expected msp services

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Expected managed service provider (MSP) services are offerings you can include in your packages to remain competitive. These expectations have recently increased, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Users now want MSPs to incorporate additional services such as managed backup and recovery, data protection, desktop management, cybersecurity, storage, and networking services.

Backup & Recovery Services

For backup and recovery, the basic MSP software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering consists of ensuring backups are successfully completed; recovery is efficient; and underlying plumbing, software updates, and management are cared for. But modern backup and recovery services go far beyond these offerings to incorporate disaster recovery, business continuity, and backup with built-in ransomware protection. 

  • Disaster Recovery (DR): Disaster recovery takes backup a stage further by including alternative data centers, standby colocation infrastructure, and other features designed to help an entire business recover swiftly from a natural disaster, cyberattack, or grid failure.
  • Business Continuity (BC): Business continuity adds organizational, documentation, and human aspects to DR such as drills to verify the workability of the plan, lists of phone numbers and addresses where personnel go if the office is unreachable, and more.
  • Backup with Ransomware Protection: The latest cloud backup services include built-in ransomware protection to prevent backups from being infected by malware. 

Backup and recovery services have been the bread and butter of many MSPs for years. To remain competitive, you need to expand your offerings as above and adopt the latest cloud-based tools to safeguard data in any environment. 

Data Protection Services

Data protection services have grown in prominence as the amount of data created in the enterprise has mushroomed. That data needs to be stored for many years and remain usable, so a great many services have evolved to meet this need. Some of the key services expected of MSPs include data loss prevention, data privacy, and data masking. 

  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): DLP detects and prevents data breaches and blocks exfiltration or destruction of sensitive data. 
  • Data Privacy: Data privacy tools deal with myriad regulations regarding sensitive data or personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Data Masking: Data masking tools shield PII details when files and databases are shared with auditors, developers, and others.

Note that backup and recovery services are often included under the data protection umbrella. But, as they are such a huge category for MSPs, they merit their own section. If you offer backup services, you should add DLP and other services to expand your portfolio. 

Managed Desktop Services  

To manage their clients’ desktops, MSPs used to travel to the clients’ offices, where they’d refresh hardware, install new software, and remove malware. Such services are still provided, but many are now virtual, including remote management, desktop as a service, and disaster recovery as a service.  

  • Remote Management: Remote management solutions make it much easier to take care of desktop management remotely. The MSP can provide online support, malware removal, and other services remotely.
  • Desktop as a Service (DaaS): With DaaS, the IT department passes responsibility for desktop management to a desktop-as-a-service provider. Regardless of the device, the user’s virtual desktop is available via the cloud. Depending on the MSP, this can include architecture, implementation, resource provisioning, load balancing, networking, and even refreshing of devices.
  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS): DRaaS is often brought into the equation by MDaaS providers as a value-added service. As the provider is already in control of user devices, it makes sense to bundle desktop management with DR.

The heavy load placed on IT by organizational device management is eliminated when the organization adopts virtual desktop services. Upfront and ongoing infrastructure costs are avoided. These cloud-hosted desktops are easier to move, secure, patch, upgrade, and restore in the event of a failure. 

Cybersecurity Services

Cybersecurity is one of the hottest areas within the technology landscape. Its popularity has tempted many MSPs to become managed security service providers (MSSPs). But even those focusing on non-security areas are now expected to offer some kind of cybersecurity service. There are too many such services to list all of them, but a few of the most popular are managed detection and response, firewall as a service, and virtual CISO.

  • Managed Detection and Response (MDR): MDR looks after enterprise endpoints via a combination of tools related to threat hunting, monitoring, antivirus, anti-malware, remediation, and response.
  • Firewall as a Service (FWaaS): FWaaS delivers firewall solutions via the cloud and can include web filtering, advanced threat protection, intrusion prevention systems, and more.
  • Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO): vCISO services add strategic, supervision, compliance, and execution elements to provide the oversight needed to knit together underlying cybersecurity solutions and fully protect the organization. MSPs can take advantage of vCISO platforms to simplify the delivery of these services.

Additional managed cybersecurity services include security information and event management (SIEM), security operations centers (SOC), and threat analytics. However, these generally require a far greater investment in trained and experienced cybersecurity personnel.

Storage Services

Storage has been a problem since the advent of the computer. Digital technology depends on data, and that information must be stored somewhere. MSPs can provide a range of storage services to customers such as cloud storage, archiving, and encryption. 

  •  Cloud Storage: A step beyond dumping data onto Amazon or Google cloud storage, MSPs can provide cost control, data protection, tiered storage management, and other storage-related services.
  • Archiving: Some MSPs are taking the archival burden away from enterprises by storing infrequently accessed data on low-cost media.  
  • Encryption: Cloud providers can add extra layers of data protection and security beyond what is offered by hyperscalers. Encryption (at rest and in transit) is one example. 

Storage challenges generally absorb a vast amount of internal IT resources. You can lessen the workload by taking care of storage management and cloud management for your customers.

Networking Services

Networking used to always be managed internally. But with modern networks being distributed, employees becoming so mobile and working remotely, and IT teams growing thinner, managed networking services have surged in demand. These include services for software-defined wide area networks, secure access service edge, and access control.  

  • Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN): SD-WAN is replacing traditional WANs to enable organizations to scale cloud-based applications across thousands of distributed endpoints.
  • Secure Access Service Edge (SASE): Managed SASE is an emerging cloud-based delivery model that combines basic network-as-a-service offerings with cybersecurity.
  • Access Control: Managed identity and access control solutions thwart phishing efforts and ensure organizational data and systems are only viewed by authorized users.

Any MSP involved in managed networking has the opportunity to introduce further managed networking services as well as complementary cybersecurity offerings. Similarly, those offering managed security can extend their reach by adding managed networking. 

Bottom Line: Expected MSP Services

The services now expected of MSPs are all about enabling organizations to remain competitive. Customers expect more than they once did, so it’s imperative to regularly innovate and review your current offering. Review this list and determine which of these services make sense for you to add to your own MSP organization — if possible, offer at least a basic version of each.