MSSP Partners: What Endpoint Security Needs in the Channel
When considering MSSP partners, endpoint security, cybersecurity and other technology companies must be very careful. Taking on MSSP partners in their channel programs is a big commitment. They first need to verify a lot of capabilities including dedication, motivation, resources, and technical bona fides such as security operations centers (SOCs).
“People do not take the time to make sure MSSPs are ready to be channel partners,” said Jason Eberhardt, head of global cloud and MSP at Bitdefender, a global cybersecurity solution provider. “MSPs and MSSPs are truly the future of the industry. One of the main things we like to know before determining if an MSSP is ready to be a channel partner centers around if they have a dedicated SOC, SOC analysts, and training in threat hunting and analytics.”
But building a SOC is costly and time consuming. So instead, many organizations choose other security monitoring options like an MSSP, according to Gartner.
Historically, pure-play MSSPs such as British Telecom and Cipher have managed existing customer assets regardless of manufacturer, so there is less reliance on strategic partnerships — like MSSP partner programs.
“MSSPs have various capabilities and go-to-market strategies, some of which align to security manufacturers like McAfee,” said Ken McCray, head of channel sales and operations for the Americas at McAfee. “Several of the larger MSSPs focus on security outcomes to solve complex business problems, so they tend to develop close and strategic channel partner relationships with security manufacturers.”
For example, even though telecom carriers like AT&T have become more involved in endpoint security with its acquisition of AlienVault, a provider of end-to-end business protection solutions, AT&T Cybersecurity says it’s poised to help the channel with its MSSP partner program.
MSSP Partners’ Goals and the Channel Relationship
Another important determination endpoint security, cybersecurity and other tech companies need to make for their potential MSSP partners takes the form of the MSSP partners’ goals and if a channel relationship will enable them to achieve their objectives. Depending on the project and the prerequisite capabilities, an MSSP partner program relationship could help them.
“MSPs come with a breadth of skill sets, and they are masters of efficiency,” Robertson said. “Many MSPs are an ‘almost MSSP,’ meaning that they have a comprehensive understanding on how to beef up their clients’ security offerings across networking, OSes, software, education and backup.”
Indeed, the managed security services market has become increasingly segmented between MSSPs who look to provide technology and customization services to enterprises and those that want to stick to a strict service delivery model, according to endpoint security experts.
“MSSPs primarily interested in buyers who need customization around technology will appeal to the more mature enterprises embracing digital transformation initiatives,” said Jim Souders, CEO at Adaptiva, a provider of endpoint management and security solutions. “These digital projects are big-budget activities, and the MSSPs who pursue those opportunities stand to reach higher revenue projections than their competitors.”
MSSP Partners, and Technical and Competence Fit
When it comes to onboarding MSSP partners into an MSSP partner program, an endpoint security, cybersecurity or other technology company must ensure a technical and competence fit between them and in-house engineering resources. Security companies must strive to understand if the MSSPs’ development practices are …