MSP operational risk mitigation strategies in 2024: Defeat technician burnout

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud
for service providers

By Allison Ho, Acronis Content Marketing Creator

The MSP industry faces mounting pressure to adequately protect clients against pervasive cyberthreats while also maintaining profitability. A career as an MSP technician is both gratifying and rewarding, but the role is met with fast-paced and demanding responsibilities. For instance, a single technician can be assigned to secure anywhere from a handful of clients to hundreds, and this stress is leading a growing number of technicians to experience burnout.

Raising the stakes, malware continues to increase in complexity, making it more difficult to detect and triage. If a client were compromised, a diversion in operations could cost an MSP valuable business and delay the completion of focal tasks. The way MSP technicians utilize their time is more crucial now than ever and has a significant impact on operational risk mitigation for MSPs in 2024.

In this article, we uncover the top reasons MSP technicians experience burnout, the role of modern endpoint management solutions in improving efficiency, and the Acronis solution for optimizing MSP business operations.

4 things that threaten MSP operations and cause technician burnout

1. Open vulnerabilities

Cyberattacks can quickly derail your business operations and divert technicians away from completing core objectives. Open vulnerabilities are a constant liability in your clients’ systems. If they remain unpatched, they serve as a gateway for cybercriminals to introduce malware and can cause unwanted downtime. Keeping your clients’ systems up to date is pivotal to proactively preventing the exploitation of vulnerabilities. Applying patches greatly minimizes your clients’ cyber risk, while at the same time mitigating your business’s operational risk.

2. Mundane and repetitive tasks

The majority of MSPs grapple with talent shortages and an IT skills gap. It’s an ongoing challenge to ensure the most highly skilled and specialized technicians are available to focus on the most critical issues. With so many clients to manage, a typical MSP technician's line of work likely includes mundane and repetitive tasks; for instance, applying patches one laptop at a time to clusters of endpoint devices or configuring software settings one workstation at a time for a large group of users.

On a daily basis, completing these tasks manually is both labor intensive and time consuming. In addition to being tedious, these small and repetitive actions overburden technicians, averting them from solving the more intricate problems that require greater attention — contributing to staff burnout and high turnover rates.

3. Time-consuming incident response efforts

As your client base expands, the ability to successfully monitor endpoints and data becomes a growing frustration for technicians — especially if you’re resource constrained. Failure to recognize anomalies that could be a sign of an attack are usually due to weak defenses, including poor threat scanning and detection. If successful, a cyberattack can cause debilitating data loss and unplanned downtime for clients. When your clients are under attack, your technicians respond piecemeal to malware that can disrupt operations and restrict your business’s profitability.

4. Overwhelming alert volumes

The challenge to maintain visibility is evident as technicians oversee more machines and workstations over time. In a sea of clients, it won’t always be obvious when unusual activities stray outside of the norm. As a result, the average MSP adopts multiple disparate tools to manage and monitor their clients’ infrastructure. With a growing and cumbersome technology stack, the alerts generated from workloads can become burdensome to technicians that contribute to ongoing alert fatigue and lead to burnout. Additionally, technicians may overlook significant events causing more harm to business continuity.

The role of modern endpoint management solutions in risk management for MSPs

Modern endpoint management solutions enable MSP technicians to be exponentially more efficient by automating the time-consuming tasks that would otherwise overload their plate. For example, these solutions can empower a single technician to take on more workloads, devices and clients to their account without overstrain.

How MSPs can mitigate operational risk and boost efficiency and profitability with Acronis Advanced Management

Acronis Advanced Management is a modern endpoint management solution that helps MSPs reduce operational risk. By leveraging automation, integration and machine learning, Advanced Management empowers MSPs to schedule and automate specific functions and augment efficiency.

Because technicians are empowered to complete objectives faster and achieve improved workflows, the solution allows you to capitalize on new strategic opportunities. Whether that’s scaling your business, adopting competitive pricing or a hybrid of both, achieving improved productivity eliminates your need to hire additional talent — saving time and fostering stronger profit margins.

Notably, Advanced Management solves the three factors contributing to MSP operational risk today: open vulnerabilities, time-consuming tasks and lack of visibility.

The key capabilities of Advanced Management that help reduce MSP operational risk, include:

Automated patch management

Automated patch management keeps your clients' systems up to date by proactively closing security gaps. Acronis’ automated patch management helps MSP technicians roll out patches seamlessly and quickly address software issues before cybercriminals have an opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities. As a result, automated patch management reduces your clients’ risk of cyberattacks introduced by vulnerabilities and ensures your technicians focus higher-priority projects.

Cyber Scripting

One of the game-changing advantages of Cyber Scripting is that it saves your MSP valuable time and allows you to scale the business by maximizing your MSP efficiency. Scripts allow technicians to perform specific functions at a scheduled time. They can create and tailor scripts to automate and perform repetitive tasks to improve efficiency, enhance speed and reduce the risk of human-induced errors. Cyber Scripting is a versatile tool with multiple use cases within the realm of cybersecurity. Use cases include seamlessly deploying patches, accelerating incident response activities and configuring systems. It helps technicians simplify, expedite and streamline any changes they want to implement across a mass of workstations or clients.

For example, a technician can create and run a script to ensure a group of endpoints downloads the latest version of Google Chrome upon computers logging on. The technician can also tailor scripts to include important specifications such as trusting a particular verified site or using a given repository. Cyber scripts are customizable and allow technicians to delegate a series of instructions to computers.

In another use case, Cyber Scripting can work in conjunction with EDR. Technicians that respond to EDR alerts can create custom scripts to facilitate further detection and identify ongoing malware on other affected systems. They can also tailor additional remediation-focused scripts to eradicate discovered active threats. Cyber Scripting helps MSPs be far more responsive and faster in cyber incidents.

Acronis offers a library of recommended scripts curated by cybersecurity evangelists to ensure partners have a foundation to the solve common challenges they most likely encounter.

ML-based monitoring and smart alerting

Predictive monitoring gives MSPs visibility into hardware, software, services, processes and critical events. On a technical level, predictive monitoring uses machine learning to understand normal patterns of activity on devices, servers and systems. Its capabilities track data points and recognize activity that deviates from the norm. These data outliers are based on how a machine is running; for example, a rise in the machine’s temperature when under normal working conditions or an increase in laptop usage at odd hours of the night. Through learning typical activity patterns, predictive monitoring is able to pinpoint unusual activity, predict next steps technicians should take based on data, and generate an alert.

What does this mean for your MSP? Intelligent monitoring is key to proactively managing and upkeeping client workloads. It takes several years for the average technician to become adept at deciphering alerts and develop critical decision-making acumen. Whether alerts can auto-resolve or demand manual intervention depends on an array of factors.

Acronis’ predictive monitoring and smart alerting leverages ML-led anomaly detection to help close technician skills gaps. By dynamically fine-tuning the alert threshold, the solution provides greater accuracy and ensures only critical alerts are triggered. This automation reduces the number of noncritical alerts and allows your technicians to shift focus on high-priority tasks.

Final thoughts

When your clients’ systems are secure, cybercriminals are less likely to invest extensive resources toward penetrating security layers. They will likely move on to ill-equipped targets that lack critical defenses. Acronis Advanced Management better protects your clients against sophisticated attacks and helps your clients avoid cyberattacks all together. By broadening each technician's bandwidth, your MSP saves time, bolstering efficiency and ensuring security gaps are closed.

Advanced Management frees up MSP technicians from mundane tasks to ensure their readiness to troubleshoot pressing issues. This gives your business wiggle room to make strategic business decisions such as scaling your business, implementing competitive pricing strategies and attracting new leads. And, despite today’s talent shortages, your MSP business is free to maximize growth opportunities, help level the playing field against competition and win competitive advantage.

Allison Ho
Content Marketing Creator, Cybersecurity
Allison Ho is Content Marketing Creator at Acronis. She develops content on cybersecurity, data protection, artificial intelligence and endpoint management while closely collaborating with thought leaders. Her technology B2B marketing experience includes expertise in SEO.

About Acronis

A Swiss company founded in Singapore in 2003, Acronis has 15 offices worldwide and employees in 50+ countries. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is available in 26 languages in 150 countries and is used by over 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.