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Having a security angle is a priority for MSPs

Research released to mark the latest MSP Day underlines the need for managed service players to be able to provide the data protection that customers are crying out for

Security has become increasingly important to managed service providers (MSPs) and being able to provide those technologies and skills will help to define the market leaders.

With demand for data protection continuing to rise, there are concerns that those that fail to ride the security wave will find their businesses being left behind.

Jason Howells, vice-president, MSP international sales at Barracuda MSP, responded to findings from the research released on MSP Day last Friday, sharing the optimism that the report showed around growth expectations, but also highlighting the opportunities and challenges.

“I think the research is suggesting that MSPs take the next step of the MSP journey and start to focus on what their customers are really crying out for right now and that is helping support around cyber security,” he said. “The opportunity in front of us all is huge.

“If they build the right services, if they partner with the right people and they start to lead with security, and at the very heart of their business start really trying to help and address what is at the forefront of all of their customers’ minds right now, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to take advantage of all of that opportunity.”

Howells said the skill gaps that customers were wrestling with on the security front meant that MSPs with the ability to cover that shortfall with their expertise were in a strong position.

“I think the evolution in the MSP, from break-fix to MSP to MSSP, or somewhere along that journey, and become really focused on leading with security will be those in the strongest position,” he added. “The MSPs that are not focused there, unfortunately, I think over a period of time, are at risk of losing their customer base to those that help those customers with their most concerning needs.”

Howells encouraged those that have yet to develop their security skills to be open to partnerships to make sure they do not disappoint customers. “Every single business is under attack,” he said. “It is important that if they can’t right now meet the needs of their customers with what they have internally, then they need to reach out, they need to build some partnerships.”

The latest MSP Day research raised a further challenge that applied to all MSPs, with it clear that staff burnout was a rising concern. Howells emphasised that mental wellbeing and caring for colleagues is something everyone across the channel needs to be aware of.

“If we can’t look after ourselves and get ourselves in a good place and make sure that we are being looked after by our employees, then we certainly are not going to do a good job of looking after our customers,” he said. “MSPs need to be really careful and very focused, very aware that burnout is starting to show in the data and I feel it will get worse before it gets better.

“With an MSP, the most valuable part of a managed service provider is not the technology, in my opinion. We can have the best technology in the world, but it’s about the people.”

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