Feeding The Need: MSPs And The AI Future
By Gareth Case, Redstor
According to IDC, more than 180 zettabytes of data will be created in 2025. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 180 followed by 21 zeros. Further, the analysts note the global datasphere will more than double from 2022 to 2026; the enterprise realm developing more than twice as fast as the consumer.
MSPs are providing much-needed relief for businesses feeling the pressure of protecting ever-growing data estates. Unfortunately, many backup solutions now in use are unable to effectively scale in tandem. This doesn’t bode well for MSPs hoping to retain customers and attract new ones down the road. In the backup world, without the right solution in place, you might not be able to identify all a company’s data, let alone protect it.
This limitation could well jeopardize an MSP’s ability to take advantage of the rapidly developing space. Grand View Research not only valued the U.S. managed services market at $267.3 billion in 2022, it projects that it will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 13.6% until 2030.
For MSPs that aren’t prepared, that’s a lot of opportunity lost at what could be a future-defining cost. So, it makes sense that powerful, emerging technology would also be needed to bring about success. In this case, as it is in so many other industries today, the answer involves leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
Tagging Prevents Lagging
Modern data protection begins with a smart, cloud-native backup and recovery platform. The cloud can eliminate hardware purchase, installation, and maintenance, immediately improving scalability and speed. It also simplifies management by unifying the protection of cloud infrastructure, SaaS business apps, and on-premises data.
From there, AI-powered platforms can be used to provide ultimate data visibility, highlight areas that are not being protected, and keep up with the faster pace of data that’s being generated. MSPs who embrace these platforms can remove management overhead and protect all data, no matter where it resides.
One way this is accomplished with AI is through data tagging. This is the process of identifying raw data and adding meaningful and informative labels for context so ML models can learn from it. Data tagging enables MSPs and their end users to quickly see how much of their backup data is classified as sensitive or highly sensitive. This then allows them to better manage exposure and control the concentration of sensitive documents, greatly facilitating overall protection.
For example, data labeling can show that over three-quarters of an organization’s most important files are held on just one machine. It could also find that 80% of a company’s most highly sensitive data is in a single user’s Google Workspace account. With an AI-powered platform, MSPs can easily identify vulnerabilities, across all platforms, easily identify vulnerabilities and better manage exposure.
In the same way, this can help customers meet compliance, too, a laborious task that only gets more complex with data growth and file decentralization. For instance, a legal firm may have to hold on to some documents for a set number of years. With an AI-driven platform, they can both protect and quickly find the information they need, when they need it.
Backed by such capabilities, MSPs can offer their customers stronger recommendations, and loyalty-building advice and sell additional services for managing their most sensitive data. Further, processes can be entirely automated, dramatically reducing overhead, while eliminating user input and the likelihood of human error.
Simply put, if an MSP is not using AI and tagging, they’re going to fall further behind competitors as data volume climbs while failing to capitalize on market opportunities for generating revenue at a pivotal time.
Detection Raises Protection
Malware can lay dormant in a file for days, weeks, months, or even years, just waiting for a user to access it and unleash crippling damage. Ransomware – the scourge of data and business uptime – can be dormant for up to 18 months. That’s a lot longer than most retention policies, which are usually set for 90 or 180 days. Whatever the malware, there’s plenty of time for it to get caught up in regular backups, and then when recovery is needed, systems end up getting reinfected. And a lack of usable backups and corrupt data stores is as bad as it gets.
To overcome this, smart backup platforms are using AI to police backups. The technology can identify, isolate, and automatically remove any threats, adding a second layer of protection to ensure malware-free recoveries. This detection protection can be used to support servers, laptops, and any end-point machine. When suspicious files and folders are quarantined, end users have various options. They can leave them in isolation, mark them as safe and return them to the backup set, delete and remove them entirely, and even revert to previous versions that are clean.
This can raise the integrity of an end user’s data because it is encrypted at the source, in transit, and cleaned and protected at rest. It’s also possible to use the technology to check for malware outside your environment and prevent it from coming in and harming internal resources. Additionally, this approach eliminates the need for users to configure and install patches and updates, reducing time, money, human error, and further complications.
Feeding The Need
We’ve heard repeatedly that AI holds the future in so many areas of business and life. Managed services are no exception. AI will make or break prospects in an MSP market that’s going to heat up even more and pay major dividends to the winners.
That said, as surely as data is growing, MSP capabilities must also evolve. Now is the time to embrace AI and ML-driven platforms and become subject matter experts. By doing so, savvy MSPs will be able to offer solutions that can remove management overhead, protect all data sources, and help them realize product-led growth by feeding customers the services they need to succeed.
About The Author
Gareth Case is chief marketing officer for Redstor, the smart, cloud backup platform of choice for MSPs. Built for the cloud and fast to scale, Redstor unifies the protection of cloud infrastructure, SaaS business applications and on-premises data via a single app (RedApp), while delivering market-leading revenue retention, bigger margins, and simple pricing to MSPs. For more information, please visit https://www.redstor.com.