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Demand for managed security services grows

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Dima Dabbour, Sophos.
Dima Dabbour, Sophos.

Customers are increasingly seeking cyber security services from their trusted managed services providers (MSPs), to help ensure the survival of their newly digital businesses.

This is according to Dima Dabbour, senior channel account executive: MSP at Sophos, who was speaking at a webinar hosted by Sophos in collaboration with ITWeb, on Cyber Security as a Service for MSPs.

Dabbour said: “Companies have realised that they need to go digital to survive. Cyber security is about securing the digital entity of the company, which means it is very important for survival.” 

She noted that customers were also coming to understand that cyber security extended beyond antivirus and backup. “They need to secure the entire boundary-less entity, across public cloud, remote users and applications,” she said.

There is a big market opportunity driven by customers themselves – they need to increase security and they want to shift from capex to opex.  Dabbour said this presented a significant opportunity for MSPs and managed security service providers (MSSPs). “The total managed services market is expected to reach $268.25 billion by 2023, and cyber security accounts for around 30% of this total.”

To meet growing demand, Dabbour said more resellers were transitioning to MSPs, and MSPs were expanding their scope to become MSSPs.

A poll of webinar participants found that 81% were experiencing increased demand from customers for security related services although 50% currently did not offer security services.

For resellers and MSPs aiming to become MSSPs, Dabbour advised: “Customers don’t really care what product lies behind your services, as long as the service effectively secures their business. You are not selling a product, you are selling a solution. Many people perceive on-demand and as-you-go models as not offering customer ‘stickiness’, but we find the opposite to be true. Customers tend to compare commodity products purely on price, but as long as services are good, they tend to stick with a service provider regardless of small differences in price.”

She said recurring revenue, customer loyalty and higher profitability were among the benefits of offering managed services. As a virtual CIO, you build trust and gain ‘sticky’ customers, she said.

Dabbour outlined how businesses should move toward becoming MSSPs.

“The first thing is to decide how to create a service offering, with SLAs and MSP contracts; then to calculate service costs and selling price; and what staff will be needed, whether they will need training, and what roles they will have. 

"After you decide on the service offering, you need to decide what technologies will back up the service – what products you will offer, how you will monitor customers, manage service tickets, and automate billing; and how you will buy the licenses for these services. 

"Finally, you will look at your go-to-market model – which customers to target, how to sell managed services, and MSP sales campaigns.”

Dabbour highlighted the Sophos programme for MSPs, which offers a broad range of consolidated solutions, with integrated management and a ready-made managed threat response service. 

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