Clients look to their IT managed services providers (MSP) to help them make the most productive use of technology and take advantage of innovations that fit their business. Three business and technology trends are top priorities when companies consider and engage with managed services providers:
- Increased adoption of modern cloud technology
- Transformative initiatives fueled by edge data and other data streams
- The need to harden security measures and mitigate digital risks
In this blog post, we take a closer look at these critical concerns.
ASSISTING CLIENTS IN CREATING AND REALIZING THEIR CLOUD STRATEGIES
Companies have moved to the cloud for years, often limiting their use of cloud technology to certain workloads. Cloud adoption took a big step forward when the pandemic prompted many organizations to empower their employees to work from anywhere, and it continues to grow. For many, cloud-based, widely used business applications like Microsoft 365 or Dropbox proved that cloud technology can be extremely reliable, scalable, and secure. That prepared the ground for bringing more workloads onto the cloud and using cloud environments more strategically to innovate and collaborate not just internally, but also together with customers and business partners anywhere.
Moving to the cloud pays off for many organizations. Eighty percent of companies see operational improvements within months after their cloud adoption, and an astounding 94 percent tell analysts that they realized significant security improvements by moving their data to the cloud.
Facilitating sound planning decisions
At Sikich, we see that cloud literacy and cloud IT skills in organizations have greatly increased in recent years. However, cloud does not necessarily equal operational improvements or savings at a time when employees on average use more than 30 cloud services every day. Companies need a cloud strategy that enables them to prioritize their concerns and plan the results they want to realize from their cloud migration. MSPs can make a huge contribution by helping them define and enact cloud strategies with realistic, measurable goals and in a low-risk manner.
Translating cloud innovation into business results
The speed of cloud innovation can quickly prompt organizations to feel left behind and scrambling to catch up without quite knowing where to start. While containerization, for example, is relatively well known, you still need to choose the right approach and tools to make containerization effective; guidance from a trusted MSP can help achieve this. Your MSP can also help you create the cloud architecture that best fits your business, and work with you to evaluate and deploy cloud technologies like AI-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, or Infrastructure-as-a-service.
Sikich is familiar with cloud trends and opportunities and has helped organizations across many industries and of all sizes make a successful cloud transition. As your MSP, we work from a background of deep industry expertise to make certain that your cloud project can succeed. We can also help you make the best choice among today’s leading cloud platforms.
Enabling data-driven transformations
Many companies look for the best of many possible ways to transform in the digital era. They may express their goals differently. They might tell us that they want to become more customer-focused or more agile, that they want to out-innovate the competition, or that they hope to generate maximum returns from their investments in industrial assets and facilities. Sometimes they just want to make employees’ lives easier and free them from perplexing ambiguities and routine tasks.
Enabling analytics and automations
Almost always, the conversation between these organizations and their MSPs focuses on data and how to make best use of existing data assets and sources. Data intelligence helps companies make the right decisions, build and evolve their workforce, or build automations that are not static, but flexible. To benefit from data-driven intelligence, you should provide business roles with as much transparency as possible, and it has to be at least close to real-time.
At the same time, MSPs must help their clients make productive use of new data sources and information architectures that can help them achieve their strategic transformations. In industrial environments, we have seen a steady increase of applications and use cases for edge data in the internet of things (IoT). Gartner analysts expect that by 2025 75 percent of data will be processed outside the cloud or traditional data centers. Currently, one trend underway is for edge data streams to be subject to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to enable automations, analytics, and decision-making. By 2022, 80 percent of all IoT projects are expected to have an AI component.
Preparing for the 5G revolution
As companies are learning what 5G connectivity might mean for them, one thing they often see it that edge and AI applications as well as industrial automations can become far more feasible and transformative. 5G is not just faster than 4G communications, it also offers extremely low latency. It allows greater density and will be able to support as many as one million connected devices per square kilometer. That will prompt many organizations to make greater use of edge computing, gathering and processing data right at the edge instead of routing it through data centers. In industrial environments, companies are already using edge computing running on 5G to manage and reconfigure automated robotic production lines, remotely manage autonomous vehicles, ensure production in line with quality standards, and much more. Healthcare, education, and retail are other industries can also benefit from edge computing with massive data volumes at practically no latency. And all that’s before companies explore how to make business sense of even larger data stores in the massive internet of things (MIoT).
MSPs like Sikich are in a critical position for enabling their clients to take advantage of data-intense technologies like edge computing supported by AI and ML. There are so many possibilities and choices that expert insight can make all the difference between productive, successful transformation and expensive, disruptive distractions.
Creating a pervasive cybersecurity culture
In practically every business that uses digital technology, cybersecurity is a critical concern. So far, in 2021 there have been at least 10 ransomware attacks that made national news in the U.S. Any number of attacks and crimes remain unreported because victims fear reputational damage or copy-cat attacks. Phishing is becoming ever more sophisticated and unpredictable, challenging even savvy users with seemingly credible communications. During the last year, 74 percent of phishing attacks against U.S. organizations were successful. Users of cloud applications represent a large share of phishing targets. Microsoft, whose cloud-based solutions are ubiquitous, is the brand most frequently used deceptively in phishing.
For many companies, it is challenging to address external and internal risks while keeping up with trends that could impact the security of their digital assets. They may simply not have the time or resources to dedicate to cybersecurity. Budgetary constraints, talent shortages, and other strategic priorities can also get in the way of security initiatives.
YOUR MSP NEEDS TO BE A MANAGED SECURITY SERVICES
Trusted external technology partners can fill companies’ skills and expertise gaps when it comes to security. However, not every MSP will have the qualifications to help clients create a business culture of pervasive security that is hardened against current and emerging risks. Your MSP also needs to be an MSSP. Like Sikich, many MSSPs run a 24/7 security operations center, where they monitor clients’ systems and act immediately when they notice a possible data breach or attack. They also own security expertise and can offer specialized services that go beyond typical MSP capabilities.
Your MSSP should be able to help you assess your risk exposure, develop organizational security policies, choose and deploy security solutions, ensure compliance with regulatory mandates for data protection, and develop security awareness and skill on your teams. Often, MSSPs also provide cybersecurity software solutions. When you consider and compare MSSPs, you should verify their credentials, review their portfolio of offerings, and consider testing them before you sign a long-term contract.
Taking the next step
Is it time to evaluate how managed services from Sikich could help you in your business with these MSP trends? Please get in touch.