How MSPs Can Shine As SMEs Demand More Support

Featured Post

How MSPs Can Shine As SMEs Demand More Support

Businesses today are being forced to do more with less. Budgets are being reined in, and a widening skills gap is leaving firms struggling with a dearth of expertise when it comes to managing their IT. This is especially felt among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), where overstretched IT teams are tasked with ensuring the productivity and security of the workforce.

These factors mean an increasing number of SMEs are now seeking expertise from outside their organisations. In particular, they are keen to leverage the knowledge and capabilities of managed service providers (MSPs) to deliver the digital experience demanded by the modern workplace.

IT teams are often the ‘lone wolves’ in their organisations. As a result of budget constraints and the ratios against them they’re looking to defer to MSPs for extra support and expertise. MSPs are an economical way of accessing expertise and outsource IT. Even if it’s simply by procuring ancillary support in ticketing and break-fix scenarios, it means the in-house IT person can focus on IT architecture and next generation technology challenges, and leave the ‘heavy lifting’ of IT support to the MSP.

While the UK still lags behind other countries like the US and India in MSP adoption, today 62% of UK SMEs use an MSP to some extent within their IT programme. According to our recent SME IT Trends report, this is up from 57% in Q2 2023. This suggests that UK SMEs that were previously resistant to MSPs are now turning to them for their expertise.

Security is the biggest challenge

Alongside budget and expertise constraints, one of the biggest drivers of MSP adoption is the need for SMEs to secure their organisation. Half of UK SMEs say security is their biggest challenge, as they endeavour to ensure they are protected against the scale, sophistication, and frequency of today’s cyberattacks.

In the UK, network attacks top the list of security threats (44.5%), followed by ransomware (35%), with software vulnerability exploits in third place (32%). In fact, ransomware is a bigger concern for UK organisations than the other countries surveyed.

However, our findings reveal that UK SMEs could be more vulnerable to cyberattacks than those in other countries. The survey found that UK firms are less likely to offer formal cybersecurity training, less likely to have an IT security expert on staff, the least financially prepared to recover from a cyberattack, and least likely to have a cybersecurity plan in place.

It’s not surprising that security is a massive theme; SMEs are challenged with how to keep employees and systems safe with a lack of budget and no ability to buy tools or train people. They are looking for opportunities to solve those problems and become more efficient. This is where MSPs are demonstrating their value.

For example, one area of growing demand is device management and security. MSPs are offering services around procurement, the hardening of the machine, the distribution of the machine, and the reclaiming of the machine when its service life is ending – essentially managing it 24/7 and making sure it has ironclad security, using a variety of tools and mobile device management solutions.

MSPs are key to diversifying the IT environment

Another area is cloud storage and cloud transformation – especially as UK SMEs are also looking to diversify their IT estate. Many are looking for more flexibility and moving beyond the traditional Microsoft environment to incorporate Apple devices, or explore their public cloud options with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

We’re often seeing MSPs brought in because historic Microsoft-run IT groups have no real expertise in securing and managing Apple endpoints. In the same world, there’s a class of MSP that will help SMEs digitally transform, securely managing lifting and shifting infrastructure into public cloud environments like Amazon or Google Cloud.

SMEs are more reliant than ever on MSPs, which are fast becoming a go-to resource for organisations. This is an opportunity for MSPs to step up to help their customers navigate the current complex IT landscape. Against a background of tight budgets and a lack of in-house expertise, they can provide a path to productivity, efficiency, and security as a much-valued, trusted advisor.