Anticipating Trends: How to be an MSP fortune teller

Dave Sobel

Do you remember the movie “Big”, with Tom Hanks? An 80s classic. Young Josh, played by Hanks, finds a Zoltar machine and makes a wish, becoming an adult. For those of you that don’t know, Zoltar could predict the future, and grant wishes. The machines are now collectable, with new editions actually still being released.

Predicting the future is often fictionalized like this, with the idea that it’s incredibly mysterious, ever changing, and something that mystics are required for. Take a visit to any seaside resort and you’ll see fortune tellers lining the boardwalk, or filling the shops of the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Foretune-TellerAnticipating trends is anything but fortune telling. While often perceived as a mysterious voodoo like fortune telling, anticipating trends is something that can be done reliably and with confidence. Technology may be viewed as ever changing and unpredictable, but in fact, many aspects are entirely predictable.

For example, one can be confident in predicting that systems will be released with faster processors, more memory, and longer battery life. Bandwidth will increase, screen sizes will increase, and technology will become thinner and lighter. In fact, with some straightforward thought, identifying future trends is not a difficult process.

Let’s think specifically about security trends for this year. As indicated by AV test, each year has seen growth in the numbers of new malware. As such, it’s safe to predict that 2015 will be a banner year, far eclipsing previous years. The threats themselves have continued to grow, moving from annoyance to destruction to ransom, and it would be a solid bet to say that this will continue to worsen.

We additionally know that data storage requirements will go up, and we know that data storage costs continue to go down. These are reliable trends.  There will be more data being produced by businesses, and the cost to back that data up will continue to drop. It’s a safe bet that continued attacks will compromise more personal data in the coming months and years. With financial incentive for criminals to collect credit card data for fraud, this will continue to be an on-going problem.

In fact, many trends are something you can confidently rely on and make business decisions around. As clearly seen here, there is a need for security. SMBs require active security management, and a collection of solutions combined into a comprehensive service helps address this. Small companies have a need to help manage the outbreaks of malware, to ensure their data is protected, to help prevent them from phishing attacks, and to help prevent data loss. A comprehensive, layered approach to security that is ongoing has long been established as the proper way to do security management.

MSPs that then layer on consulting, bringing their advice and insight into risk management, are most successful in delivering this kind of service. Helping SMBs understand risk, policy management, and the laws and regulations that govern their industries, is highly valuable and helps these businesses address their needs and remain protected.

Identifying trends is simply a matter of pattern matching, and taking advantage of those trends involves identifying the solution to address the need. This process is a discipline, not anything requiring witchcraft or sorcery.  While Zoltar may have made big changes to young Josh, he certainly isn’t required to find solutions to business problems.

Do you have any predictions for future trends in the industry? Just leave a comment below!