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SMEs leaning more heavily on MSPs, says research

Research from JumpCloud reveals increased momentum in the shift by small and medium-sized customers towards working with the managed service model

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are continuing to turn to managed service providers (MSPs) as they look to partners to take the strain, but security continues to be a concern.

The latest Q2 2022 SME IT trends report, IT evolution: How IT is securing the next stage of SME workplace models from JumpCloud, has found that SMEs are investing significantly in MSP relationships.

The increased spending on managed services is happening despite the current economic challenges, which bodes well for the rest of this year.

The report found that 88% of SMEs are currently working with an MSP or have plans to, with the channel being turned to either support the internal IT team or, in almost a third of cases, run the operations for a customers.

When asked why they wanted to work with MSPs, the reasons included knowledge, cost savings and being able to provide a better user experience. A healthy number reported that the benefits of using a managed service provider included improved security and making the job of the internal IT team easier.

MSPs handle a wide range of functions for users, but the dominant ones included cloud storage, system security, system management and monitoring.

“With the number of applications most organisations require to simply get work done, it’s no surprise that so many SMEs are offloading IT management to partners,” said Katie Clouse, vice-president of global MSP sales at JumpCloud.

“MSPs are perfectly positioned to reduce cost and complexity for small and medium-sized organisations, and growing industry interest in simplifying IT will likely lead to ever-faster MSP adoption,” she added.

The report also identified what was holding back more activity between customers and MSPs, with some users stating that they had a preference for handling things themselves in-house, and others saying MSPs offered more services than they needed. There were complaints by some (29%) that turning to partners was too expensive.

There were also ongoing concerns that MSPs would not be able to provide the levels of security that customers were looking for, with a third flagging it as an area that already worried them about existing partner relationships.

The managed service community has been increasingly told that it needs to sharpen up on security, due to the threat of government regulations, as well as customer demands.

Speaking earlier this year, Tim Weller, CEO of Datto, said that the managed services community had to accept that they were involved with security.

“If MSPs aren’t already hearing that from their SMEs, if the government doesn’t mandate it, competition will. You will lose your clients to MSPs that show better in the security arena,” he added. “You’re in the security business.”

Overall, the JumpCloud report found that security risks had replaced hybrid working as the top SME concern in 2022.

“From complicated tech stacks to the downstream impact of global events, IT admins are working to secure and simplify workflows in less-than-ideal circumstances,” said Rajat Bhargava, co-founder and CEO, JumpCloud.

“As IT teams sound the alarm about increased threats, SMEs should acknowledge these professionals are needlessly juggling a sprawling tech stack that isn’t efficient or cost-effective and that introduces unnecessary risk.”

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