Smaller companies looking for help protecting their businesses and closing yawning skills gap, survey shows
Smaller businesses are putting a high priority on cybersecurity but often lack the in-house skills to adequately protect themselves, offering MSPs with security expertise a significant market opportunity, according to a report this week from ConnectWise.
The Lowdown: The survey, conducted by market research firm Vanson Bourne, noted that while the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t much change the already high priority SMBs were putting on security, it did raise new concerns about protecting their highly distributed workforces and remote devices. Vanson Bourne surveyed 700 IT and business decision-makers involved in cybersecurity in their organizations between June and July.
The Details: The survey’s findings paint a picture of SMBs under increasing threat from bad actors and turning to service providers as a way to increase their security postures and to close the gaping skills gap. Among the key findings:
> Priorities: 86% of SMBs put cybersecurity in the top five of their priorities and six in 10 will invest more in cybersecurity to reduce the risk to their organization. More than three-quarters fear they will be the target of an attack in the next six months.
> Skill: 52% of respondents said they lack the in-house skills needed to address security issues and 49% said finding more cybersecurity expertise is a benefit of working with an MSP.
> MSPs: 91% of SMBs said they would consider using or moving to a new MSP if it offered the “right” cybersecurity solution. The right solution meant having confidence in the IT service provider’s ability to respond to security incidents for 68% of SMBs, while 58% said it would mean having confidence in the MSP’s ability to minimize damage or loss.
> Pandemic: Cyberattacks have increased during the public health crisis, but SMBs already were putting a high priority on security. However, the pandemic is giving companies new worries, with 79% saying they’re concerned about their remote employees and devices being attacked.
The Impact: ConnectWise’s survey reinforces the opportunity for MSPs to expand their customer bases and revenue streams by growing their cybersecurity expertise. A report from MarketsandMarkets says the managed security service market will grow from $31.6 billion this year to $46.4 billion by 2025.
Background: ConnectWise, based in Tampa, Florida, has put an emphasis on cybersecurity this year. The company in August expanded the educational opportunities in security for MSPs and technology service providers (TSPs) and earlier in the summer unveiled its MSP+ Cybersecurity Framework to help service providers bolster their security skills. The framework was one of several security-related announcements made during the managed service platform and portfolio company’s IT Nation Explore event in June.
The Buzz: “The survey’s findings show what we know to be true: Confidence remains a key factor for SMBs in choosing the ‘right’ MSP offering for their business needs,” said Jay Ryerse, vice president of cybersecurity initiatives for ConnectWise. “Currently, only 13% of SMBs are having regular cybersecurity-related conversations with their MSP. Even more worrisome is the fact that 29% of SMBs talk to their MSP about cybersecurity only after they have suffered an incident. It’s clear that MSPs must work to reinforce that confidence and build closer relationships with their clients.”
“There is an increased market opportunity for MSPs who participate in an ongoing basis in cybersecurity training, remain current on the latest threats, and become versed in cybersecurity technology,” Ryerse said. “As MSPs raise their understanding across the entire cybersecurity discipline, they find themselves strongly positioned for growth in a post-pandemic economic recovery, emerging from the experience stronger and more agile, and with customers better prepared for the cybersecurity challenges that lie ahead.”