We’ve all heard the stories: Organizations getting breached like there's no tomorrow thanks to threat actors exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities. Likewise, we’ve also all heard the familiar refrain: Patch regularly! But for many businesses—including the Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that serve them—“patching regularly” is easier said than done.
From prioritizing what to patch to getting a common view of all the vulnerabilities across their customer environment, patching is no cakewalk for MSPs. To boot, many MSPs already face constrained staff resources and a team that is often overloaded with alert triage.
With a patch management platform, however, MSPs can greatly simplify the patching process for their clients—and the benefits don’t end there.
In this post, we break down six reasons MSPs need a patch management platform.
Table of Contents
- Fills a dire need for MSP customers
- Generates new MSP revenue streams
- Gives visibility across diverse customer assets
- Helps MSPs become a more holistic cybersecurity provider
- Streamlines threat assessment and mitigation
- Allows you to quickly stay on top of evolving security risks
Simplify patch deployment for your customers
1. Fills a dire need for MSP customers
According to Ponemon Institute, almost 60% of low-security maturity organizations (i.e most MSP customers) suffered a data breach because “a patch was available for a known vulnerability but not applied”.
So, why aren’t SMBs applying patches? Simply put, because their vulnerability and patch management (VPM) activities are either only partially deployed (40%) or not even “planned or deployed at all” (24%), according to the same Ponemon study.
This is where MSPs can step in. By taking the reins of their customers’ VPM activities with a VPM platform, MSPs are filling a dire need for organizations who lack the budget and staff to do patch management themselves.
2. Generates new MSP revenue streams
According to Market Data Forecast: “The global patch management market size is forecasted to grow to USD 1.084 billion by 2027 from USD 652 million in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 10.7% between 2022 to 2027.”
Needless to say, as the threat of unpatched vulnerabilities continues to increase, and as organizations with limited budgets and IT staff continue to struggle with patching, MSPs are in great shape to capitalize on the growing market size of patch management platforms.
“Adding a VPM platform to your MSP's existing menu of security services will allow you to generate new/additional Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR),” says Josh Pederson, MSP expert and Senior Director of Global Product Marketing at Malwarebytes.
What’s also important to highlight here is not just how MSPs can grow revenue directly from VPM, but indirectly as well. Nadia Karatoreos, Senior MSP Growth Strategist at Malwarebytes, explains: “Having a simplified and automated patch management process allows the MSP to focus their attention on other revenue generating activities.”
Check out our MSP’s Guide to selling security!
3. Gives visibility across diverse customer assets
Most MSPs (69%) have up to 100 different clients, according to Datto's Global State of the MSP Report. Dozens of different clients, each using different flavors of OSes, servers, and applications—and each one of those with their own unique vulnerabilities.
Without a VPM platform, patching all of these assets would be a nightmare for MSPs.
“The more OS and application combinations at a customer site, the more individual patches need to be maintained,” says Pederson. “Most customers do not have a homogenous set of endpoints (only Mac, etc), so MSPs are forced to stay on top of multiple versions of the same software (Slack for OSX and Slack for Windows–double the challenge).”
A patch management platform can bring all the vulnerabilities and patch updates across your network under one view. For example, in the below screenshot of Malwarebytes OneView VPM, you can see detailed information on available software and OS patches across sites and endpoints.
4. Helps MSPs become a more holistic cybersecurity provider
MSPs are heroes to the companies they serve. Providing IT services and support is not an easy job, and to do it well, requires a technology stack that is scalable, reliable, and above all, comprehensive.
SMBs who outsource their cybersecurity are looking for providers who cover all their bases–in fact, 91% of SMBs would consider switching IT service providers if they found a new one that offered the “right” cybersecurity services. And while the “right” services will vary from SMB to SMB, some form of endpoint protection, EDR, and VPM services are high-up on the list for every security-minded business.
“Enhancing their ability to prevent infections is an urgent need of MSPs,” says Pederson. “Patch management is a preventative measure that helps the MSP reduce customer risk of malware infection. Many AV and EDR options do not provide this as a layer of protection, so clients are looking for it.”
In addition, adding VPM services to their portfolio not only helps MSPs better serve their clients, but it also helps them stay competitive in a notoriously competitive MSP landscape.
“MSPs can outcompete other MSPs when they provide a more comprehensive security service. A patch management platform provides that to them,” says Pederson.
5. Streamlines threat assessment and mitigation
“Threat assessment involves identifying threats, determining the seriousness of each threat, and prioritizing how to manage threat actors,” says Nosa Obosohan, Senior Director, Cloud Product Platform at Malwarebytes.
The most common way of measuring security vulnerabilities is with the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), which provides IT professionals a standardized process for assessing vulnerabilities. Without a VPM platform, you can expect to experience a higher level of effort trying to assign priority to your patching schedule manually.
“IT teams’ patch management challenges start with incomplete asset inventory, not being able to prioritize vulnerabilities, and determining how to patch up those systems in a timely manner. A VPM platform can address all these concerns,” says Obasohan.
6. Allows you to quickly stay on top of evolving security risks
By now, we should understand that one of the best pieces of insurance against infection is not just patching, but timely patching. Automated patching–a feature of most VPM platforms–vastly improves your ability to patch in a timely manner.
“Many data breaches and ransomware attacks are the result of known vulnerabilities that have not been addressed,” says Rumna Mishra, VP of Product Management at Malwarebytes. “VPM helps organizations minimize their attack surface, identify & patch vulnerabilities in a timely manner.”
Organizations who don’t automate their patching have a much more difficult time patching things quickly–80% of organizations that use automation say they have the ability to respond to vulnerabilities in a shorter time frame. A patch management platform that automates patching gives MSPs the tool they need to quickly prevent security risks for their customers.
Simplify patch deployment for your customers
The benefits of a patch management platform for MSPs are manyfold.
On the business side, a VPM platform not only helps MSPs generate revenue and stay competitive, but it also fills a dire need for MSP customers. On the practical side, a VPM platform gives MSPs easy visibility into all of their customers' assets, and, through automation, streamlines CVSS scoring and timely patching.
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