Despite economic slowdowns from the pandemic, MSPs have an unprecedented opportunity to build recurring revenue streams by providing cloud security services to their clients.

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Cloud Security Services
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The current COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown of various sectors of the economy– including retail, hospitality and entertainment–along with several months of work-from-home mandates across many industries, have forced many companies to re-evaluate their IT infrastructures and their approach to security.

A recent Barracuda survey of more than 1,000 business decision-makers in the United States and Europe, conducted by independent research agency Censuswide, found that many companies are struggling to fund both data protection and security, while also maintaining their workforce. More than half of companies would consider making workforce reductions to support security initiatives adequately, but 40% have already cut their cybersecurity budgets as a cost-saving measure during the pandemic.

This presents a significant opportunity for MSPs. Even in the current economic climate, the demand for security services gives MSPs with robust security offerings a chance to increase recurring revenue with clients struggling to contain costs.

That is reflected in the annual Evolving Landscape of the MSP Business report (developed by Barracuda), which found that 91% of partners said they were planning to increase the breadth and depth of their services capacity this year. Among those surveyed, 69% cited managed services as the most significant opportunity for increasing sales.

The report also confirms the growing need for security service. According to the data, 79% of partners felt customer security concerns were an excellent opportunity, particularly with the rise of remote workers, and 72% said the lack of in-house security skills at their customers also created new revenue possibilities.

Respondents were also asked if their customers were increasingly concerned about how to maintain sufficient cybersecurity protection, and 81% said yes. In part, that’s because these companies have so many employees working from home. The earlier Barracuda survey found that 49% of respondents expect to see a data breach or cybersecurity incident in the next month as a result of remote working, and 46% already had an incident.

Those issues have been exacerbated by a shortage of cybersecurity professionals in house (and a lack of skilled IT staff in general). According to the Evolving Landscape of the MSP Business report:

“Driving this need to engage with third-party service providers is the growing cybersecurity skills gap and the difficulty and cost of attracting and retaining top talent. Many end-user companies simply don’t have the resources to hire an in-house security staff. And consequently, 46% of partners said this was a growing dilemma for their customers. Do they heap the expense on their own shoulders, or do they bring in an MSP to manage the situation for them?”

Your Customers Need Ongoing Security Training

For MSPs with security expertise, there’s a widening opportunity to increase recurring revenue through managed security services. This is especially important when it comes to cloud security, as customers are often not equipped to manage this, and there aren’t many MSPs that can effectively do so, either.

Securing cloud applications, particularly as these platforms become more critical with a dispersed workforce, can provide a long-term source of business. MSPs can provide the resources and know-how to implement these services, which can be time and resource-intensive for businesses, given the rapid growth and evolution of the threat landscape.

There are tools available to help MSPs streamline and automate some of these services. For example, it is widely recognized that employee behavior is at the root of most cybersecurity incidents. Tools like Barracuda’s Managed Phishline provide phishing simulation and awareness training without requiring MSPs to create and develop programs from scratch. Because threats are constantly shifting and employee turnover is high with many clients, these training services are an essential ongoing component of a complete security package. Other tools like Barracuda Sentinel can help automate email security using artificial intelligence.

These tools can help MSPs deliver effective security without overwhelming their staff with increased administrative tasks.

This is also a good time for MSPs to shore up their security training and augment their existing security offerings. Those without a robust security offering will quickly be left behind as their clients look for help in maintaining security while reducing headcount in an increasingly challenging economy.

Brian Babineau is Senior Vice President and General Manager for Barracuda MSP. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s managed services business, a dedicated team focused on enabling partners to easily deliver affordable IT solutions to customers.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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