By ECI | Tuesday, June 06, 2023
Our blog posts have covered a wide range of organizational priorities around security, compliance, IT cost savings, efficiency and more. In each case, we illustrate how the right MSP can help advance these priorities. In these instances, the “right” MSP is someone who offers the breadth of services and depth of expertise to deliver positive business outcomes, regardless of the circumstances.
Unfortunately, such levels of service have not always been the norm for MSPs, and many providers today still fall short of this goal of wide coverage and deep expertise on behalf of clients. But that’s exactly what an organization should expect from a modern MSP partner.
The Evolving Role of MSPs
The first thing to understand about MSPs is that the definition and expectations of a Managed Service Provider have shifted over time. In the past, financial firms simply offloaded their IT infrastructure to an MSP provider and stopped paying attention. This “out of sight, out of mind” perspective afforded no visibility into exactly what the MSP was doing or how it was doing it – creating a downward spiral where IT problems would happen more often, more unexpectedly and with less insight into their cause or how to fix them.
Fast forward to today and simply keeping the lights on is no longer enough in an era of escalating cyber threats and increasingly complex IT systems – all while organizations contend with unprecedented competitive pressures and regulatory scrutiny. Against this backdrop, a limited approach of uncoordinated point solutions not only perpetuates risk, but also keeps organizations from fully realizing the benefits of new cloud-based technologies like edge computing, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.
That’s why the definition of an MSP is shifting. Clients should expect today’s MSP to serve as a strategic partner to not only run, but also optimize operations for optimal returns on technology investments. In that sense, the modern MSP is a partner not just to the client IT director, but also the COO, CFO, Chief Risk Officer, business-focused CTOs and other C-suite leaders – helping interpret and strengthen the connection between IT and the entire business operation for a more secure, compliant and efficient operation.
How a Modern MSP Drives Value
The modern MSP is one that can go “beyond lights on” to manage a wider range of IT services and functions, and do so in a holistic and strategic manner. As a foundation for all its activities, the optimal MSP will have a mastery of both cybersecurity and data management down to the most granular levels of the IT operation.
On the data front, a modern MSP should be able to gain total visibility and control of data – including where it resides, who has access to it, when it’s being shared and how sensitive or mission-critical the data may be. On the cybersecurity front, every service an MSP offers should have security baked in from the beginning, with adaptive and layered security that protects data while ensuring high levels of compliance and system uptime.
Alternative investment firms will want to ensure the MSP knows how to do all these things specifically within the uniquely demanding financial sector. The best MSPs embrace a cloud-based approach to secure the organization according to its specific risk profile. Look for a partner that understands the biggest security threats to the vertical (such as ransomware and business email compromise) as well as the highly specific regulatory strictures from the SEC, FINRA and other financial regulators.
Finally, and critically, the modern MSP should be able to serve as a control center that aligns and optimizes all a client’s IT vendor relationships. After all, each vendor relationship is an investment, and the modern MSP help can manage and align all those investments for maximum ROI. The benefits include simplified operations and reduced total cost of IT ownership from a partner that gives you a single source of truth and single point of accountability for security, compliance and value across your entire IT operation.
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