The Managed Security Opportunity at Small Business
A significant shift appears to be occurring in how SMBs view security technology. According to a new report from IDC, instead of taking their traditional viewpoint of security being a necessity that should only be deployed to a minimum standard, SMBs are now looking at security as an enabler of other value-adding technologies. This changing security outlook, and the rationale behind it, is a positive development for MSPs who serve the SMB marketplace.
IDC research indicates that SMB spending on IT security will exceed $5.6 billion in 2015 and is growing at a rate of roughly 10 percent a year, or almost double the rate of increase for overall SMB IT spending. According to IDC data, about 19 percent of small firms (fewer than 100 employees) cite improving security and security management as key IT spending priorities. This percentage almost doubles to 36 percent among medium-sized firms (100-999 employees).
The opportunity to reduce infrastructure and overhead costs by providing remote workers with mobile access to corporate systems, often from privately-owned devices, as well as an increasing desire to take advantage of the flexibility and long-term cost savings provided by cloud technology, is driving SMBs to upgrade their security capabilities to adequately protect against the risks mobile and cloud technologies pose to their networks.
Meeting SMB Security Needs
SMBs’ increased security needs are largely being driven by an interest in reducing the cost of developing infrastructure and hosting and maintaining in-house systems through mobile and cloud technology implementation. Thus it is only natural that SMBs would prefer the security investments they make to safely leverage mobile and cloud solutions also not impose new IT overhead costs. IDC data showing SMB SaaS spending will grow at double-digit rates in the coming years further supports this notion.
All this gives MSPs, who already specialize in remotely managed systems, a big competitive advantage compared to vendors and third-party installers who specialize in implementing in-house security solutions. Of course, merely offering a managed security service will not be enough to win SMB clients.
MSPs should try to sell managed security services as an add-on or enabler to SMB clients who want to add or expand mobile or cloud functionality, and also make sure they stress that managed security services have the added benefit of easing mobile/cloud implementations to clients who are not currently considering these technologies. And it goes without saying SMBs should leverage their existing knowledge of SMB wants and needs in terms of project pricing, scale and scope. When security becomes a value driver instead of a necessary evil for SMBs, MSPs need to get behind the wheel and steer toward a new source of revenue.