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MSP (Managed Service Provider) Burnout is more than just the average IT burnout. Both owners and employees are feeling the burn according to many posts made on Reddit. Luckily the MSP community is ready with plenty of solid MSP Burnout advice from experienced IT stalwarts.
MSP Burnout Advice for Owners
Consolidate – u/TheCaptain53/
Look at your product portfolio and start rating your offerings based on how much support resource it requires and separately how profitable it is. I would be inclined to weigh the low support requirements more as these have a better ability to scale up.
Next, determine your niche and market offering. Are you an MSP for large enterprises, or small businesses? Do you mainly provide managed services for companies on the 50-200 end user size? The technology and support requirements for a small business and large enterprise are vastly different. If you’re good at managing medium-sized businesses, stick with what you know. Managing a diverse range of client types makes keeping your technology stack consistently far more difficult.
Is there anyone you can start delegating some of your duties to? Get them to start fielding vendor calls, and running the day-to-day. You should be strategizing for the company, not running it.
Keep It Simple – u/archiekane/
A lot of it is oversell. Many smaller companies could live with a very simple install and file share solution, they don’t need all the bells and whistles. Security companies will all say “You have to have this” but if you have basic but regular patch management and endpoint protection you’ve probably fulfilled most of your contractual obligation on the security front. Obviously protected backups are the real MVP in our game and your restoration to usability time for the client.
Let’s get back to simple which works for most businesses. If you’re a small MSP I’d limit what you cover to stop over-stretch of your staff. M365 is horrifically large now, Azure too. It changes daily. Who needs all these damned features anyway?
Set a Security Baseline – u/EleventeenCandles/
We have a mandatory security baseline that every client must adhere to. Clients who refuse don’t become clients. When we update our baselines, clients get 12-18 months on remediations, then we start talking about nonrenewal.
Strangely enough (or not), this has lead to acquiring MORE clients. Business owners talk to each other, and the smart ones are also worried about their cybersecurity. We developed a reputation for being deadly serious about security, and that brought those worried owners right to our doorstep.
Bonus: Check out u/Eleventeen Candles’ Customer Security Baseline
Focus on Business Needs, Not New Toys – u/TexRob
I think a big part of it is how everchanging our industry is, and it’s always accelerating. The pace of change is fast, which is fun, but at a point, it’s like the clients are driving the change instead of a business need, and it just becomes unpredictable, and we’re constantly getting thrown into new weird scenarios and are expected to make them work without any issues the first time. I’m good at all the stuff I mention, but it’s draining. Between MSPs being a dumping ground for companies who can’t manage to keep IT staff due to caustic behavior, the lower than you’d think salaries, and the increasing demands on us.
Cybersecurity Needs to Be Managed Like a Business Risk – u/RaNdomMSPPro/
Client: “You are not doing enough for my CyberSecurity”.
MSP: “That is because you are not paying me enough to expect adequate cybersecurity. Now that you are understanding your risks, perhaps we can discuss ways to reduce those risks?”
Throwing another “box” at it isn’t the answer. 50% or more of cyber is on the business – their humans, their partners’ humans, their policies and procedures, how they manage risk, etc. Sounds like the client thinks cybersecurity is an IT problem and isn’t accepting that cyber security is a business risk and must be managed by the business.
Prioritize Your Own Wellbeing – u/mavantix/
I changed one thing, and I’m happy now: I DON’T GIVE A F*** ANYMORE.
Sure, I still take care of our clients. But I make sure it’s worth it. I fired every s****y one, and if one turns s****y, they’re gone. It’s about me, my family, and my guys now. I paid off all of our debts, bought luxury cars, and a second home, and have expensive hobbies. It’s my money, my life, my happiness, and my journey. I take days and long weekends and vacation at our beach house. F*** them. I even took my health seriously, got checked up, started eating better, I’m more fit, and I feel f******* great!
…and you know what happened to the business? We’re more successful and less stressed.
MSP Burnout Advice for Employees
Think Big Picture – u/peterpotamux/
This is one step in your career. There’s no job that can be considered forever but you shall keep it as far as you’re getting a reward from it: it can be learning, experience, stability, pay, … whatever you need at that moment in time.
So my general recommendation is that you take the positive sides of each job and once you are ready to go the next stage, change. But do not waste your time, all jobs even bad ones have some positive side you shall get from it while still there.
Don’t get frustrated, think long-term and build your step-by-step plan that you will re-assess as things come, but do NOT deviate your sight from your objective & path to get to that destination can change in time.
Focus on How Much You are Learning – u/rameshnat/
Threat hunting in SIEM systems is not glamorous but can teach you a lot about application security as well as network security. If the SIEM deployment you work on pulls in end point data, you can learn about those events, the ones that are false positives, and build a rich database of knowledge about threat hunting allowing you to move into Cyber Threat Analysis to MSSPs or Incident Response line of work. There is no doubt that cyber security is a worthy long-term career. The real question is whether you are interested in this area. From your comments, it looks like to may want to get into DevOps in public cloud providers like AWS or Azure. You may want to go and get certified in these cloud technologies before you make a move.
Communicate Your Feelings – u/thebiztechguy/
Employee satisfaction is a relationship, not a 1-way street. Employers need to create an environment that incorporates such conversations as a strategically important part of their growth strategy and employees need to participate.
If you haven’t communicated your frustrations, then you should. Hopefully, your burnout is not past the point of no return. Even if it is, you should communicate why it is you got burned and suggest improvements as part of your exit.
If you are truly burnt out, leave before it gets worse as burnout is something you will take with you.
If you are approaching burnout, have the talk and see if you can avoid it.
Pursue Something New – u/Lunargrave/
I feel always the best choice in this burnout is to pursue something new. Whether that be taking up a specialty like networking or security or getting out of the field. There are plenty of jobs where you can flex your MSP and IT experience and shift into IT auditing.
Give Yourself Time to Recover – u/AzaleaInIT/
The thing to remember is that burnout doesn’t go away all at once. It’s been 7 months since I escaped from my last bad job situation and I’m just now getting to the point where I enjoy what I’m doing. You went through a really stressful time, give yourself some time to recover.
Lumu’s MSP Burnout Advice
Cybersecurity is a major driver of MSP Burnout. Here’s Lumu’s take on how cybersecurity can be used to fight fire with fire.