Are Customers Finally Getting Serious About Managed Security?

A recent report commissioned by SolarWinds MSP may have picked up a trend those of us in the managed services profession have been witnessing for the last few years. While the MSP channel has been engaged in a strong internal debate about the role of security in delivering managed IT services. It appears that finally, customers may be ready to start paying attention to managed security.

Report Findings

The report identifies 5 key areas relevant to customers and MSPs. Here is my quick take on each of the 5 areas and how it may relate to your MSP practice.

Businesses currently handling security internally but now want to outsource their security primarily due to cost (25% of the market)

While not a surprise that customers want to cut IT management costs (IT managements is, after all, where the majority of IT related costs occur), outsourcing internal security could also reflect a lack of internal expertise and/or tools necessary to perform these tasks.

Businesses currently handling security internally but now want to outsource it to improve performance (24% of the market)

As stated above, the desire to outsource internal security to a MSP tends to be less about cost cutting and more about expanding the expertise and tools available to the customer.

Those currently outsourcing but considering taking security back in-house in the next 12 months (10% of the market)

We have seen this since the beginning of managed services; generally due to MSPs falling short of expectations or a customer outsourcing to a company they believe to be a MSP but who is actually not, can and does often cause customers to seek out alternatives, including bringing IT management in-house after a failed outsourcing relationship.

Businesses considering switching service providers due to poor performance (9% of the market)

While bringing IT management in-house is an option, finding a better suited MSP is historically a fact. There are many customers who have tried numerous MSPs until settling on the right one. This is not unique to the managed services profession, but it is a reality all MSPs (and customers) should keep in mind.

Businesses considering changing providers to reduce costs (8% of the market)

In my opinion, reducing costs is the least genuine rationale for bringing IT management in-house or switching MSPs. People who seek out professional services generally do not look for the lowest cost option. While price can be a factor, it is generally not a the top of the list. After all, when was the last time you looked for the cheapest physician or attorney?

Reducing costs with your MSP is usually a symptom for something else going on in the relationship.

Summary

It is nice, however, to see that customers are taking IT security more seriously and that the role of MSPs is still relevant. The cyber threats are not going away and will continue to increase. That's the bad news. The good news is MSPs are becoming more aware of security threats and are constantly learning and developing skill sets to defend against these cyber attacks.

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