2021: The Opportunities Ahead

Author: Robert Petrocelli, CTO, Datto

There’s no doubt that 2020 was a year filled with unexpected hurdles for businesses and individuals alike. The most visible of these challenges was the global pandemic, which impacted how and where work could happen. The result was an overall increase in reliance on MSPs by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), many of whom had to alter day-to-day business operations rapidly.

At Datto, we saw our partners jump into action, evolve quickly, and help their end users do the same to address these new challenges. MSPs became part of an essential workforce that not only learned to thrive in 2020 but also set the foundation for entirely new possibilities in 2021.

Looking forward to the new year I predict two major evolutions will continue and reveal new opportunities. Those possibilities fall into 2 major categories: Remote work and Hybrid Cloud.

Remote work is here to stay

Datto has always had a very strong office work-culture. The advent of COVID brought a huge unplanned stress test upon Datto and many of our systems. Our teams quickly made the transition to remote work, and since that time, we’ve learned quite a few lessons:

  • Most of our teams are highly effective in working remotely.
  • Working remotely for months on end can be isolating, and extra care is essential to retain culture and remain connected.
  • There is an increased interest in blending remote work and in-person meetings in the future, entering a post-COVID world.

This leads to my first prediction for 2021.

Prediction: Post-COVID, more than 50% of hours worked will be remote in many industries. Workers will begin to view the “office” as part of their benefits package, and drop-in meetings and workspaces will become more popular.

Opportunity: Home networking providers have never considered the needs of remote workers. SMBs should plan on allocating funds comparable to per person office space providers (starting at $300/person in the US) to provide business-grade security and connectivity to employee home office. This translates to multi-device access, cloud based next-generation firewall and security services, and traffic prioritization for business applications, creating a new and evolved space for home networking providers. It also creates potential opportunities for MSPs, as the number of devices they have to manage remotely may continue to increase in this new environment.

Hybrid services will command a larger premium

More application infrastructure will move to the public cloud and be managed by MSPs. This shift has the potential to reduce truck-rolls and create a hybrid infrastructure tax. In addition, MSPs will want to increase their investment in training and professional development for technicians managing on-prem and in-cloud systems. Reducing the complexity of hybrid service delivery with a single toolset provides needed operating leverage for our people.

Prediction: MSP migration of legacy systems to cloud infrastructure will accelerate.

Opportunity: Cloud has the same continuity challenges as on-prem. In many ways, the ecosystem is less mature, and several end-users require guidance from MSPs on cloud migration and security. Continuity services designed for a seamless hybrid operation will provide a better investment return for both MSPs and their clients.

As we head into 2021, MSPs, their vendors, and the end users, are coming out of one of the most challenging years we’ve faced recently. However, there are opportunities ahead, and here at Datto, we’ll be facing the challenges and the possibilities together with our partners as the channel continues to grow and evolve. Learn more about how partnering with Datto can help prepare you for the opportunities at hand.


Author Bob Petrocelli is chief technology officer at Datto. Read more guest blogs from Datto here.

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