Tierney - stock.adobe.com

Rising number of firms leaning on the channel for security help

Coronavirus has underlined the need for SMEs to use expert partners to handle their security needs

The equation is a relatively simple one: the more security threats targeting a business, the greater the strength and depth in response required. But many firms simply do not have access to skilled personnel – as a result, a growing number are turning to the channel.

Research from digital risk protection specialist Skurio this summer found that 50% of UK firms were looking to outsource security services and 80% had problems with team skills and knowledge.

Not surprisingly, in the two months that have followed, the situation has not changed, and the firm is continuing to flag the opportunities for partners as more customers reach out for support.

“It is much more cost-effective and much more resource-effective [to bring in support]. We are seeing that as an increasing trend, particularly among smaller organisations that don’t necessarily feel the need to have a high-end security team in-house,” said Skurio CEO Jeremy Hendy.

“A lot of mid-tier customers are realising that just having one or two people in the company [to cover security] is not enough and that relying on partners is a much better way to make sure they are covered 24/7,” he added.

The impact of the coronavirus has accelerated the threats and security problems customers are facing.

“A lot of customers and our MSP partners have been really busy during Covid because a lot of people who weren’t really set up for home working suddenly had to deploy all that remote working and remote security,” said Hendy. “It has definitely accelerated the understanding that data is outside the perimeter now. Not only is it in the cloud and shared with all those partners, but it is in 1,000 different buildings with 3,000 different toddlers accessing their parents’ laptops to play games.

“A lot of customers are realising that just having one or two people in the company [to cover security] is not enough and that relying on partners is a much better way to make sure they are covered 24/7”
Jeremy Hendy, Skurio

“The days of just having an in-house security organisation defending the perimeter and hoping that the data doesn’t leave the building [are gone],” he said.

Mark Lee, managing director of the managed services and cloud division at GCI, said the pandemic had served to underline some of the risks that smaller firms were running on the security front.

“It’s brought a lot of things into stark relief, things that would probably be the case anyway, but Covid has just turned the spotlight on them. One of those is that having a small in-house cyber security team is a massive risk,” he added. “If you’ve got two or three people on the team and one or two of those has to self-isolate, then you’ve got a real problem, you’re down to one.

“Though this Covid period we have seen a dramatic increase in the extent to which people are leaning on us for support through cyber attack events. We’ve seen a marked increase in what we call cyber security incidence response, so we have seen a big uptick in [support required for] that,” he said.

Lee added that even without the pandemic, the reasons to lean on a channel partner were there and increasing.

“It just makes sense to lean on [partners] that do this as part of their business, as opposed to you being a retailer or a widget maker and this is not your core business. Expecting you to do it on your own is probably unrealistic,” he said.

Next Steps

MSP cybersecurity and compliance challenges loom in 2021

Cybersecurity trends: IT shops to hire MSPs amid cloud complexity

Read more on Managed IT Services