Ask an MSP ExpertQ: In the new year we would like to expand our IT service business. What are some opportunities we should consider pursuing?

The new year symbolizes a fresh start — which can be a new chance for your IT services business to grow. However, finding the right opportunity and right changes to make can be challenging.

That’s why we asked Neal Bradbury, senior director of business development at Barracuda MSP, to help us investigate some potential IT service opportunities. He shared insight on a few things MSPs can’t afford to ignore, as well as emerging technology opportunities that can help you take your business to the next level.

An opportunity you can’t afford to ignore

We might not know what the next big change will be in technology, but one thing we do know for certain is that cyber-attacks aren’t going to slow down anytime soon. In 2019, IT service providers can’t afford to ignore the security opportunity any longer. The threat landscape has drastically changed over the past year and it is continuing to evolve. If you haven’t evaluated your security posture and offering in the last six months, now is the time to do it!

In 2018 we saw a plethora of attacks that targeted large corporations, government entities, and even MSPs themselves. From a security standpoint, we shouldn’t expect 2019 to be any different. As we move into the new year, IT service providers need to better position themselves to protect SMB customers from emerging threats — either by partnering with an MSSP or by offering these services themselves.

However, security efforts need to go beyond just implementing a robust toolset. It’s important to focus on awareness and training, too. MSPs need to start educating the first line of defense: the end user. One way to do this is to leverage your vendor’s tools and programs to illustrate the reality – and plausibility – of today’s sophisticated threats. For example, Barracuda MSP has a free Email Threat Scanner that shows you the types of vulnerabilities that have already entered your customers’ email. Utilizing something like this can help you start a conversation with a customer who thinks that they are just ‘too small’ to be a target.

To take a more formal approach to education, you should think about offering an email security awareness training program that can help you deliver an ongoing interactive learning experience. For example, with Barracuda MSP’s Managed PhishLine, MSPs and their customers can easily conduct phishing simulations, see who clicked on the “bad” link, and from there can educate customers on  how to spot risky links in the future.

Putting the right precautions and educational programs in place can help customers better protect their data from sophisticated attacks by adding an additional layer – a human layer – of security.

Emerging technology opportunities

If you are looking for additional growth opportunities in the market, there are a handful of options to consider that might be of interest to you or your customers. In CompTIA’s 7th State of the Channel Trends in the Technology Ecosystem report, it was found that there is an increased opportunity for providers who are experimenting with or currently offering IoT managed services, AI or machine learning, virtual reality, and blockchain services. 

Further, the IDC predicts that by 2021 that these emerging technologies will account for 23 percent of all information technology spending.

This presents a tremendous opportunity for IT providers who are poised to take on this challenge. However, based on CompTIA’s research, this could be a threat for providers who need more technical training or staff.

As we move forward in 2019, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for IT service providers to grow their portfolio — as well as their customer base. The challenge is identifying and then tapping into the right opportunity for your business, technical staff, and ultimately, your customers.


Photo: tadamichi / Shutterstock.

Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is a content and product marketer with several years of experience in the IT channel. She has created and developed content that helps managed service providers grow their business, and has written many articles featured in SmarterMSP’s The MSP’s Bookshelf and Ask an MSP Expert series.

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