IoT is just one of the many innovations that your SMB clients may be evaluating today. Commercial applications for the latest technologies often take time to develop, and as those in the channel know, small businesses used to spend years, if not decades, evaluating each option before making investments. Whether your clients were interested in adding drones, IoT, AI, or AR, or wish to take part in a Smart Cities initiative, the decision-making process was typically an excruciating experience for everyone involved.

The good news for MSPs is that “foot-dragging mentality” is fading away. No longer can the SMB sit back and wait while their competition takes full advantage of solutions that create new business opportunities or automate time-consuming aspects of their operations. The same rules apply to municipalities and non-profits.

Why wouldn’t an organization adopt innovations that improve its internal efficiencies or increase its revenue potential? As long as that technology provides an ROI, it’s a no-brainer.

The times truly are changing. Providers with the right skills and messages have a unique opportunity to profit from the latest tech trends ‒ if they understand and can address their clients’ underlying needs, including security and infrastructure improvements.

Many organizational leaders find themselves with a conundrum today. How can they evaluate all the promising new solutions if they don’t have inside experts who can make sense of it all? Most have few if any internal IT resources, including the personnel to assess each opportunity, or the expertise to implement and manage emerging technologies. It’s not what they do.

Security is the Foundation

One of the biggest concerns related to emerging technology adoption involves network and data protection. In virtually every study, organizations cite cybersecurity as a weakness that could seriously derail their successful adoption of next-gen solutions, with SMBs more apprehensive than enterprise organizations. With a variety of global companies developing technologies with few standards, that concern is well-founded.

Here are just a few of the trends that emphasize the channel security opportunities with emerging technologies:

• According to CompTIA’s 2019 Trends in the Internet of Things report, only about one third (36%) of respondents said their organization was well equipped to handle IoT security.

• Security experts are increasingly concerned that hackers could access drone-related information such as flight logs, images, video, and even user account data (user profiles). Several industry reports have emphasized the value of partnering with IT services providers who can evaluate and address the risks associated with these technologies.

• Along with infrastructure development hurdles, network protection is a major priority for those charged with developing smart cities initiatives.

• AI and blockchain technologies may not seem like ideal channel opportunities, but the mainstream applications are already working their way to your clients’ activities. Those looking to adopt these advanced solutions will need trusted cybersecurity experts to help evaluate the options and address vulnerabilities.

There’s Margin in the Mystery

As with any new technology, process, or compliance requirement, when organizations face an unknown, they’re typically more willing to pay a premium to those equipped to translate the details and solve their problems. While you want to be careful not to overcharge loyal clients, MSPs should command higher margins when tackling security concerns related to emerging technologies.

IOT is the perfect example. These systems are essentially networks connected to a series of potentially unprotected endpoints. Many SMBs won’t understand the risks and the complexity involved with locking down a myriad of sensors, collection devices, apps, and cloud solutions. While some organizational leaders may have a basic comprehension of the challenges, very few are capable of evaluating the security risks and vulnerabilities of each solution.

MSPs can not only fill that void but have an opportunity to introduce those clients to a variety of other managed services. Cybersecurity and emerging technology expertise have a multiplying effect, driving new business opportunities and strengthening existing customer relationships. The net result is increased recurring revenue streams.

Organizations need tech partners skilled in cybersecurity and infrastructure development to ensure the viability of emerging technologies. Can you protect their data and provide an optimal user experience?

At the end of the day, that’s what your clients want out of their IT investments ‒ and should be willing to pay a premium for that expertise. Cybersecurity and emerging technology support are two true differentiators every MSP should be offering.

Brian Sherman, Content Director, IoTSSA