Crucial trends shaping the managed services market

Managed services remain healthy and profitable, with great opportunities for growth, including advanced security, automation, and business operations, a SolarWinds report reveals.

managed services trends

MSPs comfortable with security basics

  • For solutions in North America, respondents were most comfortable offering and using antivirus (89%), firewalls (83%), data backup and recovery (81%), and endpoint security (75%).
  • In Europe, respondents were most comfortable offering and using antivirus (93%), data backup and recovery (82%), firewalls (82%), and antispam (80%) as solutions.

However, MSPs have room for growth in some of the more advanced security solutions and offerings, as respondents were less confident in the more complex controls:

  • European and North American respondents selected the same top three solutions they were least comfortable with: biometrics, cloud access security brokers (CASBs), and digital rights management.
  • On the services end, European respondents were least comfortable with penetration testing (52%), auditing and compliance management (39%), and risk assessments (36%). North American respondents were least comfortable with auditing and compliance management (53%), penetration testing (47%), and security system architecture (39%).

MSPs increasing the use of automation

The results also showed MSPs are starting to increase the use of automation to handle day-to-day tasks such as patch management and backup, but don’t feel comfortable with automating the advanced tasks:

  • Automation saves North American MSPs an average of 15.6 full-time employee hours per week and in Europe, an average of 23 full-time employee hours per week.
  • In North America, respondents were least comfortable automating client onboarding (44%) with identity and access management in second place (38%). In Europe, respondents were least comfortable automating SQL query workflows (57%) but shared their discomfort with automating identity and access management with their North American counterparts.

2019 showed an improvement in customer retention

In the 2018 report, MSPs were losing customers almost as fast as they gained them, but 2019 showed an improvement in customer retention. Two of the top three reasons for losing customers stemmed from the customer rather than the service provider:

  • In North America, respondents pick up an average of four clients every three months while losing one in the same period.
  • In Europe, respondents pick up an average of three clients every two months while losing more than one on average in the same period.
  • Top causes of customer loss included the company either went out of business (26% in North America and 16% in Europe) or were fired by the partner (25% in North America and 16% in Europe).

Biggest growth obstacles for MSPs

Another key finding showed core business operations are still amongst the biggest growth obstacles for MSPs including lack of resources/time, sales, and marketing:

  • North American MSPs claimed their biggest obstacles toward growth were sales (43%), lack of resources/time (42%), and marketing (26%).
  • European MSPs claimed their biggest obstacles toward growth were lack of resources/time (41%), sales (32%), and security threats (32%).

Many providers claim a lack of sales and marketing expertise is a major anchor on their growth—hiring specialized staff could help close the gap or training for existing employees.

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Crucial trends shaping the managed services market