By Sunil Sharma, managing director- Sales, India & SAARC, Sophos
The transition to next-gen IT Security MSPs – often called Managed Security Service Providers or MSSPs has been a challenge for channel partners to operate successfully in this new and far more complex environment. Today majority of the companies are working from home and working from anywhere has become the new normal.
In the current scenario, on-site visits and standard set business hours are no longer a routine—organizations need and expect their MSP support to be available on-demand, 24×7. And MSPs themselves need the capability to engage with their clients’ needs from anywhere. It does not matter whether organizations’ work takes place from a distinct, brick-and-mortar office or while sitting on their own sofa in their living room. An MSP must also be able to provide the same level of service, security, mobility and flexibility to all their clients, across the board.
Clients are no longer tied to one machine, one server, one location, and the corresponding IT security needs of those clients have increased accordingly. Meanwhile those same business owners, and their employees, have increased their security needs exponentially by not only expanding from the physical office and taking their work home and on the road, but by also spreading it across multiple devices.
Working with non-supportive vendors has been another challenge for MSPs to operate successfully. The numerous vendors and products MSPs need to provide to cover the full range of services required has never been an easy burden to bear, but in today’s fast-paced environment, managing these vendors has become a costly time-sink
The question still arises, as to how to be a profitable, successful MSP in the next-gen era. So, what does an MSP need to do in order to thrive? The trick is differentiating what you provide in order to rise above the competition.
Be a virtual CIO: A successful MSP will be able to provide both high-level and user-level guidance that the client needs, acting as a resource for the answers, software, hardware, and more.
Be a service differentiator: Meet the modern client’s needs by being constantly available, wherever they are through a SaaS-based management console. The right tools will give you the flexibility to match their’ mobility.
Be a financial differentiator: The old paradigm of annual contracts for vendor services is no longer efficient. If you bill your clients monthly, you should be able to pay your own bills monthly.
Be a proven security differentiator: Ensure your tools provide top of the line protection. Your customers are able to offer secure, uninterrupted service for their users because of their cybersecurity set up. By providing them with the education they need to make best use of the tools you provide them—a MSP can be the first and last line of defense against cyber threats
Be an efficiency differentiator and pass that efficiency on to your clients: You can minimize the number of vendor partnerships you’re engaged in to speed up, streamline, and improve your own efficiency by scaling back on the number of unique tools being used. Work with a vendor who owns all the technology you license through them, which can be a much more efficient option than a “marketplace”.
As an MSP, it is important to be a part of a security program which can give you complete end to end protection, through a single vendor partner, which will save you the hassle of having to chase down multiple vendors and juggle numerous contracts. By working with products that fall under a single brand’s umbrella, you can be rest assured that they are fully integrated for enhanced protection, allowing you to offer a stronger, safer level of security. Also, by working with a programme that combines vast industry knowledge, and proven security capabilities, you will be able to offer customers integrated endpoint, and network solutions. Additionally, there are also the benefits of having one management dashboard, which provides a single viewpoint into all your security licenses, and customer information.
By opting to work with products that are designed for next-generation security, as an MSP, you will be able to leverage that expertise to provide your clients with top of the line security, lower operating costs, and improve operational efficiency – factors which are very important in ensuring the success of a business today.