1) What will a successful MSP look like in three to five years' time?
In the coming years, successful MSPs will leverage vendor expertise and demand solutions that consolidate their services through a single unified platform with end-to-end provisioning, ticketing, billing and support automation. This approach will allow MSPs to scale their business without adding headcount or additional resources. As a result, successful MSPs will generate more than 80 per cent of their revenue through monthly subscriptions, while handling all aspects of an end customer's business, from cloud services to security to compliance, and everything in between.
2) What has been the most important development in the MSP space over the last 12 months?
The most important development in the MSP space over the last 12 months is the realization that there is a massive opportunity for MSPs to differentiate their businesses by positioning themselves as security advisors for their customers. The cyberthreat landscape is moving too quickly and end users need help and guidance to ensure they're being protected from today's sophisticated attacks. It's critical for MSPs to get creative and provide more knowledge and educational resources for their customers - which in turn supports upselling and cross selling- to really take advantage of this opportunity.
3) If an MSP had to invest in just one new technology, which one should they pick and why?
The accelerated adoption of public cloud environments is presenting new data security challenges for the channel, as MSPs lack the visibility and security needed to protect their customers from the onslaught of advanced cyberattacks that continue to target organizations' hybrid and all-cloud platforms. Continuous visibility of public cloud infrastructure is vital for businesses to ensure compliance and to know what to protect. However, multiple development teams within an organization and an ever-changing, auto-scaling environment make this difficult for IT security. Today, MSPs need deep learning to highlight and mitigate threat exposure across multiple public cloud environments. The continued expansion of Sophos' current capabilities in cloud security, including the company's acquisition of Avid Secure and launch of Sophos Cloud Optix, will enable partners to help their customers evolve and adapt to the changing threat and infrastructure landscape and protect their data endpoints and networks, irrespective of their cloud architecture.
4) Do you think MSPs should be outsourcing core functions such as their helpdesk and security services?
Given the talent shortage and knowledge gap that the technology industry is facing today, it can be effective for MSPs to outsource core functions if they are lacking the necessary in-house technical experience. Specialized services, like security, require deep in-depth technical knowledge, so most MSPs either need to invest in improving their own expertise internally, or consider outsourcing. While adding this expertise externally or internally will likely lead to increased profitability because it allows an MSP to provide higher value services at a greater cost, MSPs also need to accept that margins will decrease if they decide to outsource these core functions.
5) What's the biggest threat to an MSP's business today?
Blended cyberattacks are the biggest threats to MSP businesses today. Typically used by nation state attackers, blended attacks, which merge automation and targeted human hacking skills for one powerful attack, are now being deployed by everyday cybercriminals. As a result, operations come to a halt, demanding MSPs spend significant time and resources on onsite remediation to figure out and explain to customers exactly how a threat entered the organization. Sophos will continue to dedicate itself to innovating technology, so that MSPs can arm their customers with defenses to predict these types of attacks and eliminate the need for remediation.