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A survey of 110 IT decision-makers based in the U.S. suggests that the reliance on third-party IT services is starting to increase as IT becomes more complex.

Conducted by US Signal, a provider of data center services, the survey finds more than a third (34 percent) have started using third-party services provided by an edge data center provider within the last six months, with 11 percent having only initiated those services within the last few weeks.

The services being consumed most frequently are:

  • Backup and disaster recovery (75 percent)
  • Security services (73 percent)
  • Network connectivity (69 percent)
  • Private cloud hosting (59 percent)
  • Multi-tenant cloud hosting (56 percent)
  • Colocation (39 percent)

The survey also notes that three-quarters of respondents are currently using backup and disaster recovery services from a third-party edge data center provider. The downside is more than half (54 percent) are only somewhat or not very confident in their disaster recovery and backup solution. That suggests that as IT environments get more complex, there’s a need to modernize disaster recovery and backup processes, especially in an age of ransomware where cybersecurity and data protection processes now need to converge.

In fact, most IT environments are hybrid (66 percent). Only a third (34 percent) did not have a hybrid IT infrastructure deployed, with 20 percent claiming their IT infrastructure was entirely cloud-based. As it happens, those results also correspond with a recent survey of 80 CIOs conducted by Credit Suisse that found that less than a fifth of those surveyed plan to spend 20 percent or more of their IT budgets in 2020 on public cloud computing services.

Opportunities for MSPs

As IT becomes more complex, there’s an increased willingness from internal IT teams to rely on third-party service providers for a wide variety of block-and-tackle IT functions. The implication is that internal IT teams are increasingly focusing their efforts on higher value IT tasks that leaves little time for making sure a backup has actually occurred.

Of course, how receptive internal IT teams are to that idea has a lot to do with the confidence they have in their own skills. If the internal IT team only knows how to perform tasks such as backup and recovery, the motivation to cede control of those tasks to an external service provider is low.

Savvy managed service providers (MSPs) might want to focus their sales efforts on organizations that value IT as a core enabling technology for business processes. Otherwise, it’s always going to be a race to the bottom in terms of who can deliver, for example, backup and recovery at a lower cost. Unfortunately, most customers don’t always remember what they were willing to pay for a service when they were not able to recover a file at their greatest time of need.

Whatever the motivation, MSPs that can consistently demonstrate their data protection expertise will find their services in demand more than ever. The real challenge is identifying the customers that value expertise enough to pay a little extra for it.

Photo: Lesterman / 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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