Monday, 25th May 2020

Taking advantage of new technologies with the help of MSPs

IT management in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) is not for the faint-hearted. For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the implementation of new security standards, regulations, and technologies can be daunting. These are best addressed by managed service providers (MSPs) who can simplify the delivery of IT services and enable SME customers to optimise their capabilities while ensuring their technology investments are continuing to fuel their business success. By Datto.

To do this effectively, it’s important to understand the role MSPs play in helping SMEs. As well as supporting existing IT infrastructure for their customers, MSPs also help their SME clients understand and engage with new and emerging technologies, whilst also ensuring they meet regulatory requirements and address an ever-changing security landscape.

Compliance and security create new opportunities

Firstly, SMEs are being required to meet a growing regulatory framework. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) creates opportunities for MSPs to help SMEs understand and deal with data regulation and compliance issues. GDPR was created to enhance protection and ensure data security but doesn’t provide the necessary information on exactly how to achieve this from a technical standpoint. With more and more data being stored in the cloud, and transferred across wide area networks rather than being secured on a local network, regulations like GDPR are increasingly challenging to manage. The regulatory world is ever-changing and because SMEs are required by law to comply with these changes, they will need expert support and guidance on how to accomplish this and will turn to MSPs for assistance.

From a security perspective, three new technologies are set to take SME digital transformation to the next level.

  1. AI-based security threat detection across the network will become the norm. As malware evolves, security applications will also have to undergo a significant evolution. To combat increasingly sophisticated threats and innovations, network security will have to rapidly shift to leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

By automatically determining any disruption to what is considered “normal” user and machine behaviour, AI-based security detection will enable faster and more effective threat management. This approach allows for rapid response to any potential threat or vulnerability and gives administrators quicker access for reviewing and determining the most secure course of action.

Although AI-based security solutions are becoming mainstream, it is still beyond the reach of most SME IT budgets and capabilities - however as the price point for AI-based security begins to decrease, the technology will become more accessible to SMEs. MSPs will play a critical role in helping their clients implement these technologies as quickly and efficiently as possible to mitigate today’s threat landscape and stay ahead of ever-more sophisticated means of malware.

  1. Wi-Fi 6 will support an explosion in connected devices. The adoption of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) will require a comprehensive hardware upgrade across the WIFI landscape. As with prior Wi-Fi generations, Wi-Fi 6 will likely create uncertainty in the market around how to best secure and support these technologies. Wi-Fi 6 will also require updates to end-user devices as well as the network infrastructure itself, including wireless access points and wireless routers.

MSPs will have to coordinate the roll-out for their SME clients, making sense of this accelerating market trend to effectively manage the transition to Wi-Fi 6. Opportunities will abound for MSPs who are positioned to help SMEs maximise the new technology, implement it and manage it.

  1. 5G, CBRS and Hotspot 2.0 will take wireless capabilities to the next level. 5G offers significantly more bandwidth than the current generation of 4G technology, which makes it more effective in high-throughput environments. As CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) and Hotspot 2.0 become more prevalent, lines will blur between private Wi-Fi and mobile services.

These new technologies will dramatically expand the potential applications of IoT devices and further decentralise computing devices, making the world ever more connected. This explosive growth of digital devices will further test IT departments tasked with supporting and securing an expanding number of connected devices. MSPs will be central to maintaining network security, as well as ensuring the infrastructure, and the devices using it, and secure, patched, stable, compliant and functioning.

The rapid and relentless pace of technological change, in the past the preserve of large enterprise, is now pervasive in the SME sector, effectively cementing the position of MSPs as an essential player in the technology revolution as SMEs come to heavily rely on the insight, expertise and support from their MSP to transition to new technologies and to comply with new regulatory standards. As the technology evolution quickens, and as the resultant threat and regulatory landscapes evolves with it, partnering with an expert MSP will enable SMEs to embrace and capitalise on the enormous upside that it presents.

By Sean Wray, VP NA Government Programs, Certes Networks.
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