Content, Content, Security Staff Acquisition & Development

Most MSPs Struggle to Find Managed Security Services Talent


Two-thirds of MSPs say a shortage of qualified IT security professionals for hire contributes to the challenge of ramping up their cybersecurity offering, and roughly half of MSPs have difficulties with remote deployment and management of their cybersecurity solutions, according to a Kaspersky Lab research report.

MSSP Alert's spin on the report is rather straightforward: With those data point in mind, most MSPs will need to partner up with full-blown MSSPs and SOC (security operations center) providers amid the journey beyond basic endpoint and firewall security management. That's why MSP-friendly companies like CarvirContinuum, ChannelSOC, InfoGressive and TrustedMetrics (among others) are emerging to potentially simplify security for MSPs, we believe.

Indeed, cybersecurity has become a top priority for MSPs, according to a survey of 569 MSPs and value-added resellers (VARs). The Kaspersky "MSP: Trends, Challenges and the Keys to Success in Managed Security in 2017" report indicated 92 percent of MSPs now include cybersecurity as part of their services portfolio, and 51 percent said cybersecurity is essential to their customers' operational continuity in the next three to five years.

Top Cybersecurity Challenges for MSPs and Their Customers

The Kaspersky report revealed the top cybersecurity challenges for MSPs include:

  • High cost of solutions.
  • Lack of security experts available for hire.
  • Remote deployment and management.
  • Lack of customer interest.
  • Low margins from security services.

The report also indicated the top cybersecurity challenges that MSPs' customers face are:

  • Protection from ransomware and cryptoware.
  • Lack of IT awareness among employees.
  • Difficult to hire IT security specialists.
  • Lack of IT expertise.
  • Spam and phishing emails.

In addition, processes such as cloud expansion (41 percent), desktop/server virtualization (38 percent) and the increasing hybridization of corporate networks (35 percent) make IT infrastructure more complex, and MSPs are tasked with finding ways to help customers safely leverage the cloud, the report indicated.

Steps to Success in Managed Security

In the Kaspersky report, respondents indicated the most important indicators of success in managed security services are:

  • Level of customer satisfaction.
  • Zero or close to zero customer incidents.
  • High level of customer retention.
  • Reputation in the target industry.
  • Reputation among managed services peers.
  • Sustainable increase in number of customers.
  • Growth in recurring revenue driven by security.
  • Growth in overall profits driven by managed security.

Ultimately, the customer is king for MSPs, particularly for those who want to capitalize on managed security services, according to Kaspersky.

To meet or exceed customers' managed security expectations, Kaspersky offered the following recommendations for MSPs:

  • Deliver a high level of automation.
  • Maintain flexibility in terms of changing regulatory requirements.
  • Perform regular reporting.
  • Be available to administer quick, effective customer support.
  • Offer protection for the entire infrastructure.

Companies across all verticals can benefit from cybersecurity support, and the expansion of security services could be a major contributing factor in the growth of the MSP market, Kaspersky indicated.

"Security is no longer seen as a separate or even optional function," Kaspersky wrote in its report. "It an integral part of the IT services delivered to customers by MSPs."

Additional insights from MSSP Alert Content Czar Joe Panettieri.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.