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Managed security services market beckons as SMB attacks grow

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MSPs take note: There's a new era in SMB cybersecurity

The issue of channel companies entering the managed security services market is more a question of when than if these days.

SMBs, the bread-and-butter customer segment for most managed services providers (MSPs), have become targets for cyberattackers. A Kaseya Ltd. study found that one in three SMBs experienced a data breach in the last five years, with about one in 10 reporting a breach in the last 12 months. A survey of SMB security and IT professionals conducted by endpoint security vendor Barkly discovered six in 10 organizations experienced an increase in cyberattacks. The majority of respondents said they expect that trend to continue in 2019.

Smaller businesses that were willing to ride their luck a few years ago are now seeking to shore up their defenses. Fifty-four percent of the respondents to the Kaseya study, which polled 1,200 IT professionals in the SMB space, cited IT security as a top priority for 2018, which represents a 14% increase compared with Kaseya's 2017 survey.

SMBs often lack a dedicated IT security professional, which places cybersecurity into the category of "other duties as assigned." Many SMBs are likely to look for outside providers for help. MSPs have the local presence and knowledge of small-business issues to do the job -- but only if they possess the necessary skills to enter the managed security services market.

That's no simple task. Getting started in the managed security services market requires an investment in personnel and a working knowledge of the security tools and platforms. And as attacks increase in sophistication, MSPs looking to become managed security services providers also need to keep pace with such developments as ransomware and cryptomining.

To be sure, cybersecurity is a challenging path, but it may be one an MSP must take to meet client needs.

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