As philosopher Heraclitus became famous for saying, “Life is Flux” (Panta Rhei for those of you who know Greek).
Business, like life, is very much in flux right now, thanks to the global pandemic that has been ongoing since the start of 2020 and could linger into the next year. And MSPs, like other types of businesses, are attempting to find their footing and continue their growth trajectories despite the significant hurdles posed by Covid-19.
By the numbers
According to the IT Glue Global MSP Benchmark Survey, the biggest challenges MSPs faced pre-Covid era were lack of time (54%) and finding good technologies (53%). Changing technologies (32%), lack of information sharing (27%), cybersecurity threats (26%) and price pressure (21%) all registered a significant number of votes. Then the pandemic hit, bringing with it an entirely new set of challenges. 74% of those surveyed indicated that another lockdown was a top concern. While changing technologies and lack of time have moved down on the list, cybersecurity threats, customer churn, and price pressure have increased in importance.
According to research from IDG published in NTT Ltd.'s 2020 Global Managed Services Report, 57% of respondents stated ‘reducing security risks’ was a common challenge, rating the highest among all factors considered. Clearly organizations are struggling to defend themselves against the complex and worsening threat landscape. Cyber attacks aren’t just rising – they’re skyrocketing. At the height of the pandemic’s first wave in April of 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center was seeing between 3,000-4,000 complaints a day compared to 1,000 a day pre-Covid. It’s no surprise, therefore, that smart organizations are actively looking for solutions and services that can help them minimize risks and protect their data.
For managed service providers, most of the big opportunities today are in the security, business continuity, and compliance domains. It makes sense – after all, the biggest thing your clients want is to keep things running smoothly, which can be difficult with a newly distributed workforce. Even before the pandemic-induced “work from home revolution,” over half of MSPs reported cybersecurity training as a valuable revenue opportunity. One can only imagine how big that market is now.
And what about managed service providers themselves? There’s no doubt their services will increasingly be in higher demand as we move forward. Pandemic or not, we know MSPs and the technology products and services they offer and help maintain are at the core of most business’ livelihood.
So, what’s the lesson for MSPs?
With the volume of extra time spent online, it’s a worthwhile endeavour for everyone to take positive steps towards better cybersecurity habits, and MSPs can be a valuable resource to their clients during this time, offering solutions and services that help protect critical business assets. Christopher R. Wilder writes on this topic for Forbes: “From a cybercrime perspective, Covid-19 revealed a new breed of bad actors, sources, methods and attack vectors that would never [have] been exposed without a crisis like this.”
3 tips to help MSPs grow
- Prioritize education. Today’s MSPs need to understand the cybersecurity needs of modern organizations, especially as these companies begin to review their IT strategies for 2021. Make sure you are ready to help customers with long-term solutions that will also work for the current pandemic environment. By taking a consultative approach to addressing customers’ painpoints, MSPs can help fill in the knowledge gaps that persist within organizations about cyber- and information security. In an article for CRN.com, Marcial Velez, CEO of New York City-based managed IT services provider Xperteks had this to say: "The MSP now has changed in terms of yes, you do the support, you do the IT services and you do security endpoints, but now you‘re really part of that conversation where you’re talking about what the long-term technology roadmap is for that client.”
- Focus on trust. Choose partners and solutions whose name and products impart a sense of integrity and stability. With changes coming around every corner and cyber attacks on the rise, businesses simply cannot afford to implement products and solutions that aren’t proven. Partnering with a worldwide IT leader like GlobalSign helps to give your business global brand recognition and PKI expertise that can sway even the most trepid decision-makers.
- Find ways to add value. Consider enhancing your portfolio with cost- and resource-efficient solutions that won’t break the bank. Most businesses are under incredible pressure to reserve funds for their most important projects. While cybersecurity is an obvious priority for most businesses, that doesn’t mean your customers are ready to add a huge expense to their budget for 2021.
Heraclitus was a wise man – and abiding by his famous words might not be the worst thing for your business. If change is indeed the only constant in life, your ability to adapt quickly is what will set you apart and help you thrive.
Learn more about how your MSP can partner with GlobalSign by visiting our new dedicated Enterprise Solutions Partner hub.