Guest Column | August 5, 2021

What Keeps MSPs Up At Night?

By A.N. Ananth, Netsurion

Question Bad Idea

If you ask, dwindling loyalty, margins and workers are a recipe for many a sleepless night. But one way that MSPs can overcome these challenges is by delivering high-value, in-demand services that others cannot, such as cybersecurity. This can be easily introduced to any MSP portfolio by partnering with an MSSP.

Making this distinction and bringing additional services to the table can help to combat the obstacles MSPs are facing in a competitive market. Like any business, standing out in the market and establishing strong customer relationships is integral to success.

Current Challenges To MSP Success

For many MSPs, customer loyalty has become a thing of the past. In a commodity service like oil changes, for example, a $5 off coupon is probably enough to get a customer to switch. While managed services are a far cry from an oil change, MSPs share the concerns about becoming commoditized. While it is not a simple process, customers do switch MSPs – especially when the customer does not value what the MSP is delivering. Or, at least, does not see that the MSP is delivering something more than a commodity

This commoditization also has led to falling margins. With MSP services becoming more ubiquitous, customers are likely to go for the provider who can do the same as the others at a lower price. To retain customers, who can easily leave for a cheaper option, many MSPs have had to drop prices to match other providers. This has been a major hit to the MSP sector, and as things get more competitive, margins may shrink even more.

Compounding these issues, the technology skills gap has made finding, hiring, and retaining a workforce more difficult than ever. Everybody is looking for skilled IT workers, and oftentimes the hiring market makes it feel like there are not nearly enough workers to go around.

Mitigating MSP Nightmares With An MSSP Partnership

Cybersecurity is the differentiator that can take MSP services from a dime a dozen to a unique, irreplaceable investment. By partnering with an MSSP, MSPs can:

  1. Command Greater Customer Loyalty. Backed by the added services an MSSP can provide, MSPs can secure customer loyalty. Cybersecurity is quickly becoming a top priority to businesses, and customers will stick with a provider they trust. Just as they would not trade out a trusted doctor who knows their history for another, slightly cheaper doctor, they will not go through the laborious effort to switch services from an MSP delivering enterprise-level cybersecurity to a slightly cheaper MSP without this addition.
  2. Deliver Higher Margins. Partnering with an MSSP also upgrades an MSP from a commodity into a critically needed service. With added cybersecurity, customers are now relying on an MSP for services that are harder to deliver, essential to today’s enterprise space, and require knowledge of their environment. This makes an MSP harder to replace, allowing them to generate higher margins.
  3. Deploy a Full Workforce. With the right MSSP partner, skilled workers are part of the package. MSPs do not need to worry about hiring, training, or retention. The MSSP partner is responsible for all these pain points and will supply cybersecurity and IT experts that can deliver on these high-value services.

Bringing The Full Toolkit To The Table

Managed services are designed to improve operations, and this role is due for an upgrade. Regardless of vertical, cybersecurity is top-of-mind, especially with technological integrations reigning supreme in the WFH era. This makes it a particularly important value-add to existing MSP core services and offerings, and it will only grow in importance.

The most successful MSPs will incorporate cybersecurity into their services, and the easiest way to do this is with an MSSP. This will elevate their market status and enable them to bring a fuller toolkit of solutions to their customers to meet their evolving needs.

Equipped with the solutions, expertise, and skilled workforce that MSSPs can bring to the table, MSPs can secure customer loyalty, higher margins, and a full IT security team. This important layer of services can help them to stand out in the market and end their sleepless nights.

About The Author

A.N. Ananth is president at Netsurion, and co-creator of its threat protection platform, EventTracker. He is a leading expert in IT security and compliance with over 25 years of experience in IT control and operations. Ananth utilizes his extensive cybersecurity background to consult for many companies on their security and compliance strategies, audit policies, and automated reporting processes.