As I am writing this from home in the United Kingdom, we are still effectively locked down.
The vaccination program is going very well, and with the early signs of spring flowers emerging from the soil, people are beginning to wonder: what's next? It's a very big question for society as a whole, as everyone I'm sure wants to get back out into the world.
But this blog post is about us, the MSPs, people who work hard to keep the IT infrastructure of the world's Small to Medium Businesses running. So what's next for us?
Working from Wherever
I guess the first thing to acknowledge is that MSPs all around the world have continued to work during the pandemic. I've written previously about the amount of work that was done in a very short amount of time to get everyone safely working from home.
So will there be a reversal of this when all our customers and their users begin to go back into their offices? After almost a year away, they will no doubt have forgotten how to do some fairly simple things, so MSPs will be called on to help them get connected and working again. I just hope they remembered to take the milk out of the fridge when they left the offices last March.
In my opinion, the return to offices will be gradual, and we may have finally gotten to the point where more flexible working is the norm. This will mean that moving forward, we will not only have to support users at their homes, we will have to support them wherever they may choose to work from, at home, in the office, or perhaps even in flexible coworking spaces.
MSPs will also have to deal with the extra level of complexity of not knowing what type of network the user is connected to. Is that user's home Wi-Fi secure? How are they sharing passwords and protecting themselves from phishing attacks? They'll also have the extra worry of how to verify that a user is who they claim to be when calling into an MSP service desk from a new location.
The bad guys haven't been resting through this pandemic. They have spotted an opportunity in this uncertainty and are creating increasingly convincing-looking phishing emails and webpages.
These are becoming ever more cunning and are designed to catch people while their guard is down and they're on their least secure devices. It’s hard to think about security while you’re working on an ironing board, trying to home school the kids, and cook dinner at the same time.
The role of the MSP is to keep their clients secure from all these evolving threats and this will continue to be our mission wherever these users are physically located.
Once people are more comfortable traveling again, events will be back on. What is going to happen to these in 2021 and beyond? As a former MSP, I love going to events all around the world to meet people in a similar situation to me, bounce ideas off, and generally learn from. It’s where MSPs learn about new products and services, which helped me grow my MSP business for sure, and to be honest, I am missing them.
I hope that events will begin to return in some form this year, but while I'm sure they will, I'm not sure if they will be local, regional, national, or international. I'm sure they will be a little different to begin with, maybe reduced numbers and more social distancing, but over time I hope we can get back to how they were. Virtual events are all well and good, but they are never quite the same.
One thing is for sure: it’s not going to be like flicking a switch and life going back to exactly how it was before this pandemic began. It will be gradual and some things will have changed forever.