Cloud-based security is set to experience double-digit growth over the next three years, with everything from email security to identity and access management heading to the cloud.
Our last guest blog post provided the details on this MSP opportunity. Factors such as ease of deployment, lower operating costs, and easier updates make cloud security attractive to customers. It’s the right time to start reselling cloud security services. But the cloud transformation, in general, can prove daunting for companies not accustomed to that model.
When market researcher ESG surveyed 204 resellers, integrators and services providers, it found that fewer than 1 in 5 channel partners are fully transformed today. ESG reports that most partners remain dependent on traditional product resale and express discomfort when it comes to the financial risk of change.
Another channel issue: the need to adopt new selling and service approaches for Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service. Indeed, 43 percent of the partners responding to ESG’s survey cited lack of organizational skills and readiness as the reason they are not transforming faster.
As for the internal pressures facing partners, 41 percent identified recruiting sales and/or technical personnel, 28 percent listed retraining sales people and another 28 percent cited financial restructuring, according to ESG.
Time To Move
Launching a new line of business isn’t easy. But offering a cloud security service may become a necessity. Small-and medium-sized businesses gravitate to cloud security services as a way to bolster data protection without having to purchase and maintain on-site equipment. Larger enterprises also adopt cloud solutions, often because they are faster to deploy. If customers are transitioning to the cloud, a service provider should be there to head off the competition and maintain trusted advisory status.
Channel partners already acknowledge missing out on opportunities due to their lack of cloud services. ESG states that 90 percent of the channel respondents who don’t have a cloud offering say have lost or expect to lose business to others firms offering such services this year.
But what if a service provider’s customers aren’t ready for the cloud? Market timing is certainly important. But even if customers aren’t currently making a cloud commitment, chances are they will at some point. Cloud adoption tends to be incremental and evolutionary. A customer may initially adopt cloud-based email or collaboration services. But as a customer’s confidence in the cloud grows, it will typically bring on additional cloud offerings. A horizontal application such as human resources or an business app such as enterprise resource planning could be next in line. A business running a critical mass of applications in the cloud may well opt for cloud-based solutions to secure them.
Service providers determined to pursue cloud-based security may need to invest in sales training and perhaps some new administrative processes. But they don’t have to make that push entirely on their own. Cloud security vendors can help support a service provider’s cloud launch.
The case for cloud adoption is clear. If you start investigating cloud security services now, your customers -- and your business pipeline -- will thank you later.
Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.