Many people would like to forget the last two years. While IT services companies have fared rather well despite the pandemic-related tragedies and ongoing business disruptions, pretty much everyone is focusing on the return to normalcy in the not-too-distant future. What changes can people (and businesses) expect in 2022?
The rollercoaster ride of COVID-19 and workplace disruptions will likely continue well into the new year, even after officials ease the long-running health precautions. Some businesses will need to assess and reset. Others, having already undertaken those processes or currently evaluating their operations and pandemic-related changes, are developing the next steps in the evolution of their organizations. Time never stops for the ambitious.
Some industry experts predict a few changes in 2022. To their point, uncertainty remains with new variants and business concerns and planning around, so many unknowns is extremely difficult.
Regardless of the past two years’ success, with MSPs discovering and introducing a number of innovative new services to support their clients’ shifting workplace needs, the challenges are ever-changing. What could and should MSPs prepare for in the new year?
More Workplace Shifts
What was before many never be again and continue to morph with organizational needs. As the norm of traditional brick and mortar businesses becomes a relic of the past, further driven by the pandemic, labor experts expect even more changes to come. The small subset of employees working from home before the pandemic has grown significantly and may expand further new productivity studies come to light, and companies make more technology investments.
With VoIP and unified communications and collaboration platforms, it’s easier than ever to work from anywhere. Businesses can now expand their geographic hiring horizons, recruiting talent across the globe to fill openings that were formerly limited to local prospects. The pandemic has given your clients more incentive to increase their collective skill sets and allow WFH and other remote workforce options.
Change can be good. According to a recent Future of Work survey, which compiled over 300 responses from executives at large companies, WFH will become the new norm. Nearly 70% of businesses say employee productivity has increased since moving to remote work. However, organizations may find it difficult to get employees to return to a physical office if needed. Dealing with traffic and commuting times is a significant disincentive.
2022 may spur even more transitions. Allowing people to work both at home and in the office gives them the best of both worlds, better productivity and more time for themselves or their family. If your clients have not already made a move to flexible workspaces, that model may be worth exploring this year.
More Advanced Cybersecurity Measures
With the rapid move to remote work, many organizations struggled to maintain a secure environment for their data, networks, devices and people. BYOD and unsecured internet connections significantly increased their security risks, including the dangers of losing intellectual property and providing untethered remote access to business systems and information.
Malicious attacks in these environments might lead to compliance violations and substantial fines and be detrimental to an organization’s reputation and pocketbook. Those are some of the consequences of remote work that MSPs must address today and in the years to come.
Supervising and controlling offsite IT systems are also a growing priority. Monitoring and management tools are valuable assets that MSPs can use to ensure the safety of their client’s networks, devices, and servers. Antivirus and firewall applications are also proven and effective protection measures.
WFH employees are unsurprisingly more likely to compromise the corporate network or fall victim to attacks. Tools such as VPNs will be critical for secure network connections. MSPs should also implement a limited access policy to prevent hackers from gaining unhindered access. Clients in highly collaborative environments will also benefit from encryption to guarantee that only intended recipients can access the information employees share outside the corporate firewall.
Increasing Demand for Integrated Communications
If there were ever a need for multiple communication modes to keep everyone on the same page, now would be the time. WFH employees cannot just walk down the hall to collaborate on projects or schedule meetings. Most still do not have a corporate phone or extension at home either.
MSPs can provide these organizations with hosted VoIP or UCaaS to solve those issues and enhance communication among team members and customers. IP-based telephony allows employees to use personal smartphones, tablets, or computers to make and receive business calls the same way they’d use their traditional office phones. Users can change call routing, receive messages via text, get voicemails via email, use pre-recorded directories, and enjoy a number of other features.
For your clients who need more than average collaboration options, UCaaS could be ideal. Unified communications platforms serve as a hub for team activities and communications.
One of the crucial ways it accomplishes those tasks is through video, allowing one-on-one or one-to-many live-action calls. This capability provides employees with the same look and immediacy as face-to-face conversations. Another benefit is that your clients’ connected devices allow employees to access messages, calls, files, and host meetings – making teamwork an effortless opportunity.
MSPs will also need to offer collaboration solutions that help team members keep track of tasks, goals, and projects, and efficiently and instantly communicate. There are countless options from Microsoft 365 to Slack to ensure that everyone stays focused and in sync. MSPs can enable their clients with these capabilities.
Need for Robust Backup and Business Continuity
If there is one thing from the past two years that MSPs should take into 2022, it is a continued drive to implement effective DR and Business Continuity plans with every client. Virtually no one expected to be dealing with a worldwide pandemic for an extended period, and too few are still prepared to deal with ongoing mandates.
Likewise, natural disasters, cyberattacks, and other external threats are difficult to foresee. Though most adapt to work during a pandemic, are your clients prepared for another? We cannot assume that something that has never occurred before will not reoccur in the future. Moving forward, it only makes sense to prepare by including plans for possible disasters to recover lost or stolen data and continue essential business functionality. Those services should be easy to sell post-COVID-19.
IT service providers can undoubtedly take advantage of clients’ DR needs. Helping your clients build out business continuity plans, implement data recovery and backup systems, and develop risk management processes is a no-brainer for 2022.
Become a More Comprehensive and Flexible MSP
The pandemic has been a tremendous challenge for everyone and every business. However, MSPs have a silver lining, especially those whose clients value and appreciate their support more than ever.
The workforce environment continues to shift, and those transformations bring new business opportunities. Your clients and prospects need comprehensive IT support, from consulting and procurement to management of vital systems, cybersecurity and communications platforms.
The future is bright for high-capability MSPs. While providers have come a long way, becoming your client’s all-in-one, go-to partner is the right destination in 2022. With the right plan and proper execution, now is the perfect time to make it all happen.
If you enjoyed this blog, you might also be interested in the blog: Do Your Clients Need an Extreme Communications Makeover for 2022?