Can MSPs Stay Ahead of Security Demand?
We are just barely a week into the new year and already have a new security threat; the "meltdown" and "spectre" vulnerabilities caused by commonly used processor chips. The security threat is global, impacting nearly every user who has an Intel powered computer/server, and is getting a lot of press attention, both in and outside the technical community.
While the patches for these two security vulnerabilities are still being addressed, the role of MSPs is what I would like to focus on here.
Role of MSPs in 2018
It is certain to me that the role of managed service providers has changed. MSPs can no longer say they have no role to play in addressing security issues facing their customers (or internally, for that matter. More on that below). MSPs who had been very comfortable in a break/fix model have very little relevance in 2018. It reminds me of the LifeLock commercial where the bank is being robbed and the guard says "I'm not a security guard, I'm just a security monitor. I only notify you if there is a robbery."
The divide between break/fix and remote monitoring has always existed in the IT channel. Monitoring by itself is useless (unless your customer has set it up that way and has another party capable of fulfilling the management part), just as remediation is useless if it is always done after something has been broken.
The reason I got into managed services was the simplicity of the MSP being able to anticipate things before they happen and proactively take measures to prevent those events from happening. Break/fix and monitoring are like peanut butter and chocolate. They just belong together.
Do Your Customers Seek Your Opinion on Security Matters?
One of the telltale signs that you are a "trusted advisor" is whether your customers are seeking out your opinion. If you always have to initiate a conversation with your customers, chances are they are not aware of your expertise, or worse, they don't really trust you.
Your customers should be taking advantage of your knowledge, especially in light of security events such as Spectre and Meltdown. Use these events as opportunities to develop educational engagements with your customers. Hold a webcast or a physical event. Issue a press statement or blog. Giving your customers information gives them a reason to interact with you.
I have a feeling there going to be a lot of these opportunities in 2018.