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Also needed are deeper discussions about security between MSPs and their SMB customers, the study concludes.
October 16, 2019
CONTINUUM NAVIGATE — MSPs need to do a better job bolstering their own IT security to serve their SMB customers, while also finding new ways to help their SMB customers understand why they should be increasing their IT security spending to better protect their businesses from cyberattackers.
Those are two of the key conclusions from a new research report that surveyed about 200 MSPs across the United States on IT security in connection with their SMB customers. The report, compiled and conducted by market researchers Vanson Bourne, was sponsored by IT platform vendor Continuum, and unveiled here at Continuum’s partner and customer conference in Las Vegas.
The report, “Under Attack: The State of MSP Cybersecurity in 2019,” concluded that much more work is needed from MSPs and their customers to make a dent in fighting cyberattacks and security vulnerabilities they face.
Among the conclusions in the study are that 74% of MSPs have suffered a cyberattack in the last year, with 83% reporting that their SMB customers have suffered one as well.
Continuum’s Brian Downney
“What jumped out that there was no question that customers are counting on their MSPs to provide security, but that at this point they aren’t being covered,” Brian Downey, vice president of security product at Continuum, told Channel Futures. “What we saw was that enormous numbers of MSPs wanted to prioritize security” to better serve their customers and protect their own operations.
Previously, many SMBs said they didn’t feel that security threats affected them because they thought their businesses were too small to be on the radar of cybercriminals, said Downey. But in the last year and a half, much of that attitude has changed, he said.
The changing focus from customers has come in reaction to a huge tidal wave of cybercrime that is more frequently targeting SMBs today, he said. MSPs have seen shifts from customers who previously said they didn’t see threats to their operations and who now say they see material threats to their IT security, said Downey.
The new survey also finds that many MSPs don’t have the self-confidence in being able to provide adequate IT security for their own operations as well as for their customers, he said. Some 67% of respondents said they weren’t confident that they could protect their clients or themselves from an attack.
For channel partners, this is a challenge that must be addressed, said Downey.
“The overall feeling is that we’re seeing clients want more from security and that MSPs don’t feel prepared,” he said.
Downey said that much of the problem has been caused by IT vendors that have typically ignored the IT security needs of MSPs while focusing on enterprises. In response, improving IT security for MSPs and their customers is one of the areas that Continuum is targeting, he said.
“I feel good about where we are. We had announced three years ago that we were getting more into security and we have heavily invested,” he said.
Other interesting conclusions of the study include that some 80% of MSPs found they have challenges selling security to their clients because many clients don’t think that they require it, while some 40% of customers said they can’t find …
… qualified IT workers to hire in-house who have the needed security skills, said Downey.
Filling that role has been Continuum’s business for some time as the company provides MSPs with software-as-a-service platforms that offer IT security, backup, remote monitoring and management, and other services which can then be provided through their partners to SMB customers.
“Our partners have access to a worldwide security operations center,” he said. “We’ve removed the need for an MSP to have a team in-house and we provide them with resources to serve their customers.”
As part of its efforts to help its partners grow their businesses, especially when it comes to security services, Continuum has been making strides to improve training to partners so they can better talk with their end-user customers about the value of security services to their businesses, said Downey. At Navigate 2019, the company had a training day that provided specialized certification training for about 126 new graduates of the Continuum Certify program.
“It was a full day of onsite training work with MSPs to provide them with insights on security and how to have conversations around security with their customers,” he said. “Security is a very difficult sell for MSPs. We recognize that MSPs have to have this conversation with their clients.”
Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and eWEEK.com, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.
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