One of the most obvious impacts of COVID-19 was the rapid shift to work from home across virtually all businesses that could enable it. Managed service providers played a massive role in helping organizations make this transition as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Whether implementing new cloud-based collaboration tools like Zoom or Slack or setting up voice-over-IP phone systems, MSPs enabled their customers to embrace a new generation of cloud applications that go above and beyond simply sharing files or sending and receiving emails. For instance, in a recent survey of more than 700 IT decision makers at midsize companies by StorageCraft, an Arcserve Company, 47% of respondents said they had increased their use of cloud data backup and recovery services as a direct result of COVID-19.
As we gradually move to a post-COVID world, MSPs will play an essential role in helping their clients navigate a hybrid environment. In this new approach, some employees will work from home or another location, and others will return to the office. Indeed, 46% of survey respondents said they believe they will have a mix of in-office and remote work even after it is safe for employees to return to the office.
Besides helping their clients come out stronger and more successful on the other side, MSPs will have the opportunity to expand their own business and focus on new monetization efforts. For example, when COVID first hit, organizations raced to digitally transform their business overnight, switching to remote work at an unprecedented scale and pace.
Now, MSPs have an opportunity to audit what was done in a rush and make any necessary improvements. They can verify whether the changes made are robust enough to support a hybrid workforce in the future or whether specific fixes need to be made. By going back and readdressing any shortcomings, MSPs can ensure that their clients have a stable and robust infrastructure for the post-COVID world, especially from a security and data backup perspective.
The security element is critical. With organizations in flux and so much more data migrating to the cloud, ransomware attacks have catapulted to the forefront. Indeed, ransomware incidents increased by 72% during the pandemic, and mobile vulnerabilities rose by 50%, according to Skybox Security's Vulnerability and Threat Trends Report. These numbers highlight the dangers of an increasingly blurry line between corporate and personal networks in a hybrid workforce.
The ransomware problem will continue to grow in severity as companies leverage IoT, artificial intelligence, and 5G to generate ever more data. This data can be compromised and held captive in ransomware attacks. Fortunately, MSPs are in an excellent position to help customers implement data backup and recovery strategies and ultimately thwart the massive threat posed by ransomware.