Leave the Security Nightmare to your Trusted Managed Security Service Provider

Adoption of new technologies like mobile, analytics and cloud are resulting in a diverse and complex IT environment unlike anything we have seen, spanning multiple delivery models, vendors, processes and data. Both the business and technological drivers are responsible for this level of complexities. The business drivers increase the communication and transaction, whereas the technological drivers represent the fast-paced growth. At the same time, vulnerabilities are growing fast, whereas the budget for the security group is flat and faces resource crunches. Managing such a complex environment can be challenging. As a result, organizations cannot do it alone and need to look for a trusted IT services provider to help them quickly respond to business demands, manage ICT complexities, support desired levels of availability and adopt technology innovation. Managed services span a range of capabilities, creating options for organizations looking to benefit from externally provided services that allow them to focus on more business-critical issues and strategic functions and activities.

As per AMI’s Global Market Model, 24% of the global small, medium and large businesses (SMLBs) ICT spending will be driven through Managed Service Providers (MSPs), during 2021 with a 17% CAGR growth over 5 years. The scenario is even more promising when it comes to APAC SMLB organizations with a CAGR growth of 20% on MSP business contributions by 2021. Be it small companies, mid-sized or large businesses, look to trusted managed services providers to address a range of the issues around cost, complexity, service quality and risk. With the increase of hybrid IT environments based on the workloads, cloud is the new normal and has become the mainstream for managed services delivery. Around 55% MSPs in APAC countries interviewed for AMI’s WW Managed Service Provider study, indicates using a Hybrid Cloud model to run their business.

With these increased complexities in the enterprise ICT infrastructure, security has become a much deeper executive discussion because of the modern diversity of channels through which businesses can be attacked. Mobility, bring your own device, virtualisation, the cloud, and social media have all opened new doors into the organization. Adding pressure to organizations is the fact that technologies, business models, regulatory environments, and the threat landscape are evolving continuously. So, security has become a broad discipline that affects the entire organization and calls for a range of highly specialized and dynamic skills and technologies that most businesses don’t currently have. Organizations need enough highly qualified engineers and security specialists to run the security systems 24/7, analyse the information continuously, and be able to respond immediately. This also needs continuous technology updates and the cumulative experience, insight, and knowledge of thousands of independent security experts globally to pre-empt attacks. This almost impossible mission must be achieved. Thus, giving thrust of managed security services adopted by businesses globally. Providing security services as part of the broader managed service offering was always a key offering from the leading managed service providers and will continue to be so. Around 80% of the MSPs interviewed in APAC highlighted managed security services as one of their key offering which is expected to contribute over a quarter of their overall managed service revenue annually.

The opportunity for partners offering managed security services will not go away any time soon. Driving that trend is the shortage of security talent to deliver the right service in-house. There is no shortage of tools to help secure networks and data. However, tools alone can’t prevent security breaches. Managed Security Services typically offer the security solutions like Managed Firewall, Managed Intrusion Detection and Prevention, Managed Email Gateway, Managed Web Gateway, Managed Web Application Firewall (WAF) and Monitored & managed integrated security appliance service. These services, for the most part, include 24/7 technical phone support, on-site consulting, around-the-clock security monitoring and maintenance, access to the client security portal and comprehensive reporting.

To maintain the SLA clauses in the managed services environment, it is critical for the organization and the services provider both to have a clear picture about the performance metrics, security tools and policies and resiliency level the organization requires. Balancing the performance and service-level requirements with the right cost is an important exercise. Nearly 35% of MSPs in the APAC region believe customers are likely to move to a lower-priced competitor, hence they look for better support from their respective partners to remain competitive in the market. MSPs in APAC budget roughly 7% of revenues to promote their managed services which indeed needs to get a boost, as the overall market potential for Managed Service business grows in this region.

~ Surjyadeb Goswami,  Regional VP APAC

Black Friday for Small Businesses? Why Not?

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Quick Trivia: A company in NYC with less than 10 employees is out of paper for printing. What would they do?

Contact a service provider sitting 5000 miles away who provides managed print services.

Walk across the street and buy a bundle from Staples.

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According to AMI’s Global Model, 30% of IT hardware procured by small businesses in the United States is through a retail channel such as Best Buy or directly from a vendor.

(Click here for an interactive demo of AMI’s Global Model)

Due to the lack of simple procurement solutions and the proliferation of e-commerce, small businesses continue to buy IT hardware through consumer-focused channels. The trend is likely to continue until we see a ground up change in the way Channel Partners target small businesses.

As the buying behavior of small businesses continue to align with consumers, companies can target small businesses using marketing strategies that are developed for consumer holiday seasons

Would it work for me?

Dell Inc. appears to have identified a market. The company has been putting out black Friday and holiday season ads specifically targeting small businesses.

Is Black Friday the only time?

For businesses, there could be many buying seasons like budgetary or quarterly cycles, conference seasons, industry events such as Google IO, Worldwide Developer Conference. But most companies attending industry events have small businesses at the tail end of their priority list. They generally market solutions for medium or large businesses.

Consumer focused events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, provide an opportunity to tap into small businesses that have similar buying patterns to individual shoppers. Such businesses typically do not have the resources to contract with Channel Partners or sign long term agreements.

In Conclusion

A sale to small business is not always via a lengthy sales pitch and long-term contract. There is still quite a lot of interest in “Buy It Now” products, it’s only a matter of identifying these businesses.

Learn more

Ask us about small business buying patterns and behaviors. Find out the most preferred purchase channel for your product category. Email us at ask_ami@ami-partners.com

~Karthik Pannala, Associate

Got MSP?

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are upping the stakes in the current cloud land grab. By rapidly expanding their portfolio of service offerings they expect to capture larger share of wallet. Their customers are aligned with this approach as they seek out full-service providers able to meet all their technology needs.

A Growing Market

By 2021 MSPs will deliver close to 25% of all technology products and services globally, up from 18% today. This is an impressive business transformation story – thousands of IT resellers and systems integrators (most of them small companies with less than $10M in revenues) have displayed a clear vision and competent leadership in enhancing their organizations’ capabilities and infrastructure to keep revenues growing in this challenging business climate.

The number of MSPs worldwide will grow from 50,000 to 75,000 between 2016-2021, with the total IT products/services they deliver growing from $500 billion to over $1 trillion during the same time.

Their services portfolios, which initially included pure infrastructure services such as storage, security essentials, compute power, web hosting, and application hosting, have now grown to include value add and higher margin services such as disaster recover/business continuity, e-discovery, vulnerability assessment, compliance management, application management, SaaS, and mobile device management among others.

Business Challenges

Despite being in a high growth business, MSPs face tough challenges which require constant attention and fine tuning of their business models. Some of the top challenges are:

  • Differentiating their services from those of other MSPs is a top priority to counter margin erosion and hyper-competition.
  • Absorbing newer technologies, tools, and solutions, packaging them for client consumption, and providing follow up services requires a constant learning and training.
  • Investing in datacenters is yet another critical challenge, which is often detrimental to smaller MSPs.

How Technology Vendors Can Help

Technology solution vendors that are supplying to MSPs can often play a big role in helping MSPs address these challenges. By fully understanding the nature of MSPs operational and business needs, vendors can design their products and programs to enable their MSP customers to win in the market-place.

Key features can be built into products and programs to make them a nuts-to-bolts solution, or packaged to work with other third-party solutions typically used by MSPs. Examples of the types of features that MSPs would like vendors to include in their solutions are:

  • Automation of overall solutions architecture.
  • Automation of customer on-boarding and migration processes.
  • Dynamic and predictive throughput/capability scaling.
  • Performance monitoring and predictive dashboards and controls.
  • Vertical industry-specific sales, marketing, and technical know how.
  • Vertical industry-specific compliance and reporting features.
  • Online university – modular online training videos and certification.

These are some of the insights we have uncovered in our tracking of the worldwide MSP segment. For additional insights and a detailed description of our MSP tracking service and various deliverables click here.

Alternatively, please email John Rezac (jrezac@ami-partners.com) for more details or to schedule a webinar that will walk you through our MSP coverage and insights.

~Deepinder Sahni, SVP

DRaaS for SMBs?

A disaster may be unavoidable. Predicting misfortune isn’t an exact science. However, recovering from such an event can and should be planned well in advance. With the sizable amount of valuable data generated daily, the risk of losing this information becomes a going concern for businesses of all size. Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is becoming a viable option for the SMB space. Should it be?

What is DRaaS and is it contagious

DRaaS is a cloud based solution that allows for the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a 3rd party to provide data recovery in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe. This enables failover of virtual machines to secure cloud locations. The modern business climate is more likely to be disrupted by a human generated event than a natural one. Malicious attacks, honest user error, upgrade issues and a bad line of code can do just as much damage as a storm. As with most services accessed via the cloud, DRaaS is a pay as you need solution and is configured to operate in the background as it automatically performs backups of critical systems and data.  If your business needs ‘n’ TB of storage, you only need to pay for ‘n’ TB of storage. This flexibility allows SMBs to scale accordingly to match evolving business needs.

Solutions such asbut not limited to Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, Quorum onQ Hybrid Cloud Solution, Zetta Backup and Recovery, and Carbonite Server Backup all offer DRaaS to the SMB market. A careful evaluation of business Continue reading “DRaaS for SMBs?”

SMBs Jumping on the Cloud-Based Managed Services Bandwagon

The rate of change in today’s IT landscape has made it challenging for SMBs to manage IT functions due to tighter budgets and fewer resources. This is pushing SMBs to compensate for their lack of in-house IT capabilities by hiring Managed Services Providers (MSPs) to provide 24*7 IT service and support.

Most MSPs today aim to serve two goals:

  1. To alert their clients about any risk before or when it happens.
  2. To address all the alerts they get.

This approach has resulted in a shift from the traditional “Break-Fix” mentality to a “Fix/Prevent” one where IT issues are addressed before management or employees are disrupted.

Is 2016 the year for Cloud-based MSPs?

The MSP world is changing fast and the latest evolution is the shift to Cloud. According to AMI’s Global Forecast Model, SMBs will spend US$96 Billion on managed services in 2016 growing to US$154 Billion by 2020. To capture this opportunity most MSPs are transitioning towards cloud and hybrid environments by offering services like Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM). This is a great approach as most SMBs have servers that need to be available 24*7 and these servers need round the clock monitoring and management. Apart from RMM, MSPs offer services such as Backup and Disaster Recovery, Help Desk Support and Daily Health Reports to SMBs as they lack in-house resources capable of detecting security flaws or tracking utilization.

In a recent survey conducted by AMI-Partners exploring MSPs’ transformation to Cloud, one MSP stated, “Our cloud business grew from 0 to $3M over the transformation process. It puts us in a good place that we are able to be a single stop shop for SMBs looking for a particular solution, and we can provide that.” MSPs in this study saw their year-on-year revenues grow by 20-30% as a result of this transformation. This raises a question: Will 2016 be the year for cloud-based managed services?

With the increasing popularity of cloud-based services such as XaaS (Everything as a Service), MSPs will be able to provide managed IaaS, SaaS, PaaS in addition to managing security and other services on-premise. Subsequently, cloud vendors like Microsoft, Amazon and IBM are helping MSPs through this transition by providing tools and services such as backup management, 24*7 support and infrastructure management to mention. These tools provide consistency and manageability across blended deployments and deliver improved service quality, and flexibility with hybrid cloud environments.

Security concerns and lack of knowledge is worrying for businesses

A recent AMI study showed that security is the most pressing concern with cloud adoption. One of the most effective ways for MSPs to alleviate this concern is to partner with major cloud providers like Amazon or Microsoft. These trustworthy brands provide benefits such as IP protection and make cloud adoption easier by providing materials such as resource libraries, sales & marketing training, and technical & business support to MSPs. The study also revealed that SMBs are not fully aware of the benefits of cloud. It is important to stress to SMBs that cloud is more secure, scalable and cost beneficial now than it has ever been before.  Moreover, MSPs must assess their customers’ needs and build a value proposition unique in their market.

In order to succeed and thrive in this changing landscape, MSPs need to address these concerns and misconceptions early. With the right strategies and partnerships, there are many opportunities for MSPs.

~Kunika Sodhi, Associate