For modern Managed Service Providers (MSPs), gone are the days of disparate workflows, and that’s really for the best.
Imagine trying to run a successful MSP business today—finding potential customers, procuring new clients, developing purchase orders, managing endpoints, and sending invoices—all without the help of Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) and Professional Services Automation (PSA) tools. It would be ludicrous.
Why then should MSPs accept that another critical part of their daily workload does not integrate with their current product workstack—cybersecurity?
The short answer is they shouldn’t. With an increasingly complex threat landscape which includes evolving ransomware strategies and trickier phishing scams, MSPs need to be on their A-game. Further, as Malwarebytes Labs showed, medium-sized and enterprise businesses suffered dramatic hits to their cybersecurity postures due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the small businesses that many MSPs protect are likely suffering similar pains.
The very nature of the MSP business demands integration. MSPs should ask the same from their cybersecurity solutions, allowing them to streamline their endpoint security practice with automated endpoint detection and deployment, advanced remediation, and simplified administration.
Why integration helps MSPs and their clients
MSPs today have likely been bombarded by the same arguments favoring RMM and PSA software—these products save time and make money. RMM tools mean no more driving to a physical site, no more scheduled check-ins where a client may have zero IT issues or a critical IT issue that only drags a team down for the rest of the day, and no more unreliability. Remotely addressing a client's needs is a necessary component of today's workload.
PSAs offer similar benefits in different areas. These tools can take disparate data flows and collate them into one source of truth. They can automate the generation and hand-off of data to prevent any human error from, for instance, an MSP’s marketing team to its sales team. These tools can also take vital billing data and transform it into trustworthy invoices, making sure that the countless hours of hard work get counted. And they can document purchase orders and make them easily accessible to every MSP employee that needs them. These tools can, in effect, remove the silos of chaos.
These benefits are obvious, and they help not just MSPs, but the clients that MSPs protect.
Being able to immediately field an IT request ticket from a client helps that client, increases their satisfaction, and lets them get back to their job more quickly. Automatically compiling service agreements for multiple clients means fewer opportunities for lost details or mistakes.
These things just make sense. But for MSPs, one of the most crucial roles they perform for clients can sometimes fall beyond the scope of most PSAs. That’s cybersecurity.
Benefits of cybersecurity integration
Every expert MSP knows that their job is more than just fixing IT issues as they happen. It’s also helping clients prevent computer issues before they can have a chance to occur. This doesn’t just help the clients, either, but it helps the many MSP tech workers already slammed with daily requests.
For an MSP, the more endpoints it manages that are already protected with a strong cybersecurity solution, the more endpoints that MSP won’t have to worry about, which means the more time that employees can devote full, personalized attention to the clients suffering other computer issues.
Unfortunately, while RMM and PSA tools have been the standard for decades, the integration with cybersecurity software into these tools is more recent. For years now, MSPs have been forced to sometimes go back to the disparate setups that their industry helped solve—logging into multiple applications to manage the same endpoint.
It didn’t make sense more than 10 years ago and it doesn’t make sense today.
MSPs should consider cybersecurity solutions that integrate directly with their PSA and RMM tools to prevent this repeated splintering of a workload.
Further, having an integrated cybersecurity solution can help an MSP better protect its clients. The integration will allow an MSP to more easily recommend that cybersecurity solution for clients when drafting up service agreements, and a protected client is just as important for the client as it is for the MSP helping them.
After all, so much of the job is cybersecurity, and that means protecting an endpoint before an attack hits, not just after.
The right, always-on, integrated cybersecurity solution will protect clients and their endpoints from disruptive ransomware attacks, sneaky phishing scams, unsafe websites injected with harmful code like credit card skimmers, and dangerous attachments sent through malicious emails. And when something does sneak through? MSPs can then easily rely on their RMM and PSA platforms to get a master-level view of what’s gone wrong, addressing and fixing the issue without having to navigate separate applications with potentially different logins, user interfaces, and data export settings.
There’s no reason to go back to disparate workflows. The MSP industry has been there, and it’s rightfully moved beyond it.
It should do the same when picking a cybersecurity solution for both itself and its clients.