The New MSP Battlefield: Managing Users
For those of you who are new to managed services, I want you to imagine a time (not so long ago) when MSPs spent most of their time managing on-premise (that means not in the cloud for you millennials) Microsoft Exchange servers for customers. Many MSPs would help clients buy, install, setup, and manage these servers to provide fundamental email, document management, and other office IT needs.
In the age of cloud computing, the need to manage those servers is far less, even for mid-market and larger enterprise clients. Email, document management, and calendaring are now business functions performed increasingly in cloud environments.
You may ask yourself, what else is there for the MSP to do when cloud does so much.
Identity and Access Management
Called IAM for short, identity and access management are all about the user. Who is allowed to access a network application, what access privileges do they have, when are they allowed to have such access, how do these users get on-boarded and off-boarded?
All these questions scream for effective managed services. Notably, for smaller organizations without a full time or large IT staff, MSPs do have an important role to play when it comes to user governance within these organizations.
It’s All About Security
IAM does not, on its face, sound very exciting or lucrative as a managed services offering. However, when you consider the immense security implications of ineffective user access management, there is a lot of work to be done.
The next decade will be about educating customers on how to help them avoid costly and embarrassing security breaches; many such breaches, we know, are caused by inadvertent internal errors. These errors are avoidable; however, with a little education and the right technology and processes in place, inadvertent errors leading to security breaches can be significantly lowered. And, the best this is these technologies generally do not cost a lot of money to procure and implement.
MSPs who have struggled with life in the cloud have a great opportunity with IAM. Managing the user puts MSPs where they can do the most good for their customers.