Five Predictions for the Channel in 2019

Credit: Getty Images

As this year comes to a close, it’s time to look back and reflect on growth, trends, and what we see happening in 2019. As margins on hardware and software decrease, many Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Value Added Resellers (VARs) had to put on a new hat and learn how to approach their businesses as a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) to combat shrinking margins. In 2018, we also saw an increase in partners looking to break into the small-to medium-size business (SMB) market. 2019 should bring excitement and growth for the channel. Below are predictions about how the channel market will transform this coming year.

Guy Cunningham, Netsurion
Author: Netsurion's Guy Cunningham

1. More MSPs will Build Advanced Cybersecurity Practices

This trend is both real and necessary for MSPs to be successful in the coming year. In 2018, we saw the MSP community collectively begin to educate themselves on next-gen solutions. The cybersecurity technology marketplace does not have a shortage of tools to deploy. The problem is that a handful of tools cobbled together will result in a deployment mess that trickles down to poor service for the end user. In 2019, we will see more MSPs looking at cybersecurity holistically and implementing solutions that utilize centralized log management, event monitoring, endpoint protection, network- and host-based intrusion detection, threat intelligence, and deception.

2. RMM Vendors will Continue to Build Alliances with Advanced Cybersecurity Vendors

This past year, we have seen the beginnings of Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) vendors building cybersecurity-focused solutions into their offerings. Datto introduced protection from ransomware at the backup. SolarWinds acquired Trusted Metrics, a self-services log analytics and scanning tool. Continuum acquired CARVIR, a SOC provider that partners with SentinelOne and EventTracker. ConnectWise acquired or made investments in Perch and Sienna. This trend will continue to become more prominent in 2019 as the threatscape continues to expand and change, calling for more advanced protection.

3. MSPs will Beef Up their Own Internal Security

In 2018, we saw MSPs being targeted by hackers. Earlier this quarter, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned MSPs, Cloud Services Providers (CSP), and MSSPs to remain vigilant as cyber criminals are exploiting them to creep unnoticed into their customers’ networks. Hackers are attacking service providers as the critical link in a supply chain to get to their customers.

The phishing attacks targeting stolen credentials, misused admin tools, and signature-based malware faults show the vulnerabilities of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and the need for a tightly-controlled RMM. In 2019, we expect to see MSPs locking down their internal security to address this rapidly growing problem.

4. MSPs will Partner with Managed Security Offerings to Focus on the SMB Market

There are currently about 1 million unfilled security jobs in the cybersecurity industry. The talent gap continues to grow making it unreasonable for MSPs to recruit, train, and retain qualified professionals at a reasonable cost. The talent gap will push MSPs to join partner programs that offer managed options, making cybersecurity products like Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools, accessible to SMBs with small budgets. In 2019, we expect to see MSPs with a customer deficit if they do not build cybersecurity practices.

5. SMB Customers will Look to MSPs to Consolidate Services

SMBs might be the most vulnerable customer an MSP can acquire. SMBs often feel they are not a target because they think they can go unnoticed by hackers. However, breaches are inevitable for unprotected SMBs. According to Verizon DBIR, 58% of all malware attacks target small businesses. We predict that in 2019, SMBs will look to MSPs for cybersecurity solutions and cost control. In addition, we expect to see SMBs choosing solutions built on SD-WAN / SD-Branch and cloud-based service chaining, resulting in massive growth in that product area.

As a service provider, set a new goal to help your business grow in 2019. Determine what you can help your customers with and find a trusted partner to augment your capabilities.

The Netsurion partner program is a compliance and security game changer. Contact us to learn more about the partner program benefits and our full suite of connectivity, security and compliance solutions – from the endpoint to the edge.

Guy Cunningham is VP of channel sales and alliances at Netsurion, which offers the EventTracker security platform.