Neal Bradbury of Barracuda MSP offers three predictions about what's upcoming for the MSP channel in 2018.
From vendor consolidation to cyberattacks and widespread concern about the forthcoming GDPR compliance deadline — the IT channel was full of calls-to-action during 2017. Looking into the future some of these issues will continue to evolve and cause channel partners to work smarter and faster to meet the needs of their clients and the demands of the market. And, with that in mind, while no one knows exactly how these trends will manifest themselves, here are three predictions we have for MSPs in 2018:
- Security remains “white-hot.” We haven’t seen the last of the likes of WannaCry, NotPetya, Cloudbleed, and other major data breaches and hacks. As technology becomes more sophisticated, we can expect to see more inventive ways in which cybercriminals attempt to steal data. And, if we’ve learned anything from the recent cybersecurity attacks, it’s that no security plan is 100-percent fool-proof. But, there are a few things that MSPs should consider when it comes to protecting their customers’ data, applications, and infrastructure.
First of all, comprehensive data protection solutions that include a wide range of capabilities, such as file-based and image backup, on-premises and cloud backups, and virtual machine backup and recovery support, offer the best protection. When it comes to security, next-generation firewalls that include features such as intelligent traffic regulation, advanced threat protection, multiple antivirus engines, an IDS (intrusion detection system) and IPS (intrusion prevention system) are best for protecting customers against malware, ransomware, and zero-day exploits.
- The push toward more automation continues. When MSPs are able to automate repeatable tasks that would normally require dedicated staff, they’ll find they can take on more work and increase overall productivity. And, integration with professional services automation (PSA) and remote monitoring and management (RMM), is one way to simplify operations, maximize efficiencies, and increase profitability. Furthermore, for multi-cloud deployments that include a mix of public, private and on-premises solutions, automation is also becoming increasingly critical to securing these environments. MSPs should also look to engage with vendor partners that understand the hybrid model and can provide interfaces that ease the integration process.
- More MSPs will add managed security services to their portfolios. According to a recent study conducted by The 2112 Group and Barracuda MSP, 68 percent of service providers surveyed in North America and Europe point to managed services as their best source of business growth — but, only 15 percent currently offer managed security services. Further, nearly three out of five (59 percent) of the surveyed channel companies believe managed services pricing will increase relative to 2016 prices. And, nearly one-quarter of those surveyed believe managed services prices will increase significantly.
With nearly every office application migrating to a service model, i.e. Office 365, the need for security and data protection services, especially among SMBs, is only going to increase in the coming year. The opportunity is ripe for the picking, and it is up to the MSP how they take advantage of it. Customers know they need better security, and they are either going to purchase security services from their current MSP or find another MSP that can protect them.
It is a very exciting time to be in and around the IT channel, and the future holds great promise for MSPs and MSSPs. Those who take note of and, more importantly, take action around these and other emerging trends will be well on their way to achieving success in 2018 and beyond.
Neal Bradbury is Senior Director of Business Development for Barracuda MSP, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for generating greater business value for the company’s MSP partner community and alliance partners.