Why Managed Security Presents An Opportunity for MSPs

The challenges businesses face in securing their workloads, network and data is a big opportunity for MSPs: those with the will and means to become managed security service providers (MSSPs) not only address an acute need in the marketplace, but are positioned to create revenue streams and expand their customer base.

Why Managed Security Presents A Golden Opportunity for MSPs
Why Managed Security Presents A Golden Opportunity for MSPs

However, to seize the opportunity, MSPs must move beyond the foundational blocks of managed security to the advanced and comprehensive security offerings.

Read on this article and learn:

  • The current state of security
  • Advanced vs. comprehensive security services MSPs need to offer
  • Major drivers of the managed security services market
  • Benefits for providers that increase their managed security offerings
  • Next steps to transform your MSSP business

Content Summary

Introduction
The State of Security
Beyond the Basics
Managed Security Market Drivers
Benefits of Adding Managed Security
How to Add a Second “S” to “MSP”
Conclusion

The threat landscape is vast, diverse and increasingly dangerous, with hackers constantly introducing new malware variants and identifying network vulnerabilities to exploit. A single cyberattack can deliver a serious setback to any company’s plans and operations, forcing it to spend money and effort on remediation — resources that otherwise would be allocated to fulfilling strategic goals.

This article teaches MSPs how to take advantage of this opportunity and move beyond the foundational blocks of managed security to the advanced and comprehensive security offerings the modern business needs.

Introduction

Businesses ignore the need for cyber protections at their peril. The threat landscape is vast, diverse and increasingly dangerous, with hackers constantly introducing new malware variants and identifying network vulnerabilities to exploit. A single cyberattack can deliver a serious setback to any company’s plans and operations, forcing it to spend money and effort on remediation — resources that otherwise would be allocated to fulfilling strategic goals. Moreover, 60 percent of small-to-medium-sized companies that suffer a cyberattack are out of business within six months, according to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance.

While these trends explain why CEOs consider cyber threats a top risk of doing business, recognizing the problem doesn’t always translate to knowing how to solve it. It has become enormously difficult for companies to address cyber threats on their own, and getting help isn’t easy: there’s a massive shortage of cybersecurity professionals worldwide, which makes securing talent expensive. Making matters worse, security solutions are getting more complex as vendors add features and functions to combat new threats and attack methods.

But the challenge businesses face in securing their workloads, network and data is also an opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs). MSPs with the will and means to become managed security service providers (MSSPs) not only address an acute need in the marketplace, but are positioned to create revenue streams and expand their customer base.

To seize the opportunity, MSPs must move beyond the foundational blocks of managed security to the advanced and comprehensive security offerings the modern business needs. Of course, MSPs will need help from a trusted partner to acquire the requisite skills to sell comprehensive managed security solutions. Fortunately for them, that help is available.

The State of Security

What makes cybersecurity so vexing is the nature of the threat landscape. It’s a huge beast with tentacles everywhere, constantly reinventing itself by introducing new threats, modifying existing ones and, all the while, intensifying the potential for damage. Networks are constantly under threat, being forced to fend off a barrage of attack attempts; on average, a cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds. Many attacks are automated, using bots to constantly test a network’s defenses.

While large enterprises face big challenges in fending off the ceaseless barrage of threats, it’s, even more, overwhelming for MSPs’ clients, a demographic consisting primarily of SMBs that lack the advanced monitoring, detection, investigative and forensic tools to deal with these threats in-house. Nor do they have the needed fast-response mitigation technology and procedures.

MSPs can fill the void by providing managed security services that relieve customers of the burden of maintaining and managing the security environment. It’s no wonder that managed security now accounts for a substantial portion of the cybersecurity market; in fact, research firm IDC has identified managed security as 2019’s fastest-growing technology category, on pace to reach $21 million by year’s end and growing at a 14 percent annual clip. That growth rate compares to 11 percent for security analytics, intelligence response and orchestration software, and 9.3 percent for network security software. (Even though IDC treats managed security services as a separate category, these other high-growth areas can be included in MSSP offerings.)

Beyond the Basics

While just about every MSP delivers foundational security services such as endpoint protection, firewall, and patch management, the way to stand out from the competition is by providing advanced and comprehensive services. Here are some examples:

Example of providing advanced and comprehensive services
Example of providing advanced and comprehensive services

Managed Security Market Drivers

Skyrocketing demand for qualified cybersecurity talent is a major driver of the managed security services market. (ISC)² Research estimates the shortfall of cybersecurity professionals totals nearly 3 million worldwide. A study by security association ISACA reveals that 32 percent of organizations spend up to six months filling cybersecurity positions, and 60 percent spend at least three months — numbers up from 26 percent and 55 percent, respectively, in 2018.

It stands to reason that if businesses can’t hire cybersecurity workers, they will seek help from third parties such as MSPs. However, other market drivers are also at play. Even if the skills gap didn’t exist, cybersecurity teams would be challenged by the constant evolution of the threat landscape: consider that hundreds of thousands of malware variants are introduced each day. Many of those variants consist of ransomware, which in recent years has been one of the biggest security threats to businesses of all types and sizes. In 2019, ransomware attacks will cost organizations an estimated $11.5 billion, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

The growing complexity of security implementation is another driver of managed security services demand. Effective, comprehensive cybersecurity requires a layered approach that addresses all points where an attack can occur, from the perimeter to the endpoint to the applications to the data itself.

Many attacks occur as a result of a bad decision by a user. Phishing attacks have become increasingly sophisticated, disguising emails as if they were coming from a sender known to the recipient to get them to click on an infected URL or attachment. Preventing users from making bad decisions requires education — another area where MSSPs can play an essential role by developing awareness and education programs they can implement, and even manage, for clients.

MSSPs additionally have a part to play in helping clients achieve regulatory compliance. Any business that handles private data is subject to regulations on how to process, store and transmit the data. Industries such as healthcare, finance, and retail have particularly stringent regulations and standards that if violated can result in punitive actions such as monetary fines and lawsuits. Smaller businesses often don’t have the knowledge or skills to implement compliance programs, but that doesn’t exempt them from these requirements.

Benefits of Adding Managed Security

This urgency to deliver effective security across the business landscape — especially among small and midsize businesses — translates to substantial benefits for providers that increase their managed security offerings.

For starters, addressing this dire need for clients opens new revenue streams, creating major profit potential. Most MSPs cover only the basics of security, such as endpoint protection and patch management, so those that invest in advanced, comprehensive security solutions have an opportunity to stand out against the competition and attract new business at healthy margins.

Beyond that, some intangibles come into play. Although no security strategy is 100 percent foolproof, MSPs can help manage risk and prevent a threat that could seriously cripple a business, or even spell its demise. Putting a dollar value on that prowess isn’t easy, but it is a tremendous value-add.

Some clients, especially smaller businesses, may not grasp the seriousness of cyber risks, which means MSPs must put some effort into making a strong business case for developing a robust cybersecurity strategy. To help make the case, MSPs should inform clients of the continuous stream of attacks aimed at organizations of all sizes day after day: in 2018 alone, cyberattacks cost organizations worldwide an estimated $45 billion, according to the Online Trust Alliance.

Once MSPs start delivering managed services, they can report regularly to clients on the number of attacks their services prevent. When clients see attack statistics, they gain a better grasp of the value MSPs provide. This strengthens the IT trusted advisor role, which in turn translates to customer stickiness for the long term.

How to Add a Second “S” to “MSP”

An MSSP is not made overnight. A provider needs to offer services such as penetration testing, advanced malware detection, threat intelligence and sandboxing, along with acquiring the requisite skills and capabilities to deliver the services.

An MSSP is not made overnight. A provider needs to offer services such as penetration testing, advanced malware detection, threat intelligence and sandboxing, along with acquiring the requisite skills and capabilities to deliver the services.

Conclusion

Cyberattacks will remain a top risk for businesses for the foreseeable future as the threat landscape continues to evolve and intensify. Businesses need effective cybersecurity solutions and services, but they have limited budgets, and cybersecurity skills are in short supply. With all this in mind, businesses need help, and increasingly they turn to their MSPs to implement and manage their security solutions.

For MSPs, this creates a substantial opportunity to deliver the managed security services their clients desperately need. But to seize the opportunity, MSPs have to invest in developing skills and capabilities to build an MSSP practice. With help from Tech Data Security Solutions, MSPs can position themselves to address their clients’ acute security needs — while forging a healthy growth path forward.

Source: Tech Data