The post-COVID future of data protection for MSPs


The post-COVID future of data protection for MSPs

How MSPs can help customers master data sprawl, minimise cyber threats and improve productivity.

In 1943, with the world at war, Abraham Maslow quietly penned the finishing touches to his seminal theory. 80 years on and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs still stands. The American psychologist put forward the idea that people are motivated by five basic categories of needs. Starting with physiological needs at the base then, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization (this was later expanded to include cognitive and aesthetic needs).

Once the lower need is met, the next gets our attention. It’s a pyramid concept many of us can relate to, especially in the wake of Covid-19 (with many remote workers now adding ‘wi-fi’ as a basic need!). Let’s face it, most of us feel like we’ve had the rug pulled out from under us, as our basic need of protection is challenged. We feel out of control and vulnerable. In fact, nearly all categories in the hierarchy are affected by Covid-19: job security is at stake, we are disconnected from family and friends, and we’re worried about the impact of the virus on our mental, physical and economic health.

Five data management challenges facing IT leaders

But aside from how the virus and its fallout has affected our personal lives, our work hierarchy of needs has been impacted too. Our physical environment has changed – we now log onto work rather than going to work; our security is threatened as our online world is more susceptible to hackers; and our connections to colleagues are now predominantly through a screen. 

To keep up our productivity levels we all need fast, safe, and easy ways to access our work. Yet even before the pandemic, many IT leaders were struggling to meet these demands and implement robust data management. From the conversations we’ve had with IT leaders, these are the main challenges they’ve shared – these are probably similar conversations MSPs are having with their clients and prospects too:

1.            Keeping up with the needs of a digital workplace – There’s no doubt, the way we work is changing, rapidly. But one need remains – wherever users are in the world, they all want their systems to work the way they do, in real time. The pandemic has accelerated remote-working programs at scale – 451 Research estimates there are more than 70 million of us working remotely1. And if they’re anything like us, they all expect their critical data to be at their fingertips, wherever and whenever they need it. It’s an on-demand world and tolerance for slow data restores is low.

2.            Struggling to contain unpredictable hardware costs – Most businesses, particularly large enterprises, have IT estates that have morphed over time. Many are still reliant on legacy systems that are feeling the strain and need onsite support. For many IT teams, it’s a case of simply managing the mess. Frustrated by the limitations (and soaring storage costs) of ageing infrastructure, IT leaders are searching for comprehensive, flexible platforms that give them real-time access and insight to their data – without the eye-watering price tag.

3.            Scrabbling to manage complex data – A typical business today stores 10 times more data than a decade ago2, and there was no furlough scheme for data during the recent pandemic. In fact, data growth accelerated (reported as a “high watermark” of data sharing in the recently published UK government’s national data strategy)3. Data now exists in more formats than ever before and it is sprawling across a continuously growing number of devices, applications and cloud platforms. Getting full visibility of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data is extremely hard. And with Brexit looming all eyes are on data sovereignty.

4.            Fighting to make data security a top priority – Despite reports that cyberattacks have spiked in the first half of 2020 (COVID has exposed UK cybersecurity vulnerabilities with more than 65,000 attacks a day)4, many businesses are still failing to take a recovery-first approach. We’ve all seen the headlines of disgraced companies that have been breached, yet many of us blindly believe it won’t happen to us. When a business is breached – the cost is huge. Not just fines and reputational damage – but the internal impact and user frustration of losing access to systems for a period of time.

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The post-COVID future of data protection for MSPs