MSPs work in a constantly shifting and evolving space, propelled by exciting innovation and technological developments. Though this makes for dynamic work at the cutting edge of cybersecurity and IT, it also means that MSPs need to continually adapt their services and workflows to match the latest trends and industry trajectories.

 

Between August and September of last year, Vanson Bourne surveyed 400 MSPs based across the world in collaboration with Acronis and the ChannelPro Network. Their interviewees represent a cross-section of the industry covering sole proprietors, small, medium and large service providers, working with between 20 and 75 (or more) clients.

 

The survey’s findings offer key insights into the current climate in the managed services sector in relation to a diverse range of critical issues including client/vendor trust, remote working, and cyber-security concerns. This article breaks down the key takeaways from their “MSPs Speak: Cybersecurity and the future of the MSP” report, so that you can keep your finger on the pulse and understand what it means for your business.

 

97% of MSPS are concerned about cybersecurity

 

The report found that ‘MSPs face numerous challenges in providing cybersecurity services which leave them and their clients vulnerable.’ Indeed, 97% of those surveyed disclosed concerns about the risk of cybersecurity breaches affecting not only their clients but also their own networks. The survey highlighted particular concern about the risk of supply chain attacks that might compromise clients’ IT systems.

 

Smaller MSPs were found to be more adversely affected by cybersecurity risks. Due to lack of expertise, smaller employee numbers, and reliance on lackluster tools, nimble MSPs end up offering deficient security protocols and systems.

 

What MSPs can do to improve cybersecurity measures

 

With rising concerns around cybersecurity risks in both a external and internal sense, MSPs need to start reinforcing the measures they have put into place.

 

Within their own systems and networks, implementing standard protocols such as multi-factor authentication should be a given. In addition, starting conversations with clients about how to design an effective disaster recovery plan and better protect their infrastructure from cybersecurity breaches is absolutely essential. If you’ve already implemented certain measures, continually reviewing, testing, and adapting your security protocols should be standard practice.

 

49% of MSPs admitted that their clients do not completely trust them

 

In relation to the above, the report correlated concerns surrounding cybersecurity with a perceived deficiency in clients’ trust of their services. Almost half of those surveyed admitted a lack of trust between them and their clients. This means that clients are not confident in the level of security or service offered by their current MSPs, increasing the risk that they may move on to alternative providers. This lack of trust is not isolated, though. It’s systemic, starting first with MSPs lack of trust in their vendors.

 

53% of MSPS don’t trust their vendors

 

The fact that over half of surveyed MSPs don’t trust their vendors adds necessary context to the previous stat. If MSPs are unable to trust their vendors, and therefore the tools they’re using to deliver services to their clients, it’s no wonder that this trickles down to their clients.

 

How MSPs can increase trust in their supply chain

 

MSPs who are not totally confident in their vendors or tools should start immediately searching for alternative providers whose offerings engender more trust. By opting for more watertight solutions, MSPs will inherently enhance the level of security and therefore trust their clients have in them.

 

In addition, (over) communication with clients is key. Part of cultivating trust in your clients is letting them know what you’re doing for them and how. Often, your client may not even be aware of the work you’re carrying out because it happens behind the scenes, unperceived by the users of their network. This can inadvertently undermine their trust in the quality and value of your services.

 

MSPs struggle to justify raising their prices & are unsatisfied with their profit margin

 

In response to rising cybersecurity concerns, MSPs are taking measures to reinforce and strengthen their security measures. As a result, according to the report, in the past 2 years there has been, on average, a 19% increase in the cost of providing cybersecurity, back up and/or disaster recovery services. These rising costs are implicitly negatively impacting MSPs’ margins leaving providers undersatisfied with their profits. However, in tandem most MSPs are struggling to justify the consequential rise in prices to their clients.

 

How MSPs can help their clients understand rising prices

 

As above, communicating transparently and openly with your client about the nature and value of the services you’re providing will better contextualize how you price yourself.

 

Remote working is posing problems for MSPs

 

In a COVID world and beyond, it doesn’t look like remote working is going anywhere. In fact, 47% of employees predict a hybrid working model will persist until 2025. However, 97% of surveyed MSPs believe that home working poses a challenge to providing their services in a cost-effective way. This is due, in part, to a perceived lack of tools that offer sufficient capability to manage their remote environments.

 

Integrating with client workflows is a challenge

 

Finally, the report identified two major challenges that MSPs are facing. The first is the struggle to integrate their security offerings with their clients’ existing IT infrastructures and systems. The second is creating new processes and updating those processes. This is why the majority of MSPs are looking to consolidate their tools.

 

92% of MSPs want to consolidate their tools from fewer vendors

 

The surveyed MSPs work with 4 vendors on average. However, a huge majority indicated a desire to consolidate their tools and thus work with fewer vendors. The benefits from consolidation are numerous:

 

  • Reduced licensing & training costs
  • Reduced documentation and maintenance costs
  • Easier management
  • Improved vendor relations
  • Increased scope for automation
  • Reduced data loss & downtime
  • Better protection against cybersecurity breaches
  • Estimated total cost savings of $229,159
  • Increased and optimized integration
  • Better operational efficiency with an average reduction of 5 hours in cybersecurity breach or data loss incident recovery times

 

The apparent trajectory is one in favor of integrated tools that offer comprehensive holistic solutions covering cybersecurity, backup and disaster recovery tasks.

 

How MSPs can future-proof their services

 

The findings from Vanson Bourne’s survey offers key insights into the current industry landscape. By shedding light on sector-wide concerns and trends, MSPs can predict how their business might be affected, or contextualize the challenges they’ve been facing with those of their competitors. Crucially, though the survey conveys heightened concerns around cybersecurity, it also
indicates a movement towards integrated tools that offer robust security and enhanced useability, simultaneously reducing costs and streamlining workflows. Finally, it seems that the sector as a whole suffers from a chronic lack of trust between clients and their MSPs and their vendors. To secure the future of their business, MSPs need to work not only on tightening the level of security they offer, but also how they communicate the value of their work to their clients.

 

Want to learn more? Read the full report and findings from the Vanson Bourne survey.

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