MSP Technology to Watch as a New Decade Dawns
It’s the end of one decade and the dawn of the next. Let’s step back from the day-to-day firefighting and crises to consider how far we’ve come in the past 10 years, as well as what the future holds for the next 10.
When we flipped our calendars to January 2010, many technologies we now take for granted either didn’t exist or were still in their infancy. The first iPad was still months from release. There were no electric cars on the streets, much less slick-looking Teslas. We had no idea who Siri was. There were no Chromebooks flying off the shelves of Best Buy.
Closer to the world of MSPs, many of today’s givens hadn’t yet made their debuts. Microsoft Office 365 was still years away. Massive thefts of millions of credentials were unheard of. Ransomware sounded like clothing for kidnappers.
Shifts We’ve Seen
Much has changed since 2010, but these are the areas that have impacted MSPs the most during this time.
- Cloud computing
Amazon and then Google had already dipped their toes into the world of cloud computing, but Microsoft launched Azure in February 2010. Cloud computing was no longer just for scrappy startups and disruptors.
At that time, 60% of companies were considering using the cloud. Today 94% of companies aren’t just considering it; they’re already doing it.
- Cyberattacks and data breaches
One trend we all wish hadn’t happened this past decade is the relentless onslaught of cybercrime. While there was plenty of digital wrongdoing in the years prior, these incidents unfortunately dominated industry headlines and even influenced national politics.
This decade saw an increase in incidents and a shift in their nature. In 2010, the biggest problem was privilege misuse (48% of incidents), followed by hacking (40%), malware (38%), social tactics (28%) and physical attacks (15%).
Ten years later, progress has been made on many of those fronts. Privilege misuse plummeted to 15% of incidents, malware is down to 28%, and physical attacks dropped to 4%. However, hacking is a bigger problem than ever (used in 52% of incidents), and social tactics increased to 33%.
SaaS products existed before 2010 (such as Salesforce.com), but this decade saw the disruptive business model really take hold. Switching to monthly or annual billing (versus a large up-front payment with smaller support fees) is now the standard.
In 2010, SaaS was a $10.4 billion industry; today, it’s surpassed $100 billion. We’re now more comfortable than ever treating technology purchases like a utility. This has lowered the barrier to entry for new players (since they’re now asking for short up-front dollars) and shifted these expenditures from CapEx to OpEx.
For vendors, it’s also changed how they deliver services and treat their customers. Managing churn and ensuring ongoing customer delight and satisfaction is the status quo since customers are no longer locked in after making a large upfront purchase.
- IT skills in demand
As technology has evolved, so have the jobs required to build and support it. Many tasks once requiring expertise have been automated, such as installation, configuration, maintenance and administration.
The skills now in short supply tend to fall into three buckets: cybersecurity; analytics and data management; and help desk and technical support. Luckily, these are exactly the types of skills SMBs can outsource to MSPs.
- Project management
Agile was invented much earlier, but in the past 10 years it’s gained a firm foothold beyond software development. Businesses in every industry have abandoned waterfall processes to more nimbly respond to their dynamic needs and optimize resource allocation.
IT has likewise ditched slow, plodding projects, migrating to smaller, more frequent releases and bite-sized initiatives that help organizations achieve their long-term goals. The increasing reliance on IT to support daily operations has only increased their need to be more responsive and deliver iterative value to the rest of the business as quickly as possible.
Looking Ahead to the ’20s
Reviewing the big shifts of the previous decade, it’s clear there have been some fundamental changes in how businesses operate, the challenges they face, and where MSPs can add value. When things transform so radically and quickly, it comes with a learning curve many businesses are still catching up on.
- A not-so-silver lining
Lots of organizations have migrated essential services and storage to the cloud. Yet they often don’t realize this move doesn’t fully protect them from some of the same threats that exist in a hosted environment. Cloud-based systems can still be hacked, compromised credentials can still be used, and backup and data recovery are still needed.
To protect their assets and mission-critical systems, SMBs must increase their vigilance and preparation for potential calamities to minimize any disruption. Scanning the Dark Web for stolen usernames, passwords and customer data, monitoring their systems for unusual login activities and traffic patterns, and