The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies around the world to transition to remote work. Data shows that 4.7 million people, which make about 3.4% of the U.S. workforce, were already working remotely before the pandemic. A recent survey by Gartner found that 88% of businesses all over the world mandated or encouraged employees to work from home as the virus started to spread.
Experts agree that one of the key factors in this successful transition to remote work has been managed service providers (MSPs).
“A lot of times, end users would view [an MSP] as potentially the ‘tech guy,’ or where you go to get product from, or hold them if something gets broken,” said Rob Rae, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Datto. “That has changed. Now you’re consultative. Now you should actually be involved in planning and planning ahead for any problem that they may perceive.”
MSPs are able to offer not only services to aid in connectivity, cybersecurity, cloud management, and more, they are also able to consult on best practices and can help companies prepare for future challenges like those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Datto’s annual “Global State of the MSP” report found that SMBs have been increasingly entrusting their IT to an MSP—even before the pandemic. Individual MSPs have seen steady growth over the past three years, with 22% saying that their total revenue per year grew by up to 5%, 24% reporting growth of up to 10%, and 19% of respondents seeing growth of up to 20% per year.
So it’s not surprising that MSPs have been busy during this time. Fusion IT, which works with businesses on an ongoing basis as an MSP, even developed white papers to serve as a reference for effective work from home strategies. And NuWave Technology Partners LLC, which specializes in working with manufacturers in addition to professional service organizations like CPAs and legal firms, currently has a backlog of projects for companies that want to boost remote access to information and applications because of the pandemic.
A recent CompTIA survey revealed that 67% will seek third-party assistance for remote work capabilities because of COVID-19 and the rising unemployment rates may have less of an impact on MSPs than other businesses, because many serve professional service clients that can work remotely during the pandemic.