The skyrocketing number of security threats combined with a growing acceptance of the as-a-service business model is creating an increased demand for managed security services providers (MSSPs)
Today, many businesses are padding IT security budgets, motivated to protect themselves from network damage, data breaches, and the regulatory fines and penalties that can result from cyberattacks. Cybersecurity research and market intelligence firm Cybersecurity Ventures reports that the IT security market has exploded from $3.5 billion in 2004 to an anticipated $120 billion in 2017. Over the next four years, the firm predicts, IT spending will exceed $1 trillion, driven by increases in cybercrime.
This growth in IT security spending has set the stage for new growth opportunities for MSP businesses. Recent Gartner research reveals the largest expenditures in IT security are earmarked for consulting and outsourcing. The research also lists significant opportunities in detection and response as well as in preventive security such as security information and event management (SIEM) and secure web gateways (SWGs).
If you’re an MSP who’s on the fence about which direction to take your company, consider the following three reasons why embracing the changing role of IT professionals and becoming an MSSP is a logical next step for your business.
1. The IT Security Skills Gap Is Widening
Enterprises are finding it difficult to hire IT security talent. A study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies entitled Hacking the Skills Shortage polled global IT decision makers and found that 82 percent report a shortage of IT security skills. Areas of expertise that are particularly hard to find include intrusion detection, secure software development and attack mitigation. Furthermore, if a company does find a qualified candidate, it often can’t afford to pay a competitive salary. An MSSP is much better positioned to attract and recruit IT security talent because it can frame its security-as-a-service offering in a way that supports qualified candidates’ salaries and allows the company to work as the outsourced IT security service provider for several customers.
Although you may be familiar with the role of an outsourced IT service provider, becoming an MSSP will allow you to play a broader role in your customers’ businesses. You won’t be working with the company’s in-house IT security staff — you will be the IT security staff. This will necessitate a greater knowledge of customers’ businesses, including industry regulations and the sensitivity of their data. Risk assessments should become a routine part of customer engagements to ensure that vulnerabilities are identified and mitigated.
2. IT Security as an OPEX Is Trending
With businesses becoming more accustomed to models such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), your customers may prefer Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS) options that minimize capital investments for IT security. Instead of purchasing appliances and solutions with capital funds that could be used on the core of their businesses, they may instead look for a service that monitors their networks, identifies and removes malware, performs repair and restoration when needed, and provides the most up-to-date protection without having to upgrade or purchase new solutions.
Like what it takes to be a successful MSP, automation is essential. Solutions that automate network monitoring and other tasks will ease the labor burden on your staff. Find solutions with centralized management, so you can provide managed security to many customers while controlling costs and operating profitably.
3. Businesses Need Your Help Now
Another factor driving companies to outsource IT security is the high rate of cybercrime and the new types of attacks that are proliferating quickly and becoming difficult to keep up with. The rise of ransomware attacks, malware aimed at mobile devices and IoT security concerns are just a few of the big issues that are currently overwhelming companies.
MSSPs can play a consultative role in educating customers on existing and emerging threats, and help them address security from IT project planning to implementation. This will enable customers to address risks and vulnerabilities in a prioritized and cost-effective way.
With the understanding that there are some MSPs that are happy simply being MSPs, taking advantage of this very real opportunity to meet demand for security services means either adding these services to your offerings or partnering with an MSSP for customers that need these services. Either approach will help you grow your business by embracing the much-needed role of an outsourced IT security services provider for your customers.
Brian Babineau serves as General Manager, Intronis MSP Solutions, for Barracuda Networks. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s managed services business, a dedicated team focused on enabling partners to easily deliver affordable IT solutions to customers.
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