Back in 2014, security vendor Proofpoint uncovered a hacking event that resulted in three quarters of a million malicious emails being sent out.
“So what’s new?” we hear you ask, and it’s a valid question. After all, millions of spam emails flow around the public Internet every day. Well, this event was rather different: over a quarter of the malicious emails weren’t sent out from PCs or laptops. They weren’t sent out from mobile devices either.
They were sent out from everything from smart TVs to routers. Some were even sent out using a “smart” refrigerator.
With more and more household items now connected to the Internet, there are increasing numbers of devices for hackers to target and compromise. As we approach the era of the “Internet of Things,” this number of target items will explode exponentially.
With many of these items being consumer devices – everything from the aforementioned smart refrigerators to Internet-connected watches and Google Glass, it’s reasonable to surmise that we are approaching a time when home technology users are going to need additional advice and support.
On that basis, the key question to ask is whether you think it’s a good idea for your MSP business to provide it to them?
The downsides of home user support
Plenty of IT support providers turn their noses up at providing support to “domestic” customers. Often, this attitude is born of having done so in the past with frustrating results.
Obviously home users only have so much to spend, so it has made good sense to concentrate on more lucrative business customers. However, now more and more connected technology is arriving in the home, it’s perhaps worth revisiting the age-old dilemma of whether supporting home users is worthwhile.
Some things to think about
Here are a few things to consider, as you think through whether home user support is a good thing to add to your MSP service portfolio.
Home networks are becoming more complex
Gone are the days when a typical home network comprised a router, a PC and a laptop. Now, the kids and adults alike all have smartphones, tablets, games consoles and set-top boxes to think about. It’s not just connecting these to the network that people need to think about either.
Families typically want to share music, stream content using AirPlay and other technologies, and think about parental controls. This is all an awful lot for technophobes to handle.
People “carry their lives” in their mobile devices
For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that you’ve switched smartphone or tablet in the last couple of years, or done so for one or more clients.
It’s a surprisingly big job, isn’t it? Getting all the contacts and calendars in the right place, synchronizing email, saving app settings and (often most importantly) making sure nobody loses their progress on Candy Crush! Migrating to a new smartphone is now often as time-consuming as migrating to a new PC, regardless of how easy Google and Apple claim it should be.
Plenty of domestic users would rather not get involved, and would prefer to pay someone to do it.
Security and privacy concerns are at an all-time high
Thanks to all the recent privacy scandals, many people’s trust in technology is at an unprecedented low. People need reassurance, and they need technical experts to give it to them. That’s where you come in.
Providing home user support is never going to replace the revenue potential of signing up a big corporate client, but there seems to be an increasing need for it. If you’ve stepped away from it before, perhaps it’s time to at least glance back, and consider whether it’s worth offering it again.