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Comments Off on How The Rise in Cybersecurity Spending Can Drive a Transition to Managed Services

How The Rise in Cybersecurity Spending Can Drive a Transition to Managed Services

Posted by Admin | February 2, 2017 | IT Security

Offering managed data and security services helps service providers preserve customer loyalty

Around the country, hundreds of IT services companies offer break-fix as their core business. This model has worked well for decades, but the rise of cybersecurity concerns is changing that. By 2020, businesses are expected to spend $101.6 billion on cybersecurity tools and services.

As IT budgets are diverted from physical hardware to the digital realm, IT services providers’ margins are also taking a hit. Break-fix will continue to have its place, to be sure, but companies that continue to leverage this as their primary service model will be left in the dust by organisations shifting to managed services. Break-fix is by nature a reactive service, and it becomes difficult to estimate its unpredictable costs. What’s more, when using break-fix, profits are dependent on customers’ failures, not successes. Margins are being eroded, especially if the provider is focused on one geographic area. What, then, are the key elements of success when making the transition form break-fix to managed services?

Build customer loyalty through a natural progression

Business leaders are adopting a more forward-thinking approach to their IT investments, with innovation growing in importance versus maintenance. In its 2017 Technology Industry Outlook report, Deloitte predicted that anything as a service (XaaS), including security and data services, will continue to rise.

To position themselves as trusted advisors and win customer loyalty, IT service providers must evolve to meet their customers’ needs and priorities. For example, with the number of threats now facing businesses of all sizes, organisations are concerned about ensuring their network and data are protected. This goes beyond the scope of break-fix — a ransomware attack can’t be remedied by simply fixing or replacing hardware. Instead of simply being on call when something goes wrong, a service provider can play a role in the organisation’s broader business strategy.

Incorporating cloud-based services into the solutions portfolio can expand the reach of a service provider. This approach can also strengthen the provider’s position as a trusted advisor — the moment a system alert is received, the provider can take action to remediate the error, reducing the amount of panic-inducing downtime. Keeping software up-to-date also serves to fortify the customer against cyber threats.

Additionally, offering cloud-based data vaulting and recovery services accomplishes the goal of moving the customer’s data off-site, helping to fulfil disaster recovery objectives. These sorts of services can be particularly beneficial to SMBs, which typically don’t have the internal resources to dedicate to IT security, staffing and infrastructure.

Focus on prevention rather than cure

When moving to a managed services model, proactivity is key. To avoid downtime, clients will require monitoring services, proactive support on the network, backup and recovery, cloud computing and managed network security services.

When encouraging customers to invest in ongoing monitoring, service providers should ask the following questions:

Are there any periods of time when the environment is unmonitored (e.g. during shift changes or holidays)?

Do any on-site IT personnel lack the skills required to manage software settings, remediate failures, and so on?

When considering past downtime events or security threats, were the systems always brought online or the threats mitigated within the required time frame?

The greater the number of yes responses, the greater the risk of downtime. Some businesses might indeed have the resources required for ongoing monitoring. For those that don’t, the service provider is then in an ideal position to suggest managed services to the client.

Plan for a slow transition

Moving from break-fix to managed services should by no means be an overnight shift. Customers who are accustomed to paying for services when they need them will need to be carefully acclimated to a recurring fee structure. Service providers can emphasise the predictability of budgets the managed services model provides, as well as the diminished likelihood of downtime and costly cyber attacks.

As a caveat, adding new managed cybersecurity or cloud data services to a service provider’s portfolio can have huge payoffs, but it’s not without risk either. For example, nearly half of businesses admit there’s a talent shortage in security. This is a challenge service providers face as well, so it’s important for them to ensure they have adequate resources to support the offering. This can be done by partnering with larger managed services providers that have nationwide coverage and offer a reseller programme. To start, IT service providers can outsource low-value areas (e.g. break-fix) to gauge customer response. When offering managed services that require extensive allocation of internal resources and expertise (e.g. backup and recovery), partnering with specialist suppliers can minimise overhead without impacting the value of the solution to the customer.

Break-fix can still be part of a service provider’s business strategy, but to keep pace with the industry and minimise dwindling margins, service providers need to align themselves with organisations’ overall business strategy and take a proactive approach to helping their clients navigate cyber threats.

Source: channelpro

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