In 2017, the MSP market was valued at $155.91 billion. This year, it’s predicted to reach $296.38 billion, and the growth is expected to continue in the years to come.
As a managed services provider, we at Aligned Technology Solutions are often asked about the trends driving the expansion of the MSP market. The organizations that want to know the answer to this question are interested in leveraging the latest tools and practices so they can improve their competitive advantage.
Just like the previous year, the top MSP trends in 2021 continue to be driven by the global shift to remote work as organizations across most industries are still coping with the challenging conditions created by the global pandemic.
1. Cloud Migration
As impressive as the growth rate of the MSP market may be, it’s easily overshadowed by the worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services, which is forecast to grow 23.1 percent in 2021 to total $332.3 billion, up from $270 billion in 2020.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, cloud services have been enabling organizations to rely less on their in-house IT infrastructure, making it easier for employees to seamlessly work from various remote locations using a mix of personal and work devices.
It’s estimated that the average organization now has 110 software as a service (SaaS) applications, which is almost 10 times as many compared with 2016. Besides SaaS applications, some of the more cloud-progressive organizations have moved parts of their physical IT infrastructure to the cloud using infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.
Regardless of how much of their IT environments organizations migrate to the cloud, the benefits they get to enjoy are always the same and include everything from reduced IT costs to increased collaboration efficiency to flexible scalability. To unlock them to their full extent, it’s important to choose the right cloud vendors and avoid common cloud migration mistakes. An MSP can help with both.
2. Edge Security
Back when most small and medium-sized organizations relied predominantly on their in-house IT resources, and the hybrid work model was nowhere near as widespread as it is today, MSPs focused largely on traditional perimeter defense, creating an impenetrable wall around employees’ desktop computers, fax machines, and networking equipment using tools like firewalls.
This so-called castle-and-moat approach to cybersecurity has served organizations well for a long time, but the disruption of established work routines by the pandemic has revealed its limitations. Now that the network perimeter is blurred beyond recognition as a result of employees accessing increasingly more cloud services from remote locations, traditional perimeter-based network defense is obsolete.
MSPs are responding to the challenges created by the new cybersecurity landscape by shifting their attention to edge security. Instead of building one large wall to protect all endpoints that are surrounded by it, MSPs are now fortifying individual endpoints so they can resist cybersecurity threats regardless of their location.
Some of the most effective edge security best practices include multi-factor authentication, in-transit and at-rest encryption, strict VPN access policies, automated patching, and constant monitoring. Implementing these and other best practices has become fairly easy thanks to affordable endpoint protection solutions that can be quickly deployed across desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices and controlled remotely from a convenient web-based admin interface.
3. IT Talent Shortage
Much like large enterprises, SMBs now depend on information technology for running daily operations, making its ongoing maintenance critically important. In the past, finding an IT person to keep computers computing, printers printing, and network equipment networking was neither too difficult nor too expensive.
Smaller organizations could often get away with hiring a young system administrator without much experience since their IT environments weren’t nearly as complex as they are now. What’s more, cybercriminals used to consider SMBs to not be worth the time and effort it takes to launch a targeted attack, so basic cybersecurity protections, such as spam filtering and virus scanning, were enough to keep cybersecurity threats at bay.
Today, it’s virtually impossible for a single system administrator to handle day-to-day IT issues cloud management, endpoint security, mobile device management, and much more. And because of the ongoing IT talent shortage, the cost of putting together an in-house IT team has become prohibitively high even for financially healthy medium-sized organizations.
That’s why the demand for managed services providers is the highest it has ever been. By outsourcing their IT needs to MSPs, organizations get to enjoy access to top IT experts and cutting-edge IT solutions, predictable and scalable spending, a single point of contact to vendors, and many other benefits.
The COVID pandemic has had a far-reaching impact on the MSP market. Without any time to prepare, organizations had to radically rethink their established work routines and embrace digital transformation to support core business functions. MSPs rose to the challenge and supported their customers on their difficult journeys, helping them move workloads to the cloud, tackle an onslaught of cybersecurity threats, and more.
At Aligned Technology Solutions, we expect the trends identified in this article to keep playing an important role next year, and we’re ready to continue providing support to existing and new customers alike.