Cybersecurity and Remote Working Present Challenges for MSPs

The report coincides with Barracuda MSP's third annual World MSP Day.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

May 21, 2020

4 Min Read
Business Problem

MSPs see big opportunities for growth this year despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but cybersecurity and remote working require changes.

That’s according to the Evolving Landscape of the MSP Business Report 2020 by Barracuda MSP. The company polled nearly 300 MSPs spanning the United Kingdom, the U.S., Germany, Canada, Ireland, Belgium, Australia and Spain.

The report coincides with Barracuda’s third annual World MSP Day.

Partners have the opportunity to bolster their security offering, it said. This will better support the new, more vulnerable mobile workforce that has emerged during the pandemic.


Barracuda’s Brian Babineau

Brian Babineau is Barracuda‘s senior vice president and general manager of MSP solutions. He said it’s surprising that cloud-based applications aren’t among the top five services MSPs offer.

“Cloud-based offerings make technology resources available irrespective of an employee’s location, and as we are all experiencing, this flexibility is what is sustaining much of our global productivity,” he said.

Keep up with the latest developments in how the channel is supporting partners and customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Almost all (90%) MSPs said they plan to expand their portfolios this year. Also, more than two in three (69%) identified managed services as the biggest opportunity for increasing sales in 2020. That’s up from a little more than half (54%) last year.

Other findings include:

  • MSPs favor a hybrid approach to services.

  • Security services are higher up the agenda for MSPs this year.

  • Rising security concerns and customers’ lack of in-house skills are driving the need for third-party service providers.

  • Demand for managed security services is increasing.

Changing Priorities

“Conversations with our partners over the last few months have pointed to the fact that users and the data they create or engage with are becoming far more critical than devices in the current work-from-home environment,” Babineau said. “For example, people that had been using Windows workstations in the office now log into Google Chromebooks to start their day from home. As a result, all other technology decisions have (and should continue) to shift from a device-centric approach to one that is both user and data-centric. When MSPs do this, security of the person and their data cannot be undermined.”

MSPs must learn to manage devices, and secure users and data no matter where it is saved, he said. This trend will not fade away.

“MSPs’ IT expertise to transition workforces into new paradigms while maintaining security and productivity will dramatically help small businesses transform their operations,” Babineau said. “And, the threat landscape is still brutal. What is far more scary is the susceptibility of our systems and people. Individuals are working strange hours, emails promising cures, and websites impersonating disease tracking systems are showing up everywhere. When you have more risky content and distracted users, it is a recipe for bad outcomes.”

Cybersecurity and Remote Working

Not all MSPs are ready to meet increasing demand for cybersecurity, he said.

“If they are constantly avoiding learning about new technologies or optimizing ones they have already deployed, they will fall behind. In the first three weeks of March alone Barracuda Sentinel detected 467,825 spear-phishing email attacks, and 9,116 of those detections were related to COVID-19,” Babineau said. “Criminals take no breaks and were chomping at the bit to take advantage of businesses. Between distracted employees, who had been uprooted to work remotely with varying degrees of readiness to do so, and leveraging fear by using coronavirus-related messaging, they had a broad target.”

Worse, many MSPs’ employees don’t know what …

… spearphishing is, he said.

“As the problem got worse, they were still learning what it was to figure out how to stop it. This was a costly delay for many clients who were already going through their worst times as a business,” Babineau said.

Transformation Needed

Now is the time for MSPs to transform their businesses, he said.

Pricing per user highlights your value better than pricing per device, Babineau said. Users create data, and data must be secured and protected, he said.

“Aside from pricing, MSPs should think about offering security assessments that determine a user or a group of users’ current security posture,” he said. “This gives them a baseline and enables them to have an educated discussion about how their security portfolio can help strengthen security for their clients. Users need to be reminded that they are the weakest link to understand the associated risk. And using assessments and benchmarking can do this while demonstrating the MSP’s value when they help their client improve that performance over time. ”

In addition, MSPs should learn “cloud everything,” Babineau said. They should become an expert in cloud security, and hire and train someone on security-related help desk calls.

“Use the cloud to help clients reinvigorate their businesses to new heights,” he said.

Read more about:

MSPsChannel Research

About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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