Toughest Challenges for MSPs in 2024 (And How to Solve Them)

By |Published On: April 18th, 2024|

The year 2024 brings forth a multitude of challenges for MSPs as the industry continues to evolve. MSPs find themselves grappling with an array of intricate challenges that span operational, financial, technological, and client-centric domains. From the struggle to recruit and retain top-tier MSP talent in a fiercely competitive market to the intricate regulatory compliance, they need to be ready to overcome certain hurdles to deliver exceptional services.

That’s why, in this article, we’ll not only be exploring the toughest challenges facing MSPs, but also the practical solutions for them. We’ll delve into operational bottlenecks like MSP staffing and SLA management, financial constraints such as pricing pressure and margin erosion, technological dilemmas including infrastructure complexity and cybersecurity threats, and client relationship challenges like onboarding/offboarding processes and service customization – and more.

Evolution of MSP Challenges in 2020s

According to our recent trends report, MSPs are navigating through an era of rapid technological evolution, marked by advancements such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT). While these technologies offer opportunities to enhance service delivery and efficiency, MSPs must continuously update their skills and infrastructure to stay abreast of the latest trends and remain competitive in the market.

On top of that, the demand for skilled IT professionals continues to outstrip supply, posing a significant challenge in MSP recruitment and retaining top talent. MSPs must invest in talent development programs and create an attractive work environment to attract and retain skilled professionals who can deliver high-quality services to clients.

MSPs also continue to face the challenge of navigating a complex regulatory system, with regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and others imposing stringent requirements on data privacy and security. Compliance with these regulations requires MSPs to implement appropriate measures and processes to safeguard client data and mitigate regulatory risks.

And, finally, the MSP market is becoming increasingly crowded, with new entrants and established players vying for market share. To stand out, MSPs must differentiate their offerings, showcase their expertise, and deliver value-added services that address the unique needs of their target market segments.

Operational MSP Challenges


The scarcity of qualified professionals in the IT industry, coupled with the increasing demand for specialized skills, exacerbates the difficulty of recruiting and retaining MSP talent. Teams often struggle to find individuals with the right combination of technical expertise, customer service skills, and industry knowledge to effectively manage and support their clients’ IT environments.

To address MSP staffing challenges effectively, MSPs can implement a range of solutions:

    • Invest in Training and Development: Allocate resources to provide ongoing training and professional development opportunities for existing staff members. Offer access to online courses, certification programs, and workshops to help employees enhance their skills and stay abreast of industry trends.
    • Develop Talent Pipeline: Establish partnerships with educational institutions, vocational schools, and industry organizations to attract and nurture young talent. Offer internship programs, apprenticeships, or mentorship opportunities to provide hands-on experience and cultivate the next generation of IT professionals.
    • Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits: For strong talent management, provide competitive salary packages, performance-based incentives, and comprehensive benefits to attract and retain top talent. Offer perks such as flexible work arrangements, remote work options, and professional development allowances to enhance employee satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Work with a Specialized MSP Staffing Agency: Consider looking for an expert MSP recruitment team like Scaled that will handle the entire hiring process for you from start to finish. They will carefully assess your IT staff needs, develop a meticulous recruitment strategy, perform candidate sourcing and screening, and cherry-pick the best fits. Additionally, they will assist you in MSP talent onboarding and integration into your team.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) Management

One of the primary challenges MSPs face is defining SLAs that accurately reflect the scope of services, performance metrics, and service level targets agreed upon with clients. Unclear or ambiguous SLAs can lead to misunderstandings, disputes, and dissatisfaction among clients, ultimately damaging the MSP’s reputation and client relationships.

Furthermore, monitoring and enforcing SLAs require robust systems and processes to track service performance, measure key performance indicators (KPIs), and identify areas for improvement.

To address SLA management challenges effectively, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Define Clear and Measurable SLAs: Work closely with clients to establish clear, measurable, and achievable SLAs that align with their business objectives and service requirements. Clearly outline service level targets, response times, resolution times, and escalation procedures to set realistic expectations and minimize misunderstandings.
  • Implement Monitoring and Reporting Tools: Deploy monitoring tools, performance dashboards, and reporting mechanisms to track service performance, measure KPIs, and generate SLA compliance reports. Use automated alerts and notifications to proactively identify service issues, mitigate risks, and ensure timely resolution of client issues.
  • Streamline Workflows and Processes: Standardize service delivery processes, workflows, and escalation procedures to streamline SLA management and ensure consistency across client engagements. Leverage automation tools and ticketing systems to automate repetitive tasks, prioritize service requests, and expedite issue resolution.
  • Regular SLA Reviews and Client Communication: Conduct regular reviews of SLAs with clients to evaluate performance, address issues, and identify opportunities for improvement. Maintain open lines of communication with clients to discuss SLA performance, review service metrics, and address any concerns or feedback promptly.

Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

One of the primary challenges MSPs face is staying informed and updated on the latest regulatory requirements relevant to their business and clients. The sheer volume and complexity of regulatory changes can overwhelm MSPs, making it difficult to keep track of new laws, amendments, and enforcement actions that may impact their operations.

To address compliance challenges effectively, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Stay Informed and Updated: Establish processes for continuous monitoring of regulatory updates, industry developments, and best practices relevant to the MSP industry. Subscribe to regulatory newsletters, participate in industry forums, and engage with legal and compliance experts to stay abreast of changes and developments in the regulatory landscape.
  • Implement Robust Security Measures: Adopt a risk-based approach to cybersecurity and data protection, focusing on implementing robust security measures, encryption protocols, access controls, and incident response procedures to protect client data from unauthorized access, disclosure, or misuse. Conduct regular security assessments, penetration tests, and vulnerability scans to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities proactively.
  • Adopt Compliance Frameworks: Leverage industry-standard compliance frameworks such as NIST, ISO 27001, or SOC 2 to guide compliance efforts and demonstrate adherence to regulatory requirements. Develop and implement policies, procedures, and controls aligned with these frameworks to establish a strong compliance posture and ensure consistency in compliance practices across the organization.
  • Conduct Regular Compliance Audits: Conduct periodic compliance audits and assessments to evaluate adherence to regulatory requirements, identify gaps or deficiencies in compliance controls, and prioritize remediation efforts. Engage third-party auditors or compliance experts to perform independent audits and provide objective feedback on compliance status and performance.

Financial MSP Challenges

Pricing Pressure and Margin Erosion

Financial challenges such as pricing pressure and margin erosion are prevalent concerns for MSPs, impacting profitability and sustainability. MSPs often face intense competition in the market, leading to downward pressure on prices as clients seek cost-effective solutions. This, coupled with the commoditization of certain IT services, can erode profit margins and hinder long-term growth prospects for MSPs.

To address pricing pressure and margin erosion effectively, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Value-Based Pricing: Shift focus from price competition to value-based pricing, where the pricing reflects the unique value proposition and benefits delivered to clients. Highlight the tangible outcomes, cost savings, and strategic advantages that clients gain from partnering with the MSP, emphasizing the value of the services provided.
  • Differentiation and Specialization: Differentiate offerings by specializing in niche markets or verticals where the MSP can provide specialized expertise and tailored solutions. Position the MSP as a trusted advisor and strategic partner, offering innovative services and customized solutions that address clients’ specific needs and challenges.
  • Bundle Services and Add-Ons: Package services into comprehensive bundles or add-on offerings that provide additional value to clients and justify higher price points. Include value-added services such as cybersecurity, data analytics, or strategic consulting as part of the service portfolio to enhance the overall value proposition and differentiate from competitors.
  • Operational Efficiency and Cost Optimization: Streamline internal processes, optimize resource allocation, and leverage automation tools to improve operational efficiency and reduce overhead costs. Identify areas of inefficiency or waste within the organization and implement measures to eliminate or minimize them, thereby improving profit margins and competitiveness.

Cash Flow Management

Effective cash flow management is essential for ensuring the financial health and stability of MSPs, particularly in managing revenue fluctuations, expense variability, and investment requirements. MSPs often face challenges in maintaining adequate cash reserves to cover operating expenses, fund growth initiatives, and weather economic uncertainties.

To address cash flow management challenges, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Forecasting and Planning: Develop robust cash flow forecasting models and financial projections to anticipate cash inflows and outflows accurately. Monitor key financial metrics, such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, and operating cash flow, to identify trends, anticipate cash flow gaps, and take proactive measures to mitigate risks.
  • Invoice Management and Collections: Implement efficient invoice management processes, including timely invoicing, accurate billing, and proactive collections strategies, to accelerate cash inflows and reduce outstanding receivables. Offer incentives for early payment or implement late payment penalties to incentivize timely payments and improve cash flow.
  • Expense Management and Cost Control: Monitor and control expenses rigorously to optimize cost structures and improve profitability. Identify opportunities for cost reduction, negotiate favorable terms with vendors and suppliers, and prioritize investments that yield the highest return on investment (ROI) to maximize cash flow generation.
  • Working Capital Optimization: Optimize working capital management by minimizing excess inventory, optimizing accounts receivable and accounts payable cycles, and optimizing inventory turnover ratios. Implement inventory management systems, payment terms negotiation, and supply chain optimization strategies to free up cash tied up in working capital and improve liquidity.

Investment in Technology and Innovation

Investment in technology and innovation is critical for MSPs to remain competitive, differentiate offerings, and drive long-term growth. However, MSPs face challenges in balancing investment priorities, managing upfront costs, and demonstrating ROI for technology investments.

To address challenges related to investment in technology and innovation, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Strategic Planning and Prioritization: Develop a strategic technology roadmap aligned with business objectives and client needs, outlining key investment priorities, timelines, and expected outcomes. Prioritize investments based on their strategic importance, potential impact on business performance, and alignment with long-term growth objectives.
  • Vendor Partnerships and Negotiations: Establish strategic partnerships with technology vendors, distributors, and solution providers to access cutting-edge technologies, innovation resources, and favorable pricing terms. Negotiate volume discounts, rebates, and flexible payment terms to optimize procurement costs and maximize ROI on technology investments.
  • R&D and Innovation Initiatives: Allocate resources to research and development (R&D) initiatives and innovation programs aimed at exploring new technologies, developing proprietary solutions, and driving innovation within the organization. Foster a culture of experimentation, creativity, and collaboration to encourage employees to contribute ideas and insights for driving innovation.
  • Measurement and Evaluation: Implement metrics and KPIs to measure the effectiveness and ROI of technology investments, such as cost savings, revenue growth, client satisfaction, and operational efficiency improvements. Conduct regular evaluations and performance reviews to assess the impact of technology investments and make data-driven decisions to optimize investment allocation.

Technological Challenges for MSPs

Keeping Pace with Technological Advancements

The rapid pace of technological advancements presents a significant challenge for MSPs, requiring them to continuously update their skills, knowledge, and service offerings to remain competitive in the market. However, staying abreast of emerging technologies, industry trends, and best practices can be challenging, particularly with the ever-expanding landscape of IT solutions and services.

To address the challenge of keeping pace with technological advancements, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Continuous Learning and Training: Invest in ongoing training and professional development programs for staff members to enhance their skills and expertise in emerging technologies and industry trends. Provide access to online courses, certification programs, and workshops to ensure that employees remain up-to-date with the latest advancements.
  • Strategic Partnerships and Alliances: Forge strategic partnerships with technology vendors, distributors, and industry associations to access cutting-edge technologies, innovation resources, and specialized expertise. Collaborate with technology partners to co-develop solutions, share insights, and stay informed about emerging trends and market developments.
  • Technology Roadmapping: Develop a strategic technology roadmap that outlines key technology initiatives, investments, and adoption timelines aligned with business objectives and client needs. Prioritize technologies based on their strategic importance, potential impact on service delivery, and alignment with long-term growth objectives.
  • Innovation Initiatives: Foster a culture of innovation within the organization by encouraging employees to explore new technologies, experiment with innovative solutions, and contribute ideas for driving innovation. Establish innovation labs, hackathons, or innovation challenges to promote creativity, collaboration, and knowledge sharing among team members.

Infrastructure Complexity

Managing infrastructure complexity is another significant technological challenge for MSPs, particularly as clients’ IT environments become increasingly diverse, distributed, and interconnected. The proliferation of cloud services, hybrid environments, and IoT devices adds layers of complexity to infrastructure management, making it challenging to ensure performance, scalability, and reliability.

To address the challenge of infrastructure complexity, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Standardization and Simplification: Standardize hardware, software, and configuration settings across clients’ IT environments to simplify management and reduce complexity. Implement best practices, automation tools, and standardized procedures to streamline provisioning, deployment, and configuration tasks.
  • Centralized Monitoring and Management: Deploy centralized monitoring and management tools to gain visibility into clients’ infrastructure, applications, and network performance. Use monitoring dashboards, alerts, and analytics to proactively identify issues, optimize performance, and ensure compliance with service level agreements (SLAs).
  • Cloud Migration and Optimization: Help clients migrate to cloud-based infrastructure and services to reduce reliance on on-premises hardware, simplify management, and improve scalability and agility. Offer cloud optimization services to optimize resource utilization, reduce costs, and maximize ROI on cloud investments.
  • Security and Compliance Management: Implement robust security measures and compliance controls to protect clients’ infrastructure from cyber threats, data breaches, and compliance violations. Use security frameworks, encryption technologies, and access controls to safeguard sensitive data and ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards.

Cybersecurity Threats

Cybersecurity threats pose a significant challenge for MSPs and their clients, as cybercriminals continue to evolve their tactics, techniques, and procedures to bypass security defenses and exploit vulnerabilities. MSPs must remain vigilant and proactive in defending against cyber threats, safeguarding clients’ data, and preserving business continuity.

To address the challenge of cybersecurity threats, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Risk Assessment and Vulnerability Management: Conduct comprehensive risk assessments and vulnerability scans to identify and prioritize security risks within clients’ IT environments. Develop remediation plans, patch management strategies, and security controls to mitigate vulnerabilities and reduce the attack surface.
  • Security Awareness Training: Provide security awareness training and education programs for clients’ employees to raise awareness about common cyber threats, phishing attacks, and social engineering tactics. Empower employees to recognize and report suspicious activities, implement security best practices, and adhere to security policies and procedures.
  • Multi-Layered Defense Strategy: Implement a multi-layered defense strategy that combines preventive, detective, and responsive security controls to protect against a wide range of cyber threats. Deploy firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), endpoint protection solutions, and security information and event management (SIEM) tools to detect and respond to security incidents in real-time.
  • Incident Response and Recovery: Develop incident response plans, playbooks, and procedures to guide clients’ response to security incidents, data breaches, and cyber attacks. Establish communication protocols, escalation paths, and coordination mechanisms to facilitate timely incident response, minimize impact, and restore normal operations as quickly as possible.

Client Relationship Challenges for MSPs

Client Onboarding and Offboarding

Client onboarding and offboarding processes are critical stages in the client lifecycle, yet they pose significant challenges for MSPs in ensuring a seamless transition and positive experience for clients. Onboarding involves setting up new clients, configuring IT systems, and transferring data, while offboarding involves terminating services, transitioning data, and decommissioning IT assets.

To address the challenges of client onboarding and offboarding, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Standardized Onboarding and Offboarding Processes: Develop standardized processes, checklists, and templates for client onboarding and offboarding to ensure consistency and efficiency. Document workflows, roles, and responsibilities and follow employee onboarding best practices to streamline operations and minimize errors during the transition process.
  • Client Onboarding Workshops: Conduct client onboarding workshops or orientation sessions to educate clients about MSP services, processes, and expectations. Provide training on how to use MSP tools, access support services, and escalate issues effectively to facilitate a smooth transition and minimize disruptions.
  • Dedicated Onboarding and Offboarding Teams: Assign dedicated onboarding and offboarding teams or specialists responsible for managing the transition process and supporting clients throughout the onboarding and offboarding journey. Ensure clear communication channels, escalation paths, and regular status updates to keep clients informed and engaged.
  • Post-Onboarding Reviews and Feedback: Conduct post-onboarding reviews and feedback sessions with clients to evaluate the effectiveness of the onboarding process, identify areas for improvement, and address any issues or concerns. Use client feedback to refine onboarding processes, enhance service delivery, and drive continuous improvement.

Tailoring Services to Evolving Client Needs

Client needs and requirements are dynamic and constantly evolving, posing challenges for MSPs in delivering tailored solutions that address changing business priorities, technology trends, and industry challenges. MSPs must adapt their service offerings, processes, and delivery models to meet clients’ evolving needs and deliver maximum value.

To address the challenges of tailoring services to evolving client needs, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Client Needs Assessment: Conduct regular client needs assessments and technology evaluations to understand clients’ business goals, challenges, and priorities. Use surveys, interviews, and workshops to gather feedback, identify pain points, and uncover opportunities for service improvement and innovation.
  • Flexible Service Plans and Customization: Offer flexible service plans and customization options that allow clients to tailor services to their specific requirements, preferences, and budget constraints. Provide modular service offerings, add-on options, and scalable solutions that can adapt to clients’ changing needs and growth trajectories.
  • Technology Roadmapping and Planning: Develop technology roadmaps and strategic IT plans in collaboration with clients to align service offerings with their long-term business objectives and technology requirements. Identify emerging technologies, industry trends, and innovation opportunities that can drive value and competitive advantage for clients.
  • Regular Service Reviews and Strategic Alignment: Conduct regular service reviews and strategic alignment sessions with clients to assess service performance, review technology roadmaps, and discuss future initiatives. Use these meetings to align service delivery with clients’ evolving needs, address emerging challenges, and identify opportunities for service enhancement and innovation.

Communication and Transparency

Effective communication and transparency are essential for building trust, fostering collaboration, and maintaining strong client relationships. However, MSPs face challenges in ensuring clear, timely, and transparent communication with clients, particularly in complex technical environments and during critical incidents.

To address the challenges of communication and transparency, MSPs can implement the following solutions:

  • Clear Communication Channels: Establish clear communication channels, including email, phone, chat, and ticketing systems, to facilitate seamless communication between MSPs and clients. Provide multiple contact options and escalation paths to ensure accessibility and responsiveness during emergencies or critical incidents.
  • Regular Status Updates and Reporting: Provide regular status updates, progress reports, and performance metrics to keep clients informed about the status of their IT systems, service delivery, and ongoing projects. Use dashboards, executive summaries, and customized reports to present information in a clear, concise, and actionable format.
  • Proactive Communication and Incident Management: Proactively communicate with clients during critical incidents, service disruptions, or maintenance activities to minimize impact, manage expectations, and maintain transparency. Establish communication protocols, incident response procedures, and escalation paths to ensure timely notification and resolution of issues.
  • Transparency and Accountability: Foster a culture of transparency and accountability within the organization, emphasizing honesty, integrity, and openness in all client interactions. Admit mistakes, take ownership of issues, and communicate openly with clients about challenges, risks, and mitigation strategies to build trust and credibility.


With talent acquisition becoming increasingly competitive in 2024, MSPs struggle to recruit and retain skilled professionals adept at navigating complex IT environments.

Financial pressures also loom large, with MSPs grappling with pricing constraints and margin erosion amid fierce market competition; along with a host of technological and compliance challenges.

To overcome these challenges, MSPs must prioritize collaborations with specialized MSP recruitment agencies like Scaled, as well as investments in talent development programs, compliance frameworks, and innovative technologies. They also might need to shift towards value-based pricing strategies and the exploration of niche markets to differentiate offerings and justify higher price points.

About the Author: Michael Nelson

Michael Nelson
Michael started his MSP, TLC Tech, in 2004 and has steadily grown and developed the company in the near two decades since. Currently employing 31 employees (including seven from South Africa), he understands the unique challenges faced by MSPs. As a founder of Scaled Inc., Michael works to assist his peers in the MSP world by streamlining the process of adding talent technicians to their teams. Connect with Michael on LinkedIn to discover how Scaled can place technical talent at your MSP.

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