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It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. The first words in Charles Dickens’ classic novel A Tale of Two Cities perfectly illustrate the challenges ahead for many in the IT channel. Progressive MSPs and MSSPs are finding opportunity virtually everywhere they look.

In most cases, they don’t have to look far. MSPs’ current clients need more support than ever before. From developing IT strategies and employee policies to implementing IoT and advanced cybersecurity platforms, small and mid-size companies require increasingly more help every year.

The best part? The opportunities for future-minded MSPs are endless and connected technologies are leading the way. IoT is becoming a superhighway for the channel, allowing businesses to automate and innovate their operations, and collect data they can leverage to increase their profits and customer satisfaction levels.

The best part for channel companies is those benefits aren’t limited to the enterprise. SMBs and SMEs can take advantage of connected technologies as well, but most won’t be able to build and maintain robust platforms without the help of MSPs and MSSPs. Complexity will force many organizations to seek outside assistance to design, implement, manage and provide around-the-clock support.

Cybersecurity and monitoring expertise is icing on the cake. Relatively few businesses are equipped to handle those important responsibilities.

IoT is the business information superhighway of the future. The problem is that the time to begin construction has come and most organizations lack the skilled engineers, laborers, security personnel, and overseers to make it a reality. That’s where the channel comes in.

Securing the Connections

One of the major IoT opportunities for MSPs is cybersecurity. With a lack of standards for the devices and applications, no one knows what the risks will be until something bad happens. It’s the new “Wild West” of IT and organizations need someone to be their trail guide and protector.

What vulnerabilities could they find? How will it affect HIPPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and other regulatory standards? Many will look to their IT services professionals for the answers, but how many are truly up to the task?

That support will be needed more than ever, as businesses can expect to encounter threats and compliance hurdles that might overwhelm even the savviest enterprise IT department. Yet, SMB organizations are being held to the same standards with fewer resources to protect those systems. MSPs need to up their game to be their IoT shadow protectors.

The complexity and breadth of today’s business technologies, from connected devices to artificial intelligence, those customers will be more dependent than ever on the security expertise of their IT services providers. That spells opportunity for well-prepared MSPs.

Their clients need someone (or some firm) to remove not just the risks, but to eliminate the headaches involved with the layered security protection, business continuity, and a myriad of regulatory and industry compliance concerns. Providers can build highly profitable practices by supporting the complete IoT needs of their business customers.

Make the Shift

A core part of that business model is advanced protection. As most channel professionals know, transitioning from an MSP to an MSSP is a lot more complicated than adding an extra “S” to their managed services badge. It requires investments in training and tools and, in some cases, specialized partnerships.

Few MSSPs have the capacity or desire to deliver every possible cybersecurity service on their own. Third-party audits are advisable in most cases, if not required, and less frequent activities such as penetration testing are best left to the experts (unless there’s a significant local need for that type of support).

With those skills and newly expanded portfolios and partnerships in place, attracting clients should be easy for MSSPs. Throw in an effective marketing campaign and competent sales team, and the business community will be at their disposal. IoT makes that possible.

Are you taking advantage of all those current and future opportunities? Internet of Things Security Services Association (IoTSSA) members can do just that, leveraging educational resources and attending live security-focused events to boost their IoT-related knowledge and skills.

MSPs can join the association and attend its 100% channel-focused activities at no-cost. Just register online and start downloading content, including podcasts and web panel sessions with industry experts.

IoTSSA will host seven live security-themed events in various parts of the country in 2018, including the January 18th stop in Southern Ohio. From there, the roadshow travels to Austin on February 22nd, followed by forums in Sacramento, Denver, Chicago, Scottsdale and Atlanta.

Brian Sherman