An increasing number of managed services providers (MSPs) are finding competition creeping into their accounts. Inevitably, competition will drive down prices and profitability, unless you can demonstrate to your customer why working with you is worth the extra money.
Maybe you’ve had this conversation recently:
Customer: “Is there anything we can do to reduce our monthly expenses for IT? I received a proposal from another MSP who will provide the same services we get from you for about 20% percent less.”
MSP: “You’ve been with us for five years and we know your network like the back of our hand. Can I see their proposal? Maybe I can show you where the proposals are different.”
If all you’re doing is providing the “typical” services an MSP offers (help desk, anti-virus, firewall, backup, etc.), you’re going to have a hard time retaining your customers and keeping them at the same level of profitability. Think about it this way, do you want your customers to view you as an oil change specialist, or as their expert family doctor?
- Oil change specialists compete based on price and convenience. There’s very little difference between a Jiffy Lube or a Valvoline.
- The expert family doctor competes based on relationship and expertise. People don’t typically jump from doctor to doctor based on a lower price.
When you provide your customers with more than a commodity service, their loyalty increases and in turn, your profits increase. So, how do you do that?
One answer is through cyber security. Specifically, with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) technology.
Leveraging SIEM Technology
Everyone provides anti-virus and firewalls (at least I hope they do). Honestly, can you articulate the value of one anti-virus or one firewall over another? I know I can’t. And frankly, what difference does it make to your customers?
Leveraging the right SIEM solution allows you to demonstrate to your customers that their loyalty to you, and the fees they pay, are worth it. Some of the benefits from the right SIEM solution include:
- Daily updates on threats stopped, suspicious or new software installed, and potential insider threats that show how you’ve proactively protected the customer before a breach occurred.
- Oversight of your customer’s whole security posture, across all of their systems, including cloud email like Office 365.
- Catching more vulnerabilities and stopping more threats than anti-virus and firewalls do.
- Providing reports that enable your customer to meet PCI DSS, NIST 800-171, and HIPAA compliance.
If you see the potential that additional cyber security services can offer, the next question is, “how do you do it?” You have some choices:
- Buy SIEM software and build your own Security Operations Center (SOC).
- Leverage a co-managed SIEM as a service
So, how do you decide if SIEM software or co-managed SIEM is right for you? One way to think about it is to compare Hertz, the equivalent of buying software, versus Uber, the equivalent of a co-managed SIEM.
When traveling on business, I used to rent a car everywhere I went (except New York City). When renting a car, I have the option of choosing the size car and the route I drive. While I have those freedoms, they come with the cost of gas, parking, speeding tickets, tolls, etc. In addition, I can’t really work while I’m driving. For all of this flexibility, and responsibility, I typically pay $80 - $150 per day.
Today, I just use a ride share service like Uber or Lyft instead of renting a car. I still get from point A to point B, but I’m not responsible for all of the other costs I might incur. I give up some flexibility, but my outcome is the same: Less complicated, and usually less expensive. Plus, I get to work while the driver takes care of me. Both choices have their merits, and both have their tradeoffs. The question you need to ask is, how do I get from point A to point B, and can I achieve my goal with the right price-point.
EventTracker makes securing your customer’s systems easier by providing pre-defined reports, dashboards, and alerts via the SIEMphonic service. If you would like to learn more about Co-Managed SIEMphonic Essentials designed for MSPs, please contact EventTracker at firstname.lastname@example.org, or talk to your Continuum sales rep.
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