Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want
As a general rule, IT service providers like “the next big thing.” Collectively, the obsession is clear, as there is a constant push to find a new trend, a new technology and, therefore, a new offering.
However, despite this very dependable trend there are significant numbers of servers out there still running Windows Server 2003. An operating system that is 12 years old would seem to be a ripe target to be replaced by IT solution providers. Indeed, maintaining these servers beyond the (already passed) end of extended support deadline brings potential costs of up to $200,000 in custom support, according to some sources. Procrastination (as highlighted in this blog) potentially makes this problem even worse.
With managed security services becoming an increasingly important offering, it’s rather staggering that so many systems are out of date. Customers are demanding additional layers of security, with the perimeter-only model of security considered outdated–and even dangerous. Patch management is viewed as central to this layered approach, so moving off unsupported operating systems is essential.
Is this symptomatic of a larger problem?
LOGICnow conducted a study this year on the state of alignment between IT service providers and their customers, entitled the Global IT Service Providers Harmony Report. As part of this we uncovered a number of different issues that point to misalignment.
For example, the report states that “many IT departments said their managed security services’ priorities include delivering better email security, Web protection and antivirus support. Conversely, many IT service providers said they are prioritizing security consultancy and offering more proactive system updates and patching.”
What’s important here is that solution providers need to understand customer needs, and ensure that the solutions being offered are what is required, and not simply what they believe should be offered. In this case, there are some core offerings that many solution providers have not implemented, despite the fact that their customers have already determined them as key needs.
In CompTIA’s third Annual Trends in Managed Services study, improving security was the No. 1 factor driving managed services adoption. From our own research, service providers have the opportunity to combine the managed security offerings to help deliver these solutions.
Managed antivirus, patch management, Web protection and mail security–delivered alongside complete backup protection–provide a well-rounded solution that can prevent networks from being breached by the vast majority of malware on the market. According to security experts, well over 85% of all vulnerabilities can be solved by this combination of solutions.
This was a clear theme of the conversation at LOGICnow’s 2015 U.K. customer conference this month in Manchester. Industry experts agreed that managed security was a core basic offering that had considerable opportunity for adoption.
Combine managed security with the number of Windows Server 2003 systems left to be upgraded, and there is a clear opportunity for solution providers. Don’t delay. The opportunity is there, but so, too, is the clear risk to any customers who continue to be exposed.
Dave Sobel, Senior Director of Partner Community at MAXfocus, is responsible for fostering the growth and success of MAXFocus Partners. In this role he helps promote collaboration, education and innovation among MAXfocus Partners and among the industry as a whole, ensures they have access to business, technology and market resources, and are utilizing the MAX Platform to achieve positive growth, enhance their offerings and become best-in-class solution providers. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship.