Most managed service providers (MSPs) today manage a large number of endpoints on behalf of a wide range of clients. So, it makes sense that many MSPs will have a keen interest in understanding how employees might be returning to the office or set up a work from anywhere policy.

A global survey of 8,533 respondents conducted by Lenovo suggests that the workplace of the of the future is about to become anywhere and everywhere. A full 83 percent of the subset of IT decision-makers from businesses surveyed said they expect post-pandemic work to be remote at least half the time. A similar number of employees participating in the survey (83 percent) also want to take advantage of a hybrid work model, with more than half (53 percent) reporting they are more productive at home.

Nearly three quarters of respondent (70 percent) noted that workplace flexibility provides them higher levels of job satisfaction, with 60 percent now preferring remote work at least half the time. Interestingly, only a third said they want to work from home all the time.

The challenge MSPs will face is that for every organization such as Salesforce that is encouraging employees to work from home, there will be another such as the City of New York pulling everyone back into the office. MSPs proved remarkably adept at enabling the employees of the organizations that rely on their expertise, to work from home during the pandemic.

However, as work from anywhere (WFA) becomes the new normal, different approaches to managing IT will be required. End customers will require MSPs to implement, for example, zero trust architectures that will allow them to manage access controls not just for end users but also specific applications and devices. Everything going forward will require a unique identifier.

Work from anywhere funding questions for MSP clients

Zero-trust architectures that can take a lot of pressure off MSPs are not free. They require new tools and platforms to be implemented. End customers, however, don’t always appreciate the need to pay for security. They assume security is somehow baked into the cost of the service. That may require an MSP to charge more for service than a rival that doesn’t provide the same level of security. Getting an end customer to appreciate that difference is usually a challenge.

Of course, MSPs could decide that a customer that doesn’t appreciate the value of that security is likely to be more trouble than they’re worth. Customers that don’t value security are a lot more likely to have a security incident that an MSP is going to be called on to help address. It requires a lot sales discipline to walk away from a customer, but when most MSPs are already operating on razor-thin margins, the cost of those security incidents over the course of a year can easily make the difference between making money and incurring a loss on the delivery of managed service.

Most MSPs have been going above and beyond the call of duty since the pandemic started. It may now be time for MSPs to look a little more to their own interests before signing a service contract that promises to enable anyone to WFA, given the all too real cost of the security that will inevitably be required.

Photo: GaudiLab / Shutterstock

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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    […] will be moving more fluidly between home and the office as working from home is replaced a new work from anywhere […]

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    […] conversation is about to be had about the whole work from anywhere (WFA) movement. A global survey conducted by Lenovo finds 83 percent of IT decision-makers from businesses surveyed said they […]

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