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When the shift to remote work first occurred, there was a sense that no matter how bad the COVID-19 pandemic became there would be a return to the office. Two years later the pandemic is still with us, and the medical community is coming to terms with the fact that there may always be variants of COVID-19 virus that could result in a need to take active measures to limit their spread.

That shift in the understanding of the world we now live is forcing an increasing number of organizations to think more strategically about remote work. Rather than approaching remote work as a tactical response to the pandemic, many organizations are now taking a more strategic approach.

Security and performance are top concerns

A survey of 304 IT professionals conducted by Workspot, a provider of a desktop computing platform accessed via the cloud, identifies the main challenges organizations face today as maintaining security across environments (71 percent), ensuring employee compliance to new controls (60 percent), and ensuring device performance (59 percent). The two biggest security challenges cited are the need for new tools and strategies for the expanded security perimeter (67 percent) and securing user devices outside the corporate firewall (54 percent).

The survey also notes that remote work played a key role in advancing the adoption of cloud computing. Nearly half (47 percent) said remote work accelerated timelines in their established cloud strategy, while more than a third of respondents (35 percent) said remote work drove expanded the scope of their strategy. Not surprisingly, 65 percent of respondents highlighted scalability, followed by reduced requirements for on-premises investments (59 percent) and improved business continuity and reliability (56 percent) as the primary benefits of the cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.

There are, of course, also financial challenges. Less than a third of respondents (30 percent), however, said they have all resources they need to enable remote work.

MSPs must elevate the conversation

Clearly, there’s an opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs) to fill a void. The tenor of the conversation, however, needs to become more strategic. Business and IT leaders don’t want to have a conversation just about an endpoint security service. They do want to talk about how to securely boost employee productivity when everyone is working from home. They especially want to know what the best practices are for enabling hybrid work as employees work in the office one day and from home the next. In effect, the issues at hand go way beyond the typical IT conversation a MSP may have historically been involved in. The challenge is that those conversations need to be had with the business and IT leaders of an organization rather than someone who is looking to outsource a single IT task.

The fact is business leaders are more involved in IT decisions than ever. The issue that creates is an MSP needs to get more leaders than ever to buy into any given solution. The purchasing cycle as a result is becoming more extended. Senior business and IT leaders want to buy from leaders they perceive to be of equal rank. It’s harder than ever for a sales representative to close a deal on their own. It also takes longer than ever to close a deal. Most importantly, however, MSPs need to truly understand that the business leaders they do engage are really trying to solve a problem that goes well beyond IT.

Photo: Claudia K / Shutterstock


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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.

4 Comments

  1. Great insight into this on-going trend. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  2. this is a big step forward but besides cloud compute / saas, another big piece of the puzzle is zero trust adoption

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  3. I agree with this 100%, but we MSPs should ‘practice what we preach’ and be seen as leaders in the this particular strategic transformation within the world of work.

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  4. The pandemic opened a few eyes as to what is possible, two months before the lockdown I wrote an article on the inefficiencies and cost of commuting to work day to day. I suggested just one day a week working from home to reduce cost. Now, as Mr Jacobson points out we are struggling with more than just the cost. There are real concerns around health and well being while maintaining our business goals and objectives. Great Article.

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