How to Enhance Value Proposition and RMR Potential With Managed Service Providers

Puzzled by the networking know-how needed to deliver a ‘complete’ security solution these days? MSPs may fill your missing cyber piece.

Cybersecurity and all the challenges that come with it, looms large over the physical electronic security industry.

A different kind of expertise is now needed from security integrators, notes Bill Bozeman, president and CEO of PSA Security Network, who likens today’s cyber influence somewhat to when things went from analog to digital and integrators had to either develop their own new skillset or forge partnerships to meet end users’ needs.

“Our traditional community of integrators are comfortable with due diligence on traditional security products and the vast majority are very IT savvy and so good at what they do,” says Bozeman, whose organization has included cybersecurity annually as a highlight of its TEC event education agenda.

“But many integrators are going to struggle with cybersecurity. It’s not simply deploying a device on a network anymore, and it’s no longer the kind of system they’re so adept at deploying.”

So what is a traditional physical security dealer/integrator to do? “Get savvy,” says Bozeman, who urges integrators to build a general knowledge base of IT services and other cybersecurity offerings to begin rethinking their firm’s business value to existing and prospective customers.

But the nature of today’s risks is constantly evolving, making managing cybersecurity an even tougher task for security integrators getting involved in it. Consequently, we’re seeing a sharp increase in demand for IT managed service providers (MSPs), whose expertise more integrators are turning to in order to deliver comprehensive security solutions to end users.

Read on to learn more about what MSPs can do for you, as well as tap into some handy resources to help improve your own cyber education.

Cyber Awareness, IoT Create Challenges

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, SolarWinds is a value-driven provider of products and tools that solve a broad range of IT management challenges related to networks, servers, applications, storage, virtualization, Cloud, or development operations.

Ian Trump, SolarWinds’ global cybersecurity strategist, notes that demand for MSPs is driven by a few factors, including the threat of data breach and extensive coverage of those breaches, ransomware attacks and cyber fraud coverage in the media, as well as the desire of MSPs themselves to expand services into security and compliance offerings.

“There are many crossover opportunities, from building management systems [BMS] integration, security systems and voice over IP PBX deployments,” Trump says. “This is firmly in the territory of Internet of Things [IoT], and physical security integrators are in desperate need of solid networking skills, which MSPs have. There is a growing awareness of the challenges of moving IoT into business and it requires an advanced security skillset. Firewall rules, networking VLAN or net-mask segmentation are all required to integrate IoT devices as safely as possible.”

To help integrators deliver complete security solutions, MSPs need to do two vital things, according to Trump: build for capacity – not just for current needs, but for future needs; and provide documentation, especially network diagrams.

managed it services

Leveraging an IT managed services provider enables integrators to offer end users one-stop shopping so to speak on comprehensive security solutions.

“It’s super helpful if the security integrator can meet with the MSP first, so any differences in opinion can be hashed out,” he says. “I think the capacity issue is an important consideration – security DVRs, cameras and software will hammer a network if it’s not properly implemented, and a key fob access system which is not protected by a UPS could be problematic during a power outage. MSPs need to be thinking about these challenges and anticipating what their clients may want in the short and longer term.”

It’s taken a while for cyber and physical security to come together under the same umbrella, but many integrators are indeed adding on or acquiring cyber management knowledge, according to Steven Grossman, vice president of strategy and enablement for Bay Dynamics.

The San Francisco-based company provides an enterprise software platform that calculates the value at risk associated with specific threats and vulnerabilities, and measures how much risk can be mitigated by applying certain actions.

“Cyber is a key aspect of physical security technology, and protecting physical security technology and infrastructure has been critical for a long time. Now MSPs and integrators are pulling it together to offer one-stop shopping,” he says. “The MSP angle is a great way to promote that consolidation.”

It’s also a potential angle for providing security integrators an additional revenue source, Grossman suggests. As Grossman points out, in the past integrators would perform the install and say, “Thank you very much. Let me know if you have any problems.”

With the added dimension of cybersecurity, it becomes an ongoing operational relationship vs. an installer relationship.

“Tacking on the services of an MSP to monitor for events and proactively identify vulnerabilities – and provide the remedy and response for integrators – is also giving them an additional revenue source and more comprehensive offering,” he says. “This becomes a subscription, so to speak.”

Keep reading to learn how to capitalize on consolidated capabilities and adopt the MSP approach…

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