The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the way many of us operate and forced us to adapt to working remotely whether we were prepared for it or not. As MSPs and their customers adapt to the shift towards ensuring productive, secure workforces, we asked a few of your MSP peers to share challenges they’re facing and how they are overcoming them.
How are MSPs responding to Coronavirus?
1. Limiting on-site visits. Sharon Vanhoose of Cyber Solutions noted this as one of the most significant changes: “We have asked clients to understand that on-site work will be limited, and that we will be able to resolve most issues remotely.” Several other MSPs are following suit by suspending all non-critical onsite calls, While in-person engagements may be slowing down, savvy MSPs are finding creative ways to stay in touch with their customers during this time.
2. Servicing an expanded remote workforce. Getting customers set-up to work remotely if they haven’t already established a way of doing so is something that can be a challenge, shared Derek Schroeder of Kloud9 IT. The workers that can do their jobs remotely need secure connections. In some cases, there are not enough devices or system capacities available to accommodate an increased number of remote users, so security is a big issue. “Anticipate facing limited resources and varying business hours. Brush up on your tool sets and try to remain flexible,” offers Matt Hoffman of Frontline Technology LLC. If MSPs are finding now that they don’t have enough licenses for required tools, they should think about how this impacts their contingency plans moving forward. If MSPs prefer to be conservative when it comes to licenses for remote users, do MSPs know how to quickly get that access in their time of need?
3. Focusing on communication. Communication is key and we can all work together to create a solution that meets our customers business objectives. For MSPs who have been impacted by COVID-19, Sharon Vanhoose also recommends that MSPs should be proactive, reaching out to them before they reach out to you, ideally. “Be upfront with your customers and let them know that you are available and will still meet their needs. Contact them before they get anxious.” In addition, you’ll want to make sure you have multiple platforms through which to communicate – phone, email, chat, text, etc. Let customers know if there are changes in the response times they can expect from you, or if there are alternate ways they should reach you. Right now it’s important to focus on being as responsive as possible.
4. Securing everything. The last bits of advice that fellow MSPs shared related to this outbreak would be to not take any short cuts. Make sure you have a VPN to access data securely and that your customers add it as well, for example. Provide training to ensure employees know how to recognize a slew of new phishing attacks designed to prey on the worry and distraction that COVID-19 has brought with it. For MSPs, there are many available resources to ensure the security of your customers.
It’s important to set realistic goals and expectations for yourself during this time, and not to over-promise what you can deliver. But, hopefully, during this time of great need, these tips are helpful in finding ways you can put your best foot forward.
What other changes are you experiencing as a result of COVID-19? What other constructive advice do you have for other MSPs at this time?
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