPs should prioritize the following network solution characteristics:

  1. Network security: Add the value of perimeter-based security for remote workers.

  2. WAN optimization: Prioritize business traffic and applications.

  3. Network continuity: MSPs can differentiate by ensuring that their clients’ remote workforces are always connected.

Vendors are responding to these evolved networking needs with next-generation products. A remote access solution built specifically for MSPs is optimal, with capabilities to improve performance, strengthen security and reduce complexity. At the same time, it will present growth opportunities to build market share and revenue.

Datto will continue to enable MSPs to provide secure, fast network access for remote workers in 2022 by unveiling new innovations in networking solutions. Please contact us for more information.

 This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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