We’re seeing a shift in the cybersecurity industry, resulting in the death of the independent consultant and one-man shops. The only consistent part of the industry is that it’s always changing. Cybersecurity is a moving landscape; it’s not just going to stay the way it is today. This has led to a general lack of understanding of the various cybersecurity competencies, even among those who sell themselves as all-encompassing experts.
The reality is that there’s just no way for one person to cover all the areas of knowledge like infrastructure security, network security, individual endpoint security, and the human elements—insider threats. There’s no way that one person can cover all those nuanced subjects. As a result, cybersecurity is no longer just about IT support. It is about the need to keep up with all the threats and the rapid changes in tech, which includes the human element. This requires not only a shift in mindset but also a shift in the business model.
Shifting Business Models
To remain relevant in the industry, MSPs need to know about shifting the old business model of selling services for recurring revenue to the new model of providing better tech tools and specialists. Newer MSPs are talking about cybersecurity upfront and during their sales process. Rather than saying we can support your IT, they’re discussing how they’re transitioning, growing, and scaling saying, “Oh, yeah, we do that IT stuff, too. But that’s okay. We won’t even bill you for that.” That’s because the services that the independent consultant and the one-man shops can provide have now become commoditized. As a result, MSPs should be selling their services at a higher price point to cover the rising cost of the tech tools and expertise they need to offer their clients protection.
The industry has shifted to a more transparent approach as well, such as being upfront and confident with clients. From a sales perspective on the front end of the sale, there’s a lot of focus placed on protection, and this is all the stuff we have to put into place to keep your company secure. But expectations must be managed for when a breach actually does happen. Steps have to be in place, and clients need to know exactly what those steps are. There’s no more pretending that a breach will never happen because it’s inevitable that it will.
Cybersecurity is constantly evolving to adjust to technology. As a result, MSPs will need better tech tools, such as machine learning and AI, to catch threats and adjust to different sets of criteria because no human being can process information fast enough to catch all the threats that are occurring. Machine learning must be in place, and AI must be integrated to properly protect the client. Say you have two businesses in the same industry, for example, you can use the same tools, but will have a different set of criteria for the threats.
Then there’s the predicted emergence of crypto protection specialists in the next year to protect organizations investing in bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency. They’re starting to ‘pop up’, but that’s why this is a changing landscape. This didn’t exist last year. Sure, crypto has been around forever, but Bitcoin sure wasn’t $60,000 a coin a year ago. Now it’s much more at the forefront. So digital wallet hacking has become much more prevalent. There are companies like Tesla investing in Bitcoin now, and they’ve still got to be protected. It’s not just an individual thing anymore.
This is just the most recent example of how the landscape is changing. It’s going to be tough to stay up to speed. And the best way to stay up to speed is not to teach yourself, but to hire somebody who knows about it. Hire somebody where it’s the only thing that they have touched.
The Human Element
Cybersecurity is not only about tech. It begins and ends with people—the tech is in the middle. Regardless of the tech tools available, cybersecurity will be overshadowed by human psychology because people have to start looking at people more than they do the tech. This is about making that owner, that CEO, feel good about having you around and paying you. It’s great that we can put all the tech tools in place, but what emotions are you driving? What are the human behavioral elements that you’re going to be watching? All of this is tied back to a person who needs to have emotion and stay up to speed.
That’s why collaborations and mergers will be the answer as MSPs acquire more advanced tech tools and collaborate by hiring as much outside talent as they need to cover all the holes in cybersecurity competencies.
In fact, my MSP, ReachOut Technology, is currently acquiring MSPs. Wondering if now is the right time to sell? Click here for more information. We’ll answer important questions, like what your MSP is worth, what the transition will be like for you, and what the experience will be like for your customers.