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Continuum: SMBs More Willing to Switch MSPs for Better Security

For MSPs with the right security solution, the opportunity is massive.

Edward Gately

March 27, 2019

4 Min Read

The pressure’s on MSPs more than ever to meet SMBs’ demands for cybersecurity, or risk being dumped in favor of a competitor.

That’s according to new research, “Underserved and Unprepared: The State of SMB Cyber Security in 2019,” conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by Continuum. It draws on data collected this year from 850 SMBs across the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Belgium.

Brian Downey, Continuum’s senior director of product management, tells us MSPs that don’t offer security services increasingly are running into competition from “providers that will offer managed security services, whether they are defined as MSSPs or not, and this is directly supported with this research.”


Continuum’s Brian Downney

“The message MSPs should get from this data loud and clear is if they have not taken steps to improve their capabilities around cybersecurity, they need to take those actions immediately,” he said. “SMBs continue to look at the right solution as the one that addresses their concerns. The data from this survey helps show where those concerns are, around protecting their clients’ data and systems, and protecting against threats that could cause downtime in their clients’ environments.”

Some 89 percent of SMBs surveyed would consider hiring a new MSP if they offered the right cybersecurity solution, and nearly 24 percent already have changed MSPs in the aftermath of a cyberattack.

“The overall readiness of SMBs to move was the biggest surprise for us,” Downey said. “Through our conversations, we expected most SMBs are interested in learning more about security, but this research reiterated over and over that it is not just some or most SMBs who are looking for this information, but it is virtually all SMBs. This research shows that the pendulum has swung and SMBs of all sizes know they need to know they are secure.”

SMBs planning to change providers are willing to pay nearly 24 percent more on average for the right cybersecurity offering, meaning MSPs can’t compete on price alone, according to the research. SMBs planning to stay with their MSP are more than twice as likely to rate their cybersecurity as excellent than those who plan to change MSPs.`

“The macro-level challenge and opportunity this research highlights is the need for MSPs to have security conversations with their clients and prospects,” Downey said. “This data shows that SMBs are concerned. The majority don’t feel like they are protected today and they are willing to take the steps for this additional protection. Many of the MSPs we have talked with have been hesitant to have direct and open conversations with some clients because they are worried the client will be surprised by what they are not doing.”

For MSPs with the right security solution, the opportunity is massive in that …

… 77 percent of SMBs anticipate at least half of their cybersecurity will be outsourced in five years’ time. Also, nearly four in five (78 percent) SMBs plan to invest more in cybersecurity in the next year.

“This research shows that SMBs had as much, if not more of an interest in how they would respond when an attack occurred as in preventing attacks, showing that SMBs have gotten to a level of maturity where they realize it is not realistic to stop every attack,” Downey said. “But this data doesn’t lead me to the conclusion that SMBs switching MSPs is mainly related to the MSPs’ focus on protection versus detection/response. This data leads us to believe that not discussing and responding to client security concerns is [the] first step in reducing client churn. SMBs want transparency, they want a strategy, and they want thought leadership; without this, SMBs feel exposed and are willing to shift solutions to gain that sense of comfort.”

“We have seen firsthand that the No. 1 reason MSPs lose business today is over concerns about cybersecurity, and this data now proves it,” said Michael George, Continuum’s CEO. “Providers across North America and Europe should heed the clear warning presented by these findings. Businesses expect to be protected by their MSPs, and are ready to pay more for that protection — whether from their existing MSP, or by switching to a provider that promises a better solution.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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