For MSPs, cloud services brought new recurring revenue opportunities. But when the pandemic struck, “all things cloud” quickly became “the cloud is all things.”
Strategists like to talk about software time and internet time driving hyper evolution among businesses, but it turns out they’ve got nothing on a pandemic. (Yes, pandemic-fueled transformations were enabled by ubiquitous access to software and broadband connections, but you get the point: COVID-19 wrecked the adoption forecasts of every research firm on the planet.)
SMBs that survived the jump to the cloud most likely got there in one of three forms:
- The Wingers. These companies – usually without internal IT resources – looked up solutions on Google, made snap decisions based on reviews or brand awareness and made things happen. Many are now reassessing their hastily made choices, but let’s give credit where it’s due: they did not collapse during the pandemic because of paralysis by analysis. They acted, and they’re here today to tell their tales, unlike many of their competitors.
- The Retaskers. Companies with IT departments retooled those teams to the business of cloud migration. Some of these teams threw in with the wingers, and some threw in with the consulters (see below).
- The Consulters. These are (hopefully) your clients. The companies that moved quickly but relied heavily on the advice of their independent advisers or, at the very least, their current vendors.
A mixed bag left behind
Now that work-from-home and work-from-anywhere are here to stay, all three of these groups (yes, including your current clients) present new challenges and opportunities for you and other MSPs. Here’s why:
- Security was an afterthought during the migration to work-from-home. It’s easy to forget after being steeped in the pandemic for so long that, during the pandemic’s early days, businesses were focused solely on how to keep their doors open after their employees went home to shelter in place. At this point, almost all the focus was understandably on unified communications, CRM access and file sharing.
- Businesses moved fast, but the cybercrooks stalking them moved faster. If you gamed out scenarios favorable to cybercrooks, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better opportunity than businesses ditching their on-site infrastructure in favor of home-based connections and equipment. Long story short, the pandemic has created a cybercrime bonanza.
- Businesses remain woefully unprotected. Amid nightmare-inducing cybercrime headlines, a large majority of companies remain sitting ducks for cybercriminals – and not just SMBs. Yes, their relative lack of resources leaves SMBs at a greater risk than larger companies, but 80 percent of enterprises acknowledge that they are falling short when it comes to cyber resistance.
The solution? Focus on cyber resilience
At this point, your other opportunities in the cloud are secondary to helping your client with cyber resilience. Here’s why:
- Cyberthreats keep them up at night. By tackling their biggest fear point, you build the trust you need to advise them in other areas.
- You’re protecting your own client base. Cyber resilience isn’t just an opportunity for new revenue. It helps you save your own book of business. After all, if cybercrooks drive your client out of business, you lose that client.
- It’s a growth opportunity. Because of cyberthreats, all companies need help with cyber resilience, perhaps even some of your clients (after all, four in five are missing some level of protection). And because of cybercrime, the companies that “winged” their way to the cloud when the pandemic struck need help. Cybercrime is itself a growth business, which means robust cyber resilience opportunities on your side of the fence.
Keys to building your cyber resilience practice in 3 easy steps:
- Partner with a single-source cyber resilience partner with channel experience. Cyber resilience is a complex, layered and evolving approach to a complex, layered and evolving problem. Working with a channel-friendly, all-in-one provider that understands your needs and those of your customers doesn’t just make life easier on you; it’s essential to your ability to scale your own business.
- Talk with your clients. Open discussions with your clients about the importance of cyber resilience, not just cybersecurity[CF1] and how the right layers of protection and response can keep their operations running—even when they suffer an attack.
Plan for painless migrations. The ability to securely move data and servers is essential to helping clients migrate, optimize and protect their operations and data in their newly cloud-centric business models. This process is notoriously painful, but it doesn’t have to be. When you’re selecting a provider partner for your cyber resilience practice, look for one that can arm you with a tool that makes cloud migrations simple and reliable.