Wanted: Trustworthy Guidance from a Security Professional

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are facing the dual challenges of supporting employees working from home while absorbing the fallout from the associated economic downturn. Although economies are slowly re-opening around the world, it’s unclear just how long it will take to get back to where it was before the shutdown.

Work-from-home is going to be a reality for many through the end of summer, and possibly the end of the year. Security will remain a critical challenge as companies struggle to ensure data safety in a distributed computing environment, while keeping a handle on budgets.

A recent Barracuda survey found that many companies are struggling to fund data protection and security, while also maintaining their workforce. More than half of respondents would consider making workforce reductions to support security adequately, but 40 percent have already cut their cybersecurity budgets as a cost-saving measure during the pandemic.

For MSPs, this means demand for managed security services is likely to increase. The global managed security services market is expected to grow from $31 billion in 2020 to more than $46 billion by 2025.

Those market dynamics are also reflected in the annual Evolving Landscape of the MSP Business report (developed by Barracuda), which found that 91 percent of partners were planning to increase their services capacity this year, and 69 percent cited managed services as the most significant opportunity for increasing sales.

The survey also found that 88 percent of partners believed demand for security services was set to increase over the next 12 months. A total of 79 percent felt customer security concerns were an excellent opportunity, particularly with the rise of remote work, and 72 percent said their client’s lack of in-house security resources was also creating new revenue opportunities.

According to the report:

“Security has bubbled to the top of many end users’ OpEx lists over recent years, mainly because of the increasingly complex nature of threats facing the average business ranging from ransomware to phishing attacks. Coupled with the fact that firms have been slowly moving towards a more fragmented and remote workforce over recent years, this shift towards security-based services will just continue to ramp up because of the number of companies forced to change their working practices almost overnight. Many should be operating on a ‘zero-trust’ basis, not only because it’s the best way to protect against cybercriminals and human error, but it’s also an opportunity for the service partner to offer a range of solutions and services to protect customers.”

Trust Drives Managed Security Business

How can MSPs take advantage of these emerging opportunities? In the Evolving Landscape of the MSP Business report, endpoint security, email security, and network security made it into the top five spots this year (only email security ranked that high last year).

A more significant asset, however, is trust with your clients. The survey found that 52 percent of respondents felt that trust had increased slightly between suppliers and their customers.

According to the report, “End users expect their IT service provider to act as a trusted advisor, and to guide them along the right path. This means offering advice and selling technology and services that benefit the end users, not just generating extra profit for the service provider.”

End users are more vulnerable than ever, so MSPs that have gained their clients’ trust and can provide the right mix of security services will have an edge. Clients need to have faith in the solutions and services you’re offering as well as your employees providing and managing the solutions and services.

To gain a foothold in this rapidly growing security market, MSPs need to regularly communicate with their clients to ensure their solutions are up to date, and to gauge whether all of their security needs are being met. If you’re already providing backup and disaster recovery (BDR) services, security is the next logical step in extending your client relationships. It’s not just good for your business, but it’s also critical for your customers. MSPs will find that a robust security offering will save them endless headaches on the BDR side as well because there will be fewer breaches and lost data.

End users were already struggling with security issues due to a lack of skilled workers and increasing overhead costs of maintaining their cybersecurity products. Current conditions have only made things more challenging. MSPs that have established themselves as trusted advisors can help themselves and their clients by providing the managed security support these companies need to survive in an uncertain economy while cyber threats continue to multiply.

Michael Mowder is the Senior Director of Global Partner Success for Barracuda MSP, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for the partner journey from on-boarding, to implementation, through professional services and finally, renewal.

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TOPICS: cybersecuritycybersecurity risk managementIT securityMSP security
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