As the build to Global MSP Day 2020 continues, Smarter MSP discussed the upcoming virtual event with eight-time CRN Channel Chief, Neal Bradbury.
Neal shared his outlook on the current state of the managed services industry and opportunities that will emerge for MSPs that attend the Global MSP Day event, which takes place this Thursday, May 21.
Q&A with Neal Bradbury
Q: From your perspective, what is the purpose of MSP Day and why is it important?
MSP Day celebrates those who have taken the journey of becoming a managed service provider and provides them with the recognition and resources they deserve. MSP Day serves to bring the entire managed services community together and help them grow their businesses.
The occasion offers those in the community the opportunity to address the recent challenges their business has faced and how they have overcome them, or even to address issues they are still struggling with. This sharing of both recent success stories and ongoing pain points allows others in the community to learn how they can find a path to overcoming any shared obstacles.
Q: What are the most notable changes you’ve seen in the MSP industry in the recent past?
Security has now been positioned front and center in the minds of vendors, providers and customers in the managed services industry. A growing number of small and medium businesses are finding it nearly impossible to deal with the onslaught of the cyberthreats and attacks directed their way on their own. This has created a need for them to partner with an MSP to properly protect their business.
From an MSP’s perspective, this new security-centric focus has impacted nearly every facet of their business. Most MSPs have changed the way they market, sell, and even structure their organization to best highlight their cybersecurity services, so they can meet the needs of SMB customers and land new business.
Q: If you could give a partner 3 pieces of advice for growth, what would they be?
My first piece of advice is one that I received from a previous CEO I worked with and is simply: ‘Be first or be different.’ MSPs need to find a way to differentiate themselves from competitors to prove their value. This is easiest when your MSP is first to do something. Unfortunately, being first won’t be possible too often. Look to focus your MSP’s vertical specialization, product line, service agreements, or anything else in a unique way that allows it to stand out from the crowd.
Next, I would emphasize automating wherever possible. Automation is one of the single greatest tools that technology providers have at their fingertips. It will make your business more efficient in every way, from removing the risk of human error to putting more time back in your technician’s day. This frees up your staff to focus on work that needs their expertise and attention rather on than time-consuming, repetitive tasks.
Lastly, MSPs should standardize their solution stack across all customers. Trying to stay knowledgeable and trained on too many different solutions is not scalable and ultimately jeopardizes the end customer experience. Standardizing allows for improved efficiency and scale, the benefits of which can be passed on to and appreciated by those customers, who can rest assured that their MSP knows the ins and outs of the solution set they have chosen to use.
Q: What do you see as the main opportunities for MSPs in the next 1-2 years?
MSPs need to evaluate their solution set from the perspective of security. The threat landscape is changing rapidly as new threats are emerging with increased frequency, as hackers consistently build and replace new cyberattacks.
During this recent COVID-19 crisis, many SMBs have discovered new benefits that come from having certain employees work from home. With more folks continuing to work remote even as stay at home orders lift, multi-factor authentication and remote access will be important to protecting these end users as hackers keep their focus on the more isolated and vulnerable remote workforce. This creates an opportunity for MSPs to provide more long-term optimization of supporting WFH arrangements and securing remote workers.
Q: What do you see as the core security technologies an MSP should offer?
As I mentioned before, automation is key, along with email threat detection and elimination. As far as specific products, Barracuda Sentinel, Managed Phishline, and Barracuda RMM offer email-centric focus and automated technologies such as AI, end-user training, security assessments, and patch management.
The reasons why I would suggest these security technologies are easily observable. There are countless of SMBs being hit with ransomware and phishing, and even the MSPs that serve these SMB customers have been targeted themselves. There is no such thing as a target being too big or too small for hackers to aim at. Just look at the recent story of “Shark Tank” judge Barbara Corcoran nearly losing almost $400,000 in an elaborate email scam.
Neal’s interest and excitement for Global MSP Day is shared by many of the MSPs that have already registered for the virtual event. Make sure your MSP does the same to take advantage of all the insights and resources that will emerge from the global MSP community during this collaborative event.
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