MSP Clients’ Growing Needs (Part 1)

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A growing number of businesses are transitioning away from traditional staffing models to cope with limited budgets, security concerns and shortage of in-house IT expertise. As this creates some serious money-making opportunities for MSPs, it also means they need to step up their game in selling these services and beat the competition. If the service providers want to expand their need and break into the mid-market, they need to possess the right skills, solutions, and services. If you are an MSP and are interested to increase your revenue generating offerings, take notice.

What Service Offerings are the Mid-market asking for from their MSP?

Kaseya surveyed mid-market IT professionals throughout the world about their organization’s IT operations and practices and they did not shy away from sharing their perceptions with us.

Security at the Forefront

The deluge in number, severity and variety of attacks make cyber security and backup the most talked about topics in the midspace, and rightly so. The growing need of interconnected devices, matched with limited resources to secure them often puts the midsize and small businesses in the crosshair of cyber attacks.

Moreover, as businesses remain obsessed with cloud transition for gaining a competitive edge and unprecedented ability to diversify and foray into new market, many of them lack the technical resources and budgets to sufficiently protect their cloud assets. The hackers are aware that the smaller businesses cannot put up their defenses as systematically as the enterprise, and they leave no stone unturned to exploit this opportunity. In fact, a recent report by IBM claims that the number of cloud-related cyber attacks saw a significant 424 percent jump last year. As each year witnesses another jump in the volume of attacks, having a layered security approach to thwart these attacks is a top-of-mind concern for all the business leaders.

Protecting Business Data

MMEs are willing to go to any lengths to protect their important data amid the growing threat of ransomware attacks. Backup comes a quick second in the survey and goes hand in hand with security. The infrastructure requirement for a robust disaster recovery system requires hefty upfront investments. Post the set-up, more investments might be required for hardware and networks maintenance. While the associated high cost put the small and midsized companies in a difficult position, they are well aware of how the smallest incident of data breaches, network failures, etc. can cause intangible, damage to a company’s brand. The businesses are looking up to MSPs to lend a helping hand by keeping this problem at bay. For the MSPs, it is an opportunity to turn that demand into a vibrant revenue stream.

The Evolution of Patching

While security and backup take the spotlight, patching is not far behind. A solid patch management program involving regular patch installation can be a super-effective way to prevent a security hack. But patching alone won’t cut it anymore in the evolving threat landscape. In addition, IT devours majority of its time in patching the Microsoft related issues while Mac and other third-party software take a backseat. To be precise, only two-thirds of IT shops pay any heed to manage third-party applications. Interestingly, among the businesses with no outages lasting longer than 5 minutes this past year, the main reason is monitoring third-party applications. Need we say more?

To stay ahead of the curve and mitigate the risk of a threat, MSPs need to offer pro-active scouting of vulnerability and be prepared with an action plan beforehand. Which means a full rundown involving scanning, identifying, verifying, mitigating and patching vulnerabilities. It may seem like a daunting task, but if you won’t put in the effort, be assured the hackers will.

Endpoint: The Most Critical Piece

The rising tides of ransomware like NotPetya make endpoint management and protection central to layered security and backup. As IT pros put it, any device that accesses the internet from a client’s network can be a possible point of entry for unauthorized users. Too often, phishing and ransomware threats get into the corporate systems through these exposed endpoints. While antivirus and anti-malware are an aspect of keeping MSP and client endpoint safe, there is a considerable difference between endpoint security and antivirus. The former deals with safeguarding laptop, PCs and similar devices, the latter manages network access control, endpoint detection and response, and application whitelisting.

Securing endpoints requires a layered approach. The idea behind layered security is to develop several layers of security to defend various fronts, completed with backup and recovery. Why backup and recovery you ask? Because the smart MSPs knows, there’s always the possibility of malware getting in and causing data loss or security breach. This is where the backup and recovery in your layered security comes into play.

Bottom Line

Mid-market IT Directors and CIOs are not simply being asked to do more with less, but now they are expected to be the hero of IT and become master data protector. As one would expect, the mid-market is turning to leverage MSPs expertise to run all or part of the function. But are the MSPs in sync with the demands of the mid-market? When you consider all the elements at play, the mid-market deserves more at the moment. However, the MSPs have a lot to gain if they pay close attention to the needs that drive the mid-market. They can start by adding more professional services and perhaps choosing to specialize and become niche players in this segment, as this space is just too competitive for substandard providers to survive for long.

Join Tracy Hernandez, VP, Product Marketing at Kaseya, for a value-packed webinar “MSP Clients’ Biggest Needs Revealed”. Register here.

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