Over the past few years, cybersecurity has grown more complex. As individuals and businesses grow increasingly connected, there are more opportunities than ever for cybercriminals to attack. As both businesses and consumers continue to learn about current cybersecurity dangers, MSPs will increasingly be expected to enhance their own security capabilities.
But this doesn’t mean MSPs need to do everything on their own. In many cases, it may make sense for MSPs to round out their own capabilities by partnering with a specialized security provider. Today, I’ll discuss seven reasons why partnering with a security provider could be a sound strategic move for your MSP business.
1. Market demand for security services will continue to grow
MSPs need to respond to market demand. The IT industry and the needs of businesses continue to change each year, and there have been multiple forces driving increased investments in security.
Newer compliance regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have required businesses to invest more of their budgets in protecting customers’ data. And with increased data breach reporting requirements, the general public has grown more aware of data breaches in general. As businesses continue experiencing and having to report on data breaches, expect the demand for security services to grow even more. You will likely run into customers who expect you to handle their security for them, even if that’s not your primary domain.
2. Criminals can easily outpace MSPs
Cybercriminals constantly evolve. As businesses improve at deflecting attacks, cybercriminals search for new ways to get around current cybersecurity countermeasures, or a new vulnerability to exploit.
While cybercriminals make their living attacking businesses, most MSP owners and employees don’t have the same amount of time to spend educating themselves on the latest developments. Even if you subscribe to one or more threat intelligence feeds to stay up-to-date with active threats around the world or in a particular industry, turning information from these feeds into actionable steps can be hard when you’re already juggling multiple other duties as an MSP owner or employee. While you should always try to stay educated—and we’ll do our best to make sure that happens via our blog—you don’t always have the time to stay as up-to-date as someone who specializes in security.
3. The foundations may no longer be enough
For years, managing your environment well was enough to protect businesses—to a reasonable degree, anyway. Now, while most attacks can still be prevented through patching, employing email security, or enforcing strong password policies, security incidents still will happen.
Instead, you’ll have to actively monitor customer networks for potential threats and have a strong incident response plan in place to deal with attacks. If you aren’t already comfortable with these tools and processes, you may want to reach out to another provider to help.
4. Advanced security tools need time to learn and operate
In the previous point, I mentioned actively monitoring for potential threats. To do this, you’ll have to collect, organize, and analyze logs from across your customer base. This typically requires a security information and event management (SIEM) tool to even come close to managing. These tools take time to learn and expertise to configure and maintain. For example, you’ll need the expertise to be able to distinguish between real security events and false alarms, and you’ll need additional expertise to tweak the system to minimize false positives and false negatives over time. You can certainly pick this up on your own, but it could take a lot of false steps and will require a large time investment your behalf.
5. Security requires more than technology alone
Cybersecurity requires much more than technical tools and the knowledge to operate them. It requires critical and strategic thinking from people with the experience to make the right decisions. An MSSP partner can help you build out a security program for customers that combines monitoring and advisory services. In today’s threat landscape, you need to be able to accurately assess risk for both your own MSP and your clients. An MSSP partner can help you properly evaluate risks, map that onto a business, and make strategic choices to both secure your own MSP and your customers’ businesses.
6. Hiring in house could be challenging
Of course, you could consider hiring someone in house to build out a security function on your staff. And eventually, this could be a wise course. But if you aren’t already a security expert, vetting candidates may be challenging. You won’t necessarily know what to look for or how best to build out a team at first. On top of it, security experts are in high demand due to a security skills shortage. Indeed, some publications have claimed that the number of unfilled security positions tops four million globally. You’ll be competing with other organizations for talent, including services providers who specialize in security and enterprises with large wallets and full security teams. Partnering removes the headaches from recruiting and lets you learn the ropes before you make a first security hire.
7. It’s a growth opportunity without an efficiency loss
Partnering with another security provider gives you the chance to reach new customers and offer more advanced services without having to drastically increase your overhead. Instead of having to manage a full team of security professionals, you can work with one vendor who carries a lot of the brunt of detecting threats. This means you can focus on maintaining your existing customer relationships and bringing in new customers.
Make it easy on yourself
You can certainly try to tackle all your customers’ security needs on your own. But if you’re not already fully comfortable with running SIEM tools, interpreting and applying threat intelligence, and performing incident response, then you might want to consider teaming up with a specialized security provider. It can let you offer new, advanced services and make sure you don’t have to go it alone.
If you’re looking for a good provider, you can try partnering with one of our approved security vendors via our Threat Monitoring Service Provider program. They use SolarWinds® Threat Monitor, a cloud-based SIEM product, to detect threats to your customers’ network while you maintain the customer relationship. Learn more about both SolarWinds Threat Monitor and the TMSP program by contacting a solutions specialist here.
Tim Brown is VP of Security for SolarWinds MSP. He has over 20 years of experience developing and implementing security technology, including identity and access management, vulnerability assessment, security compliance, threat research, vulnerability management, encryption, managed security services, and cloud security. Tim’s experience has made him an in-demand expert on cybersecurity, and has taken him from meeting with members of Congress and the Senate to the Situation Room in the White House. Additionally, Tim has been central in driving advancements in identity frameworks, has worked with the US government on security initiatives, and holds 18 patents on security-related topics.