The good news is that the demand for managed IT services is growing, especially amongst the small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with fewer than 500 employees, which now represent 99.7% of all US businesses — and almost half of total private sector employment.
Spending by this powerhouse business group is expected to grow 20% annually over the next five years, and with 43% of cyber attacks targeting small businesses there is no better time for MSPs who’ve launched a cybersecurity service offer. So, what’s next?
Before you dive in to the ‘latest and greatest’ tools on the market (and there are many), take a step back and consider where the greatest challenges will come from over the next 1, 3 and 5 year horizons.
Some eye-opening numbers to consider:
- The cost of cybercrime is expected to double from $3T in 2015 to $6T in 2021.
- Ransomware attacks are happening with increased frequency: from every 40 seconds in 2016, to every 11 seconds in 2021.
- 82% of SMBs plan to outsource some or all of their cybersecurity in the next 12 months. While 42% said cost is a major factor in their decision to outsource, 62% said they simply lack the skills in-house to deal with security issues.
After speaking with many CEOs, founders and security services leaders at Managed Service Providers and Value-Added Resellers of all sizes, I observed three common factors that are limiting their abilities to scale. If you haven’t experienced them yet, you likely will soon, so now is the time to not only prepare for, but to tackle these challenges head-on:
1) Night, weekend and holiday staffing
Finding skilled security analysts is no small feat. We are in the thick of a global talent crisis that is projected to develop in to a shortage of 3.5 million cybersecurity professionals by 2021; so finding qualified security analysts willing to work nights and weekends can seem almost impossible. Nights and weekends also tend to be slower in terms of incidents, it therefore makes sense to pay a lesser rate for these shifts — but with analysts in such high demand, nobody needs to accept anything less than top dollar.
2) Consistent staff turnover
Growth for MSPs can be a double-edged sword. With a hot job market for experienced security analysts, the draw of a big pay check from a large enterprise is often too compelling to resist. One common solution for MSPs is to hire and train junior IT analysts, although the cost of training can quickly outweigh the benefit when analysts inevitably move onto higher-paying jobs (which also usually offer standard working hours). It’s simply not realistic for most MSPs to try and compete with a large enterprise’s pay scale.
"One of the biggest challenges I face in growing my security business is ensuring that we have the right analyst team to scale with our customers. Bolton Labs is an integral part of our talent strategy; I have been able to build out an extension of my SOC rapidly and easily. As a result, our security business is growing faster than we originally planned."
– Tom Neclerio, Vice President of Security Services at United Data Technologies.
3) Time and cost to launch
As any entrepreneur knows, scaling a business takes time. But as the speed and sophistication of cyber attacks continue to accelerate, time is a luxury you cannot afford! Starting, managing, and growing a self-built Security Operations Center requires a large investment in tools, systems, and quality talent. All of these factors combined are time-intensive and expensive, often making a DIY approach unattainable for many MSPs.
Over to you
The bottom line is: the market for cyber security services is flush with opportunity and the biggest challenge to your business successfully serving the cybersecurity needs of your customers is limited to...you. Your ability to build a security service that scales and adapts to the morphing needs of your customers is the deciding factor in their success, or their failure, when it comes to cybersecurity.
If you are ready to scale your security offer, we are here to help. Build out, supplement, or scale your security team with our large – and growing – pool of experienced analysts at a fraction of the cost of in-house teams.