Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have resisted business pressures to lay off staff despite declining revenues and economic uncertainty during the COVID pandemic. Eight out of 10 MSPs said they did not lay off staff and those that did expect to rehire within six months, according to an Altaro survey.

Altaro Software, developer of robust backup solutions to address the core data protection needs of businesses and organisations worldwide, conducted the survey to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on managed service providers (MSPs) and their response to the pandemic.

The findings reveal an MSP industry that continues to evolve and adapt while identifying opportunities to boost revenue and business performance.

Although one-third of MSPs said they faced losses of up to 50% in the first half of 2020, 21% reported revenues increase of up to 25%, while 21% saw no change in revenues.

Despite a tough start to the first half of the year, not all is doom and gloom. More than two-thirds expect a better showing in the coming months compared to pre-COVID levels.

Nearly 40% of MSPs stated that in terms of revenue in the coming six months, business performance was expected to stay the same, while 28% expected performance to improve by up to 40%. Of those MSPs who expected business performance to decline (27%), 6 out of 10 said they expected the drop to be between 21-40%.

Stephen Chetcuti Bonavita from Altaro said that MSPs continue to show amazing resilience in the face of economic pressures and uncertainty. The demand for IT services continues to grow, especially for backup, and MSPs are making the most of these new opportunities. Challenges remain and their concerns are very real, however, their ability to adapt means the future looks good.

75% see remote working as best revenue-generator

The surge in requests for IT services by businesses worldwide has created new business opportunities that may help offset some of the losses incurred in H1 2020.

As work-from-home becomes the norm for many companies, contributing to an increase in Cloud and IT services, a window of opportunity opened up for MSPs. They responded by expanding their services and product offerings to meet this increased demand.

More than 75% said remote working is the best revenue-generating opportunity, followed by Cloud computing (61%) and security as a service (38%).

However, the new revenue generating opportunities alone are not enough.

66% plan to expand product offering / services

The majority of MSPs who said they have a post-COVID recovery plan intend to expand their product offering or services (66%), improve their services (56%) or expand their marketing segment (48%).

Nearly one-third of MSPs do not know when they will return to a pre-COVID level of operation, though 29% are confident they will do so by the end of the year. In addition to the unknown economic landscape, lack of business, cybersecurity threats, time management, hiring and changing technologies are the top issues that are of concern to MSPs.