man holding lock

How next-gen MSPs are keeping customers safe

As the managed service provider (MSP) market grows more competitive and businesses face more cybersecurity threats than ever, MSPs need to step up their game.

According to a 2017 survey, 80 percent of MSP customers are planning to rethink how they manage IT security in the next 12 months. With two-thirds of chief information security officers (CISOs) concerned about suffering a data breach in 2018, it’s clear that IT security is growing to be an ever more pressing concern for companies of all sizes and industries.

Traditionally, many businesses have chosen to outsource their cybersecurity responsibilities to managed security services providers (MSSPs), which are MSPs that focus specifically on IT security as a service. Meanwhile, MSPs have historically done little for their customers in terms of security services—rarely anything more advanced than basic firewalls and antivirus software.

With the rise of “next-generation” MSPs, however, MSSPs can no longer claim a monopoly over cybersecurity managed services. Customers are increasingly searching for an MSP who can break the “tech support” mold and become a true strategic partner for their company, especially as they migrate more of their business into the cloud.

From MSP to MS(S)P: Why and how MSPs are adding security

96 percent of companies are now using the cloud in some form or fashion. It’s generally agreed by now that the cloud is safer than legacy on-premises systems. IT research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that public cloud workloads will suffer at least 60 percent fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centers.

However, moving to the cloud also presents different challenges in terms of cybersecurity. For example, sensitive data stored in the cloud should be encrypted both at rest and in transit, sent and received using secure protocols such as IPsec. Your enterprise credentials to access data in the cloud should also be kept under lock and key.

Traditional MSPs that wish to expand into security services for their clients need to realize that this transformation can’t happen overnight. Just like buying running shoes doesn’t mean that you’re ready to run a marathon, reselling a security product to your customers doesn’t turn an MSP into an MSSP either.

In order to claim the label of MSSP, managed services providers need to offer additional services such as configuration, support, maintenance, threat analysis, and incident response. You can only do this by first building a solid base of expertise with knowledgeable, experienced team members who understand your clients’ concerns and how to resolve them.

Compliance is another key concern for companies with sensitive data in the cloud. Industries like healthcare and finance have regulations such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley, respectively, in order to protect the security of customers’ confidential information.

“Next-gen” MSPs will be able to advise their clients on the proper way to meet their regulatory needs, including reporting capabilities to ensure that the business remains in compliance with the appropriate laws.

Final thoughts

As the task of cloud management becomes ever more complex with the passing months and years, public cloud customers need an MSP partner who can help them meet their business needs. One of the most important tasks of “next-gen” MSPs will be to deliver intelligent security solutions that help their clients keep their business and their data safe.

Want to keep reading? Check out 4 real-world examples of cloud automation.