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SMB Security: The Biggest Risk and Opportunity for MSPs in 2019

Posted April 3, 2019by Brian Downey


There’s no question that today’s small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are becoming more cybersecurity-conscious. They’re reading news headlines, they’re aware of the risk of attack—and now, they’re willing to invest more to protect their businesses. 

New research on the state of SMB security shows us that nearly four in five SMBs plan to invest more in cybersecurity in the next year. With security top-of-mind for many business owners, managed security presents a lucrative opportunity for IT providers in 2019. At the same time, though, there are major risks involved if you’re not offering the right security solution to this market.

What Are the Risks?

Many SMBs now have enterprise-level needs and expectations when it comes to cybersecurity. According to our new research report, Underserved and Unprepared: The State of SMB Cyber Security in 2019, more than half of SMBs report they expect increased security as a benefit of using an MSP. But when this expectation is not met, MSPs are at risk of losing their clients’ business. 

Nearly nine in ten SMBs would consider hiring a new MSP if they offered the right cybersecurity solution, and nearly one in four SMBs has already changed their provider in the aftermath of a cyberattack. And it’s not enough to compete on price alone, as SMBs planning to change providers are willing to pay nearly 24% more on average for the right cybersecurity offering.

The pendulum has finally swung. SMBs know they are exposed against threats and they’re willing to shift solutions to gain a sense of comfort. But it’s not just some SMBs that are interested in learning more about security and getting the best protections; it’s virtually all SMBs.

From this data, the message to MSPs is loud and clear: if you’re not providing SMBs with comprehensive security services, you’ll run into competition from MSPs that can—and you’ll likely lose. SMBs won’t stop searching until they find the right solution that addresses their cybersecurity concerns.


Where's the Opportunity, Then?

We understand that SMBs are concerned, but now we know where these concerns lie. When it comes to the protections these businesses want and need, most are prioritizing their clients’ data and systems, as well as protecting against threats that could cause downtime in their clients’ environments.

The data from this survey also shows that the majority of SMBs don’t feel like they are well-protected today and they’re willing to take the steps for this additional protection. 77% of SMBs anticipate that at least half of their cybersecurity needs will be outsourced in five years’ time, and 78% are planning to invest more in cybersecurity in the next 12 months.

This paints an optimistic picture for those MSPs who do offer and sell effective cybersecurity services. There is an economic opportunity for MSPs that get cybersecurity right, as they stand to not only win business from providers that don’t, but also increase their revenue streams from their SMB clients and have a better chance of retaining their existing client base.


Next Steps

Cybersecurity is now a must-have for your SMB clients. If you haven’t taken steps to improve your capabilities around cybersecurity or update your portfolio accordingly, now is the time to do so.

For more insight on what these next steps are and how to seize the SMB security opportunity, I’ll be hosting a webinar on April 9 at 11:00am—which you can register for here. I’ll be joined by Vanson Bourne, the independent firm who conducted this research, to go over the findings, followed by an MSP panel discussion around how MSPs can hold a competitive advantage in the SMB security market.


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As Senior Director of Product Management at Continuum, Brian is responsible for the overall security solution strategy. He has spent the past 15 years in various product and business strategy roles at several of the world’s most successful technology companies, most recently driving the initial creation and introduction of BMC Software’s new security product line. Brian is passionate about developing and delivering solutions that allow small- and medium-sized businesses to effectively secure their environments. Brian has a computer science degree from University of Massachusetts Amherst, an M.B.A. from Babson College and is currently finishing his Doctorate in Business Administration from Temple University. Brian lives just outside Boston with his wife and three kids between the ages of three and seven.

Topics: Cyber Security

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