On the one hand new tools and services allow increased efficiency and productivity. On the other, however, technology can increase complexity, become difficult to manage, and open up the risk of cybercrime attacks.
Unfortunately, many mid-sized organisations are hamstrung when it comes to effectively deploying and maintaining IT resources. They may lack the required skills in house and be unsure which tools and technologies match their particular requirements.
This is especially the case when it comes to IT security. A high proportion of medium-sized firms know they need to improve their level of protection but are unsure how to go about it. This situation was highlighted in recent research conducted by the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC).
The research found cybersecurity is considered by many to be an ‘add-on’ rather than something that is built into business operations. Half of the firms surveyed admitted they were poorly prepared for any cyber attacks.
This is particularly concerning at a time when many firms have a high proportion of staff still working from home. Ensuring effective security of a dispersed workforce adds additional pressure and complexity.
The challenge is made even more acute by the fact that Australia is currently facing a significant shortage of people with cybersecurity skills. Many SMEs simply can’t afford to pay the salaries being asked.
For these reasons, growing numbers of mid-market organisations are turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to source the IT knowledge and skills they require to keep their operations functioning.
The value of an MSP
The right MSP can deliver significant value in a myriad of ways. They can take the time to fully understand what the business requires from technology and recommend the best tools and services for the job, with expertise and experience in making these deployments across multiple industries. Some of the most important areas in which an MSP can add value include:
Intelligent automation and integration:
Automation is playing an increasing role within many SMBs, streamlining workflows and improving employee productivity. Intelligent automation can help a firm embrace new opportunities for growth, reduce operational costs, and better serve customers. Your MSP can help select and deploy the right tools for the job.
Scalable and remote solutions:
In a world where hybrid working has become the norm, staff expect to have access to the same tools at home as they do in the office. The applications and data they need to get their job done may be on an office server or a cloud platform so tight integration is key. Your MSP can work with you to ensure the integration is effective, secure, and delivers the standard of performance that staff expect.
Modern management and architecture:
With staff scattered across multiple locations, being able to remotely manage client devices becomes important. Your MSP can deploy a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution that allows streamlining of software patch distribution, security updates, and troubleshooting regardless of the location of users.
Security management and awareness:
With the cyberthreat landscape changing so quickly, keeping defensive measures up to date is very challenging. Because your MSP has skilled security staff who remain up-to-date on the latest threats and defensive measures, they can put this capability to work for your business.
User experience management:
Staff want to be able to access the applications and data they need for their roles in any location and on a device of their choosing. To achieve this, your MSP will work to create a digital workspace solution that delivers access to both on-premise resources as well as those hosted on cloud platforms. In many cases they will also work to create a Zero Trust architecture that ensures effective security is maintained at all times.
Application deployment management:
Keeping a firm grip on application deployment in a hybrid working world is a challenge. Some applications may need to run locally, close to the user, while others can remain in a data centre or be shifted to a cloud platform. Your MSP can examine your unique requirements and ensure applications are deployed in the way that delivers the most value for end users.
To ensure an SMB’s IT infrastructure is performing optimally and is protected from cyberthreats, your MSP can undertake a modern management strategy. This involves taking a holistic view of the entire infrastructure and deploying security measures as and where they are required. For staff, the result is a seamless experience where they have access to the resources they require at all times.
Perhaps most importantly, your MSP can also assist in the creation of compelling customer experiences. This could range from designing and deploying a new customer portal to managing a cloud-based contact centre to handle all communication.
MSPs deliver business benefits
By having deep technical knowledge and broad business experience, MSPs are well positioned to become a strategic resource for SMEs. Far from just deploying technology and then heading for the door, they work with their clients to become long-term business partners.
- To support their objective of being a strategic business partner for SMEs, leading MSPs have evolved their offering and operating models. Specifically, they have:
- Moved away from requiring large, up-front licensing fees to a more flexible ‘as-a-service’ business model. This means that SMEs can pay as their business grows.
- Recognised the need to offer true 24/7 services, with real-time responsiveness. This is something most SMEs simply don’t have the internal resources to deliver.
- Built capabilities around deploying, managing, and supporting complete solutions, rather than point products.
- Ability to process a deeper awareness of the requirements of regulatory mandates around security, and on delivering on SLAs to reduce customer risk.
Here at Tecala, our focus is squarely aimed at the Australian mid-market and our teams tailor our consultancy and advice to the strategy of our customers. We’re focussed on developing strong long-standing reciprocal partnerships, where we build out enterprise grade solutions and services, making them accessible to our mid-market customers.