3 benefits of including managed security services in your MSP practice
Have you ever considered offering managed security services as part of your managed service provider (MSP) business? It may seem like an intimidating or complex endeavor that takes a long time to provide substantial return on investment (ROI).
In reality, adding managed security services to your MSP is much more achievable than you might imagine. Plus, the demand for these services continues to increase: Our 2021 State of SMB Cybersecurity report produced in collaboration with Vanson Bourne found that 77% of SMBs are planning increase their level of investment in cybersecurity in 2021.
This shows that cybersecurity services are no longer a “nice-to-have” — if you’re looking for long-term success and scalability, you should seriously consider adding cybersecurity services to your MSP.
Read on to find out what managed security services are and the benefits of including them as part of your MSP offerings.
What are managed security services?
Managed security services, often referred to in the context of Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs), are any cybersecurity services that a business outsources to a third-party organization. These can include services such as vulnerability scanning, cyber threat monitoring/management, incident response and investigation, endpoint security services, and more.
When thinking about the range of managed security services that exist on the market today, it’s important to distinguish between MSSPs and MSPs that place an emphasis on cybersecurity — also known as an MSP+. Here are a few traits of each to help you tell the difference.
- Owns and operates their own Security Operations Center (SOC)
- Installs and uses enterprise-level tools and technology
- Staffs the business around the clock with cybersecurity professionals
- Targets large/enterprise customers
On the other hand, an MSP+:
- Partners with a vendor for SOC services
- Leverages advanced tools and services using an as-a-service model
- Has some certified security professionals on staff
- Targets SMB customers
Both MSSPs and MSPs can become very lucrative businesses that offer managed cybersecurity services. However, it’s worth noting that many MSPs we interact with find that transitioning to become an MSSP can be difficult due to the upfront costs and ongoing investment required to build and maintain in-house security infrastructure. Additionally, some MSPs prefer to focus on the SMB market. For this reason, the following benefits all apply to an MSP+, or an MSP that decides to offer select managed security services.
A competitive advantage over other MSPs
According to our 2021 State of SMB Cybersecurity report, nine out of 10 small businesses would consider switching IT service providers if they found a new one that offered the “right” cybersecurity services. This highlights the growing number of SMBs that are recognizing the importance of cybersecurity and are willing to make changes to keep their organizations protected.
In addition to offering managed security services, how can you ensure that prospective customers view your MSP as the “right” cybersecurity solution? Top factors that businesses consider include:
- Confidence in the provider’s ability to effectively respond to security incidents
- Confidence in its ability to minimize damage
- Total price of the offering
- Certifications of its resources and capabilities
Overall, organizations are interested in looking beyond the tools involved in an offering and evaluating an MSP’s security expertise and trust factors. That’s why we recommend that any MSP considering adding managed security services first get up to speed on essential cybersecurity terminology to facilitate productive conversations with potential customers. If you can show that you’re willing to be a strategic educator and cybersecurity partner, you will have a much better chance of outpacing the competition and gaining a reputation for security expertise.
New revenue streams + opportunities for cross-selling
For many years, break/fix — aka services billed on an as-needed, non-recurring basis — was the standard business model for service providers in the IT space.
Now more and more companies are realizing they can increase business longevity and scalability through a recurring revenue MSP model. If your organization is looking for ways to create new recurring revenue streams, consider this: Security services are valuable, high-margin solutions that can significantly increase the monthly recurring revenue (MRR) you generate from each client.
In addition to attracting new customers who are on the hunt for an IT service provider with cybersecurity capabilities, adding managed security services to your MSP also provides a big opportunity to cross-sell to existing customers. Successful cross-selling starts with being proactive about identifying potential security risks for your clients and having a conversation about how you might be able to help.
For example, during a monthly check-in or quarterly business review meeting with a client, you can offer to conduct a risk assessment and recommend actionable next steps to bolster cybersecurity. This can open the door to adding managed security services such as threat intelligence and SOC-as-a-Service onto their contract.
Increased scalability across the business
Being able to educate SMBs on the cybersecurity landscape and clearly position your managed security services as the ideal solution to their needs is the key to long-term relationships and increasing scalability. With both current and prospective customers, you want them to view you as a trusted advisor who is authentic, transparent, and always acting with their best interests in mind. A customer-centric mindset is the best way to earn new revenue streams, maximize referrals, and drive higher technology standards across your business.
While not quite the same as a full-fledged MSSP model, taking the MSP+ approach can provide a path for scalability by transforming your business into a one-stop shop for traditional IT support plus risk mitigation for the modern cybersecurity environment.
Level Up Your MSP with Managed Security Services
As you can see, including managed security services in your MSP business is a dependable way to stand out from the competition, unlock new revenue streams, and provide more value to your customers. Cybersecurity is a worthwhile business practice and a lucrative market opportunity within the IT industry. Better serving and protecting your clients while making more money is a true win-win.