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Many managed service providers (MSPs) are understandably anxious to better understand to what degree employees might be working from home for the foreseeable future, and to what degree that transition might create demand for their services.

Clearly, there are more people working from home than ever. However, it’s too early to conclude that working from home will become the preferred option. There are just as many employees that prefer to work from an office as there are those that like to work from home.

The bigger question for MSPs will be understanding to what degree organizations are able to protect remote endpoints. Less than half of respondents to a recent survey indicated their employers were able to provide them with a dedicated device for work-related purposes, though 51 percent did credit their company’s IT support with aiding in the transition and providing assistance.

WFH creates uncertainty

The greatest unknown is what the reaction will be when, for example, there’s an inevitable security breach. Some organizations may look to MSPs for help. Just as many, however, may decide they need to pull everyone back into a secure IT environment that they know how to defend.

Of course, there are also plenty of organizations that might not have an office to return to as they seek to reduce costs. Many organizations that have adapted to working from home are now questioning the value of leasing commercial real estate space. Most of those companies are likely to turn into better prospects for MSPs, because they are essentially reevaluating the way the entire organization functions.

Just as significantly, many organizations will be required to trim back the number of IT professionals they are likely to be able to retain. In those situations, a more flexible approach to IT-based on services contracts becomes all the more appealing.

There undoubtedly will be more demand for managed services among organizations that have the majority of their employees working from home. MSPs, however, should be careful not to overestimate how large, or permanent, the working from home phenomenon is likely to become. Many organizations may only potentially be looking for external help for six months, depending on whether there is a second wave of the pandemic this later this year, or not.

In the meantime, MSPs should be gearing up for an increased number of calls for cybersecurity assistance. With larger numbers of employees using personal devices that have minimal layers of security, malware infestation is all but inevitable. In most cases, the malware has already been distributed.

The only thing that is certain is that malware will be activated at the most inopportune moment possible. MSPs that are prepared to provide that timely assistance will naturally be in the best position to transform the gratitude for providing that help at a critical time, into an opportunity to sign a long-term services contracts.

Photo: Sharomka / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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