Stressed Worker

MSPs becoming reluctant thrill seekers

Staff turnover, power outages and security breaches are making the channel far too interesting, says Billy MacInnes
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Image: Yan Krukov/Pexels

27 January 2022

I think it’s fair to say that very few people in the wider community would associate the phrase ‘adrenaline junkie’ with the IT industry. I know the industry has a tendency to talk itself up in ways that can make it seem exciting for those working in it, but no one outside IT would ever think of it as a ‘life or death’ type industry.

But if those people ever took the time to read a recent survey by LogicMonitor entitled The Next-Gen Managed Service Provider, they might be tempted to reconsider.

First the good news. MSPs are doing better in terms of revenue. According to the survey, MSPs reported that 55% of their customers were spending more with them, mainly in the areas of training, security compliance, cloud and the network.

 

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As the report notes: “MSPs today serve customers across a wide variety of industry verticals. As MSPs’ customer bases expand, so do their customer needs. These customers are spending even more money this year on their MSPs as digital transformation has accelerated, more data is moved to the cloud and companies look to shore up their risk against cyberattacks.”

Unfortunately, this has occurred at the same time as many have experienced significant staff turnover and struggled to fill vacant positions. While the global average for MSPs that experienced significant employee turnover in the last 12 months was 55%, Irish MSPs were worse affected with 71% losing staff. The situation was exacerbated by the fact it took an average of six months to replace them.

It has also led to ‘tool sprawl’ as MSPs seek to support their customer environments. Yet again, Ireland beats the global average of 10 different tools with MSPs in this country typically using an average of 15.

At this point, you might be forgiven for asking if the idea of people in IT being adrenaline junkies put forward at the start of this article might be just another example of the bombast the industry uses to grab people’s attention.

But before you dismiss it out of hand, let me draw your attention to another section of the survey which looks at the issue of IT outages and brownouts. The first thing that needs to be said is that the consequences can be quite serious, resulting in lost productivity, lost revenue and poor customer experience.

Globally, 88% of MSPs were hit by an outage or brownout and they experienced an average of 12 such incidents over the past year. Once a month might seem bad enough until you discover that MSPs in Germany experienced an average of 21 brownouts/outages over the year. That’s 75% above the global average.

Pah, that’s nothing to the adrenaline junkies in Ireland who dealt with 68 incidents in the same timeframe! I try not to use exclamation marks for emphasis but I think it’s excusable in this instance. No wonder when MSPs in Ireland experienced more than five outages/brownouts a month, the incidence rate was 566% over the global average and more than three times higher than the second worst affected country.

Reinforcing the view that there’s never a dull moment when it comes to Irish MSPs, Ireland was the only country where MSPs reported that 100% of their customers had been affected by cyberattacks in the preceding 12 months, compared to a global average of 88%. That’s right, each and every customer. The percentage of customers affected by the SolarWinds security breach in 2020 and the Kaseya breach in 2021 was also higher than anywhere else.

This may explain why Irish MSPs are “not very confident” in their ability to successfully address a cyberattack targeting customers.

When you put all those factors together, it would be hard not to conclude that life as an Irish MSP can get pretty exciting at times. Even if it might be for all the wrong reasons.

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