Security. The Internet of Things. The tech talent shortage. To thrive in 2019, MSPs will need to hone in on these core areas of business development. Here are four predictions to help navigate the year ahead.
In 2019, the rest of the world will follow Europe’s lead on digital security. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is providing a concrete solution and roadmap for MSPs, giving them more statistical data on breaches so they can take better preventive measures and report attacks more efficiently.
The problem is there’s currently no equivalent regulation in America. California’s Consumer Privacy Act is a good start, but nothing will really change unless Congress takes a hard line on issues like the Marriott breach. Without federal intervention, corporations will never be punished after data leaks.
In the meantime, SMBs can protect themselves by partnering with MSPs and insurance providers to develop policies around cyberattacks and data breaches. Insurance companies in Australia and Europe already offer end-to-end digital risk management solutions, and more carriers will follow their lead in 2019 to give companies an extra safeguard while the government works out its issues.
Improving Security with Reasonably Priced Technology
Most cybersecurity systems only alert SMBs to an attack after it’s occurred, so business owners have to contact MSPs and wait for the problem to be fixed. But this year, more firms will utilize predictive technology that can point out flaws and expose system risks before the worst happens.
AI and machine learning use analytics to spot trends and strengthen online security protocols, so SMBs can be proactive rather than reactive, fortifying servers and protecting the business.
The one issue with these technologies in their current form, however, is they’re prohibitively expensive for SMBs, which means MSPs are still executing security strategies for end users. More solutions to address pricing and scaling of these tools will come to light in 2019.
Packaging IoT Smartly and Safely
Opportunities around IoT will grow in the year ahead as devices get more interconnected. One of this network’s main advantages is its ability to package services around devices and show how they fit into a company’s IT landscape.
Of course, innovation also inevitably leads to more security threats. IoT appliances obviously have more vulnerabilities than their non-connected counterparts, but most of those issues don’t get reported since companies haven’t updated their developer protocols. There will be more chances to fix this in 2019, so MSPs can close gaps, solve problems, and secure client systems.
Finding Smart Solutions to the Employee Shortfall
The current tech talent shortage is having an especially harmful effect on SMBs. Most college graduates want to work with vendors and enterprises, leaving smallerMSPs with more customers than they can serve.
But these companies will use several hacks to succeed this year. First, they’ll trade up on the talent they already have, training workers more efficiently rather than throwing more bodies at a problem. Once newcomers become available in bigger numbers, applicants will be more attracted to a firm that adapted and overcame hiring challenges than one that flailed with uncertainty.
In 2019, MSPs and SMBs will also work together with colleagues in non-competing markets to share information and find solutions. Third-party organizations can place businesses in peer groups to coach one another, integrate with vendors, and combine technology stacks. Companies that collaborate in this open ecosystem during the year ahead will grow stronger and faster than their competitors.
MSPs in Action
As they focus on business development, MSPs will put privacy front and center in 2019, implementing their own GDPR-style regulations. They’ll also use AI, machine learning, and IoT to increase security at scale. Finally, these firms will fully utilize the talent of existing employees and work with their peers to find solutions during the ongoing job shortage. Businesses that put in the requisite work in these areas will survive and thrive this year.
ROB RAE is vice president of business development at Datto.