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MSPs have been dipping their big toe in the residential managed services water for years. However, the convergence of value, customer convenience, and margins still hasn’t happened on a large scale.

The global managed services market size is expected to reach USD 376.13 billion by 2025, according to a study conducted by Grand View Research. Currently only a small percentage consists of residential managed services, but as IoT devices and the emergence of 5G prevail, that will likely change. When it does — and your MSP considers entering the residential market — there are specific security issues unique to private homes that will need your attention.

Entering the residential market

It’s one thing to have a breach at a business where some customer data is stolen, but it is a completely different violation when a baby monitor is hacked, or social media accounts are compromised. Those attacks hit someone in their most priceless, personal space and MSPs need to be mindful of the difference between work-related data and the home environment.

Smarter MSP caught up with Kim Weinberger, National Director of Business Development for Computer Troubleshooters, which specializes in SMB managed services, but they are actively pursuing residential business as well.

We focused on the security aspects of remote workers, but we also wanted to see what the landscape looked like for other MSPs contemplating the residential market.

Weinberger explains why Computer Troubleshooters decided to enter the residential managed services market: “The core product line for Computer Troubleshooters is SMB managed services and managed security services. However, in today’s technology-dependent world, home technology is as important and as complicated as any small business. A typical family will have multiple devices sharing the internet, printers, and data. The way households are using technology today goes far beyond Facebook and video streaming.”

“About 70 percent of adults occasionally work from home and often remotely access their work computers. Kids are busy working at home as well, with 83 percent of K-12 school districts offering online learning options and 33 percent of college students taking at least some courses online.”

“This use of technology requires solid and secure internet and networking. Then, add on the growing need for more advanced security solutions to protect these families from the increasingly more complicated and prevalent cyber threats. Most households need the same level of protection and service that managed services have been offering to business clients for years.”

What is different about residential markets?

Residential markets share similarities with traditional MSP verticals like medical, finance, or manufacturing. “The weakest link in any cybersecurity protocol is the human component,” admits Weinberger. “Every household, like every business, is different and needs to be assessed for their specific vulnerabilities and needs. However, we are generally able to draw from the same policies, products, and procedures in the home environment that we utilize for our business clients.”

Kim then notes the difference with residential markets, “In a business environment, people are generally more aware of the best practices and company policies for avoiding cyber-attacks and are not typically utilizing the same types of websites, personal entertainment, or personal emails that they will at home. In the home environment, we are naturally more relaxed about what type of websites we are accessing, emails we are opening, and the devices that are allowed to access the network.”

“Households are regularly mixing work with fun in a way you generally do not see in the professional office. Also, we do not spend nearly enough time and effort teaching our children best practices for safe computer and internet usage, which increases the level of vulnerability for the entire home network.”

The future of residential managed services

Will residential managed services continue to “catch on” and grow? As Weinberger observes, “While Residential Managed Services is not part of our core offering, I believe that there is a growing opportunity to build that line into a valuable and stable part of our managed services business. The typical household today is becoming more and more aware of their growing need for guidance, support, and security with their technology usage.”

“They don’t know that Residential Managed Services is what they need. It is our duty to continue to educate them and communicate that there are high-quality, affordable solutions that can meet their needs.”

Residential markets will be a tough one to enter, but a clear opportunity exists there, and it is growing.

Weinberger details, “It is absolutely a challenge to convince the typical homeowner that they need to invest in their household technology in the same way a business must today.” Everyone “knows a guy that is good at computers,” and typically that type of homeowner is not our target client as they will never invest in a professional level of products and services for their technology needs.”

“We are looking for a specific target market that will understand and benefit from our services and solutions and identify that security for their technology is a complicated and serious responsibility. I truly believe that the number of clients that fall into that category is growing and will continue to grow as technology further infiltrates our personal and professional lives.”

For now, MSPs should monitor the residential markets in their local area and evaluate if it is a vertical that they should pursue. In the future, they might find it to be a valuable addition to their managed services business.

Photo: Skylines / Shutterstock

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Kevin Williams

Posted by Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams is a journalist based in Ohio. Williams has written for a variety of publications including the Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and others. He first wrote about the online world in its nascent stages for the now defunct “Online Access” Magazine in the mid-90s.

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