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A recent survey of 1,000 IT decision-makers from small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) across a variety of industries conducted by JumpCloud, a directory platform provider, suggests that managed service providers (MSPs) are now accounting for a much larger share of the overall IT market.

The survey finds 87 percent of respondents have or plan to engage an MSP. Respondents report they are contracting with MSPs because they are up to date on the latest technologies (63 percent), they can provide a better user experience (60 percent), they are cost-effective (54 percent), they can secure users’ access and identity better (47 percent), and they offer strong customer support (32 percent).

In fact, more than three quarters (77 percent) report relying on an MSP has resulted in better security, with well more than half (57 percent) reporting they are seeing a better employee experience.

IT leaders focus on remote work issues

The top three security priorities are adding layered security for truly secure remote work, making remote work easier for end-users, and making remote work easier for admins. Employee experience is an important factor in IT purchasing decisions and 88 percent would strongly agree. More than half (54 percent) agree that the remote or hybrid experience is not as easy as it could be.

The top security concerns cited are software security exploits (37 percent), ransomware (35 percent), and usage of unsecured networks (33 percent).

Three-quarters of respondents (75 percent) said IT budgets increased over the last year, with less than a third (30 percent) reporting their organization is spending too much to enable remote work.

Biases shifting, as reliance on MSPs grows

Prior to the pandemic, the assumption was an internal IT staff would be able to better serve the needs of end-users. As many of those end users are now dependent on networks to access cloud applications from home, there’s a greater willingness to rely on MSPs to manage IT. Well into the third year of the pandemic relying on MSPs has in many cases become the default option.

IT personnel migrating, becoming MSP employees

Given the level of scale most MSPs operate at, making that transition is not always easy. Each end-user organization has unique needs that require the employees of an MSP to take into account as they move between engagements. They also must be a little more solicitous of customer demands regardless of what is stipulated in a contract.

When all is said and done, the amount of IT resources being consumed via MSPs is much higher today than it was prior to the pandemic. In fact, it may not be too long before MSPs become the dominant channel through which all IT is consumed.

Photo: metamorworks / 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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