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SMBs Outsourcing to MSPs Despite Global Economic Uncertainty , Study Finds

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Despite elevated economic uncertainty, many small- to medium-size (SMB) businesses are outsourcing more IT projects and services to managed service providers (MSPs), according to Kaseya’s 2023 IT Operations Report.

At the same time, budgets are being redirected to strengthen cybersecurity and update legacy systems while IT professionals are investing more in automation and integrations, Kayesa says in its survey of 1,300 IT professionals running internal IT operations worldwide.

Kaseya, which makes IT cybersecurity infrastructure management software for SMBs, found that companies of all sizes are reassessing their operations and business strategies to remain competitive and profitable.

More Outsourcing to MSPs Seen

Here are the top-line findings from the study:

  • Businesses want to stay cost-efficient and productive and are looking to outsource more IT services to MSPs.
  • Businesses are seeking to replace legacy tools with solutions that are faster and more responsive to stay competitive, tap into new markets and reduce operational costs. They also plan to allocate resources toward integration and automation capabilities to increase productivity and unlock growth.
  • Organizations are placing a strong emphasis on cybersecurity. And despite economic conditions, they are focused on acquiring talent in this area either through internal hires or outsourcing to MSPs that provide cybersecurity services.
  • 62% of respondents reported having to frequently work on holidays or weekends. Nearly half of them confessed to working through the night. Also, 40% admitted to working 50-plus hour weeks consecutively.

How MSPs stand to benefit:

  • According to the report, almost 80% of respondents said they outsource one or more IT services to an MSP, up from 64% in 2022.
  • The top three functions that are being outsourced are IT security, network monitoring and cloud infrastructure management.
  • Other services are endpoint management, compliance reporting and onboarding/offboarding of users and devices.

Regarding cybersecurity and upgrading legacy systems:

  • 40% of respondents cite cybersecurity and data protection as the foremost IT challenge in 2023.
  • Legacy systems hampering growth and innovation were reported as the second biggest challenge by 24% of respondents.

On improving security and increasing productivity through automation:

  • 45% are prioritizing the improvement of IT security overall.
  • By using an advanced endpoint management tool, technicians can monitor, detect and automatically resolve common security issues. Another benefit of automation is that it fuels productivity and alleviates technicians’ ever-increasing workloads.

Where IT professionals will invest:

  • 39% of respondents cited IT automation as technology in focus for investment, followed by 30% for email security, including phishing prevention, and 27% for endpoint detection and response (EDR).
  • 48% want to invest in security awareness training to empower their employees to become the strongest link to their cybersecurity strategy.
  • Another 36% of respondents were interested in vulnerability scanning tools that detect and address weaknesses in the IT infrastructure before attackers can exploit them.
  • 47% of survey participants plan to add or change cybersecurity solutions this year. Meanwhile, 30% said backup and recovery solutions are on their radar, noting the importance of a comprehensive data protection plan.
  • 22% of the respondents also anticipate staffing growth in cybersecurity.

Other Notable Findings

  • Roughly 25% of survey participants reported the integration of IT documentation within the endpoint management tool as most beneficial.
  • When it comes to IT management tools, respondents listed their top five as: help desk/ticketing, endpoint management, IT documentation/knowledge management, network management/network performance monitoring and EDR.
D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.