Business resilience for MSPs
The concept of business continuity plans has been around since the 1970s. It was developed as a means to minimize technical and operational difficulties after a hazard.
Illustration: Karthikeyan Ganesh
It’s a process where a business develops a set of practices that facilitate its recovery from any kind of disaster. But over the years, the concept has been reduced to little more than a buzzword. It, however, changed with the advent of COVID.
A new perspective
The pandemic was a wake-up call for all businesses. More than 97,000 businesses across the U.S were forced to shut down. It changed things for the IT industry as well. It changed the way certain aspects of the business are perceived. One of these key aspects is business continuity. Business continuity to most IT companies just meant some documentation, failover servers, backup servers, and products that can recover the backup.
But these measures are not enough. With COVID, the IT industry realized that business continuity means a whole lot more. It’s not just backup and access to data anymore. It has more to do with how resilient your business is in the face of any adversity.
But how good is that business continuity strategy with something like COVID? You know, where it doesn't matter. It's not like the network's down, but you can't access your business.
What is business resilience?
Business resilience is the ability of a business to adapt according to the disaster, external or internal. It’s about how you can stay in the business.
Business resilience is figuring out how you can be efficient, how accessible your employees are, how you should go about setting up remote work environments in preparation for less than favorable circumstances.
Business resilience is a discipline that allows you to approach unprecedented situations. It requires you to ask yourself important questions as a business owner. With the COVID situation, IT businesses had to rely on different kinds of technologies to keep their operations running. For starters, everyone is on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other similar applications.
Organizations that don’t have a secure file share and sync system were required to adopt solutions like Microsoft Azure. Organizations that don’t have an SD LAN solution in place have been choking out their VPN. At the end of the day, no single technology can provide all these solutions, and organizations must adapt to new technologies to survive.
New opportunities for MSPs
The current pandemic situation provides MSPs with an opportunity to leverage business continuity plans and approach other businesses and say, “I am here to help you be resilient, help you be productive, regardless of what can happen.” Organizations need more robust, secure solutions and MSPs can provide them with that.
Moreover, MSPs can help organizations strategize for unprecedented scenarios and achieve their ideal business outcomes. MSPs can create a technology roadmap based on their clients’ goals and integrate business resilience into the strategy.
With small businesses, MSPs can put their client’s technology needs on autopilot by managing everything. MSPs should transition into trusted advisors for their clients.
With larger businesses or more IT-focused businesses, the MSP and the client can develop a co-pilot dynamic where they strategize the IT roadmap together and create a resilient plan. This allows MSPs to be creative about how they push forward businesses and help them come back bigger and better.
Going about business resilience
For starters, MSPs need to make sure everything’s integrated. It is important that all your applications talk to each other seamlessly. It is also important to identify and prioritize your resources. For example, you can lower your footprint from the commercial real estate perspective and reinvest that money into hiring new sales and marketing talents. Now more than ever, MSPs need people that can help them navigate through difficult times.
With COVID nullifying the obligation of a physical workspace, MSPs need to ask themselves if it’s resilient to invest in commercial real estate or if they should go fully remote. MSPs need to define their business continuity plans and review them every year to make sure they still meet the requirements. It’s also important to have in place an operations management department that enables constant readiness for future scenarios.
I define operations as the mother of everything because it doesn’t just give you an idea of how you should do things but it gives you an idea of ‘am I doing this right?'
Co-founder, and COO at T-Consulting
All things considered
Resilience is one of the most important elements behind an MSP’s success. It requires a business to have an open mind. It’s no longer enough to come up with a business continuity plan and call it a day.
Business resilience should be integrated into an MSP’s processes. It should be an underlying aspect behind every significant business decision. Doing so will prepare you to face any inconvenience, and your organization will be truly future-proof.