Much like cybersecurity, your clients know very little about the pros and cons of IoT (Internet of Things) solutions, especially the latter, where your team’s expertise and insight is a true value add. Most SMBs are simply not equipped to research, implement, and support these latest technological innovations.
That sounds like a real business case for MSPs. IoT is an emerging differentiator and has the potential to drive significant revenue for the channel and give you and your clients the ability to automate and streamline operations and collect valuable data that can increase profits, efficiencies, and customer satisfaction.
These opportunities aren’t limited to the SMB. The mystery behind IoT, like cybersecurity, will drive decision-makers from organizations of every size to seek outside assistance to the design, implementation, management, and ongoing support for these systems. Cybersecurity and monitoring capabilities are the icing on the cake. Relatively few businesses are properly equipped to handle those important responsibilities or have the internal resources with that type of knowledge and expertise.
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.
Connect and Secure
One of the major IoT opportunities for MSPs is cybersecurity. Allied Market Research predicts that specific segment of the market will generate nearly $7 billion globally by 2026 at a robust 31.2% CAGR. 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 MSPs are truly up to the task? Look around your community and, if there’s no one currently offering those services, now is the time to take the leap.
Businesses can expect to encounter new threats and compliance hurdles with IoT that might overwhelm even the savviest enterprise IT department. The difference is that SMBs must meet the same standards with fewer resources for implementation and data protection, so they may need an MSP to play the “connector and protector” role, integrating and securing all the pieces (in addition to making it run smoothly).
Your 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. MSPs can build highly profitable IoT practices by supporting the comprehensive solutions and support needs of your customers.
IoT Opens Doors
Are you taking advantage of all those current and future opportunities? Security isn’t the only IoT-related option for MSPs. These solutions are among the most complex applications ever deployed, from sensors, endpoints, and gateways to data collection and business intelligence, as well as cloud storage and continuity planning. These are the staples that MSPs like yours can easily manage with the right training and vendor support.
The vertical opportunities provide even more incentives for MSPs, giving you a new way to gain the attention (and financial commitment) of new prospects and offering a conversation opener with existing clients. IoT solutions are gaining traction in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, construction, agriculture, and energy (oil and gas).
As with IT deployments, some markets tilt more towards co-managed IT environments. The larger the business and IoT opportunity, the more likely it is that your team will need to develop working relationships with inside technical staff and navigate through big office politics. Your role may be more of an advisor and backup support team as deployment and day-to-day management fall to the in-house technical resources. Some MSPs prefer to avoid the complexities of co-mingled projects, so a good IoT best practice is to fully evaluate the client engagement model and the local opportunities before investing in these technologies.
Could IoT be a source of new recurring revenue for your MSP business in 2020? Don’t rule out the possibilities. Take time to carefully evaluate the technologies and business cases and investigate the options with existing clients. Test systems in your own operations, if possible, and sharpen the solutions with feedback from team members and vendor partners (and any others involved in the process).
If the initial tests are successful, make sure your team members spend more time acquiring the knowledge, skills, and certifications required to successfully deploy and support your IoT offerings. With the right preparation and industry support, and a heavy infusion of your team’s security expertise, these technologies can boost your MSP’s net-new revenue in 2020. Are you ready to move into the next decade with the tools your customers may be already looking for to advance their businesses?
Brian Sherman, Content Director, IoTSSA