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Big data challenge for MSPs

The battle to manage big data is well advanced, and is affecting even the SMB customers of managed services companies, Nadia Karatsoreos, community manager at MAXfocus told the Managed Services and Hosting Summit. Some 23 Exabytes of data were created in the whole of 2002 – this is now produced in a single week in 2015.

Data has become more of a thing in the SMB market. The ever-growing volume of data is coming from email and messaging (chart below)- followed by CRM-type data. Email has always been a concern - these are all things that need to be collected, and need to be managed, made secure and viewed in an analytical way. video

In the SMB sector, about 20% of smaller firms, and 50% of medium-sized businesses use business intelligence, so how do we differentiate between the types of data and analytics? First, there is basic descriptive elements, these tell you how things are going, then there is predictive, which reports how things will turn out, and finally prescriptive, which looks at actions to be taken.

As an example, we can see that perhaps 100 mid-sized customers bought a product last year – this is descriptive; we think 10% of them will grow by 20% in the next year (predictive) and finally that customer A is up for renewal and is doing well, so that is a prescriptive mode.

Social media via the web is raising fast and needs to be looked at in any review of big data. But the quantities of information are vast and increasing. Machine learning is going to allow MSPs to look at this data and be not just passive, but pro-active in understanding what the customer problems are going to be and coming up with a solution before any problem hits.

MAXfocus' newly-launched LOGICcards will use data from 15000 MSPs to predict issues. Future directions for this will give MSPs not just warnings on likely server and hardware failure, but apps as well, she says. This is the future of managed services, and preventative and prescriptive methods will be available.