Q: AI seems to be everywhere I look these days! How can I capitalize on the AI opportunity as an MSP? What ways should I be using it?
Artificial intelligence can feel like a buzzword, but MSPs that are paying attention want to make sure they don’t miss the chance to use AI to improve their business or their offering. To help answer your question learn more about how MSPs can leverage AI, Smarter MSP talked to Sachin Sinha, CEO of IQLECT in Bangladore, India. Sinha founded the data startup IQLECT in 2015 after stints as a lead project engineer at Amazon and Microsoft. IQLECT’s current customers include Dell and Cisco.
Sinha has previously said that with artificial intelligence-powered solutions MSPs can offer flexible growth options for businesses to “scale new heights.” We asked him to explain.
“I’m talking about new, upcoming, and future-aligned use cases that organizations across different verticals are hoping to solve in order to push their businesses forward. Sustained shift from offline to online scenarios, more and more connected devices and machines, etc. are putting huge pressure on predictive use cases which demands to deal with data in real time,” Sinha says, and AI can help sort through and secure the rivers of data.
Sinha says that what really boosts AI ahead of other legacy technologies is its predictive ability to head off problems, and if an MSP’s mission is prevention, predictive solutions are a part of that package.
“Security attacks are becoming more complex every single passing day, and with lack of access to all data it makes it even harder to provide a better safety net. Again, not forensic but predictive is the approach organizations are looking for in order to check these threats in real time,” Sinha says.
Powerful Use Cases
Sinha says that in addition to predictive prevention the other area where AI shines is in real-time sorting of mass amounts of data.
“Real-time access to insights would change things drastically,” Sinha says, pointing to data center and infrastructure monitoring and prevention of failure or breakdown as examples where this type of technology could help.
“All of these scenarios are revenue or bottom line impacting ones,” Sinha says.
Current data storage methods—in-memory computer—don’t have much flexibility and are limiting.
“It can’t be a sustained option as it makes proposition very costly and inelastic. These are some of the challenges which span across ML [machine learning], AI, data and infra angles that any enterprise or medium-size company have to deal with in order to go to next level,” Sinha says.
Exciting Possibilities for AI
During our conversation, Sinha also shared some fascinating insights about the role of AI for MSPs, including excitement about AI’s possibilities and the prediction that AI will begin offering seamless, real-time fixes to problems.
Smarter MSP: There is a lot of fear out there about AI, even among MSPs. Do you view AI as a force and opportunity for good? Or do you worry about ways it could be misused? Can MSPs play a role in managing AI technology?
“I don’t subscribe to this view. With every new technology or shift, we start thinking about the worst-case scenarios. This has happened with every possible path-breaking shifts in the past as well. However, an important point to note is that with new enabled capabilities, newer constraints, guidelines, and safety nets are also provisioned. AI is new. We are still trying to understand it. Clearly there are confusions. Some side effects could be possible, but then as AI evolves, maturity and guidelines will also evolve, which will help counter the negative or dangerous effects of AI.”
#AI, with the help of robust real-time data platforms, would help MSPs automate within the organization and in their services. @SmarterMSP
Smarter MSP: What are three ways AI will change the managed services industry in the years ahead?
Data: AI, with the help of robust real-time data platforms, would bring automation to several verticals within an organization and also in different offered services.
CRM: AI will help automate resolution of customer issues and problems at different levels.
Predictive technology and real-time seamless fixes: Predictive real-time continuous and remote monitoring of infrastructure. Traditional approach of offline analysis or root cause analysis may get slowly replaced with auto identification of issues and recommendations or suggested steps for their resolutions. Next step could be for auto resolutions as well in some cases.
Smarter MSP: How do AI-powered security features compare to traditional ones?
AI-powered security features can deal with the following very effectively:
- Unavailability of part of data, which is typically the case in security. An AI-based system would still work with a partial set of data in very effective manner.
- Complete and absolute computations can be very costly, time-consuming, and sometimes impractical, whereas AI-based systems can be extremely fast with very high accuracy. A certain level of false positive is a very good compromise here given the extraordinary gains in other departments.
- Given the new ways in which an attack can happen, fixed sets of static rules wouldn’t be very effective in continuous manner. AI-powered systems are capable of learning and adapting to changing environments, data, and underlying patterns
- AI-powered systems could also along the way learn how to resolve issues whereas traditional systems are extremely brittle to changes and learning.
So, the takeaway from our conversation is that in areas from data aggregation to security to issue resolution, AI is able to tackle problems in new, real-time ways. As an MSP, you should continue to keep an eye out for new AI-powered solutions or ways that your current vendors are incorporating AI that you could take advantage of to help protect your customers or make your team more efficient.