Over the past week, the remote workforce grew exponentially in an effort to ‘flatten the curve’ against COVID-19. While this is a temporary situation, it could have long lasting effects as businesses and the workforce settle into the new routine.
Managed service providers (MSPs) are adapting and facilitating their customers’ needs with temporary solutions. But, what if remote work becomes the new normal? MSPs need to plan for this possibility by including services within their portfolio that can support a large number of remote workers, and that can be delivered at scale. Here are a few tips for MSPs looking down the road at how they might better support their customers’ remote teams.
Do not delay the move to the cloud
This may sound like a given as we all know that the shift to the cloud has been an ongoing process for many businesses. If working from home becomes the new normal, however, the cloud will be the cornerstone to enabling the remote workforce. Cloud technology enable workers to connect from anywhere that has internet access, facilitates collaboration and communication tools for employees, and it enables scalability for businesses.
If enabling the cloud for your SMB customers is already a part of your service offerings, now is the time to focus on promoting the benefits to your prospective customers and creating migration plans with them to move them to the cloud. It may seem opportunistic, but the current situation may speed up your prospects’ decision to adopt cloud services.
It is important to enable SMB with the ability to ‘work from anywhere’ in these uncertain times with the cloud. The additional benefits the cloud can offer will benefit them in the long run.
Include security in your offering
With remote workers, ensuring a secure connection can be difficult without proper security solutions in place. Here is a list of security offerings MSPs should include in their offerings to ensure their customers are protected in today’s cyberthreat landscape:
- Remote access solution with different VPN connectivity options – this will enable customers with different needs or regulatory requirements to connect securely to their company’s sensitive data.
- Web security – As more users are working remotely, cybercriminals will take advantage of web-borne threats as the attack vector to breach businesses. Ensure remote workers are protected and do not become the next cyberthreat victim.
- Email security – Email phishing is the number one threat vector cybercriminals use to exploit vulnerabilities. No matter if your customers’ email service is cloud-based or on-premise, security is required to safeguard your customers’ email communications.
- Antivirus – This is a must. However, managing different antivirus vendors for different customers can become an administrative headache for your technicians and operational staff. Include a preferred antivirus solution as part of your service to help eliminate any unnecessary overhead for your team.
- Automated third-party software updates – Software updates are typically included in MSPs’ maintenance service offerings, but are often limited to include only Microsoft software updates. Since cybercriminals don’t discriminate against which software the security vulnerabilities exists on, it is important to provide software updates beyond Microsoft operating system and products. Broadening your software update coverage will further enhance the remote workers’ security posture by ensuring timely security update and removing security vulnerability before cybercriminals can exploit it.
Currently, there is no telling when the COVID-19 pandemic will be resolved, or at least contained enough for the majority of the workforce to return to their offices. Even when that happens, many workers may find that they are more efficient working at home and prefer continuing to do so. Following these tips will best prepare your MSP to meet the remote workforce’s needs, no matter how long they need to stay away from the office.
Photo: taa22 / Shutterstock