New research from Acronis and ChannelPro Network dives into critical issues facing MSPs

Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection, announced new research conducted by VansonBourne showing that consolidating and integrating cybersecurity, backup, and disaster recovery services produces $229,159 in savings on average and reduces the time required to recover from a breach or data loss incident by an average of five hours.

In conjunction with media sponsor ChannelPro Network, the new survey of 400 managed service providers across the globe, titled “MSPs Speak: Cybersecurity and the future role of the MSP,” dives deep into the biggest challenges and opportunities that MSPs currently face when providing cybersecurity, backup, and disaster recovery (DR) services. Available as a free download, the report focuses on critical issues like cybersecurity attacks, “vendor sprawl,” remote work environments, and the use of SaaS tools by clients.

Data from the study underscores why MSPs urgently need the efficiency gains vendor consolidation makes possible, beginning with today’s dangerous threat landscape. Given the recent flurry of supply-chain attacks seen in the MSP industry, it is not that surprising to learn 96% of MSPs are concerned about suffering a cybersecurity breach in the next 12 months. This sense of vulnerability is amplified by a lack of trust in two directions: 49% of MSPs responded that their clients do not completely trust the security of the services their organization provides, while 53% of MSPs do not completely trust the vendors they use to provide cybersecurity services.

To combat this sense of vulnerability, many MSPs have added additional tools to their technology stack. MSPs use an average number of 4 vendors to provide cybersecurity, backup and/or DR services, with 30% report using more than 5 vendors.

MSPs report that their clients use an average of 14 SaaS tools, a finding very consistent with recent Acronis end-user research. However, MSPs also report only managing an average of 58% of their clients’ SaaS tools, with only 3% indicating they manage 100%. This discrepancy results in greater vulnerabilities for clients, because SaaS data is not being properly protected, and the MSPs have limited visibility into these environments. However, there is a huge potential for growth for service providers if they are able to prove to their clients that there are benefits to them managing the licenses, on-boarding, security and performance of these SaaS applications. MSPs report that the biggest obstacles to managing more of their clients’ SaaS tools are not having the right relationships with line of business decision makers (44%), not having the right tools (41%), and a lack of trust (39%).

Unfortunately, deploying technology tools at a problem does not make it go away. In fact, the resulting “tool sprawl” can and does create a new set of problems. According to the results, the two most commonly faced challenges are the integration of security offerings with existing business and IT systems (40%) and security workflow and process creation and updates (37%).

In addition to integration, training, documentation, and workflow challenges created by more tools, there is a glaring cost concern. Over the past two years, the average cost of providing cybersecurity, backup, and/or DR services has increased by 19%. However, 71% of MSPs report struggling to demonstrate the value of these cost increases to their clients, which creates a serious dilemma and pressure on profit margins.

Given the reported “tool sprawl” among MSPs and corresponding integration, workflow and cost issues, it is not surprising that 92% of MSPs report having consolidated vendors and 70% plan to consolidate further due to the substantial savings they’ve realized from lower licensing costs, training costs, and employee documentation costs and the hours of time they save when recovering from incidents. Further time and money savings can surely be realized, as 41% of MSPs indicate they want to see the automation of backup and recovery tasks more tightly integrated into their cybersecurity services to more adequately address the ongoing and pervasive threat of ransomware.

“Securing SMBs from rampant cybercrime profitably has never been harder, and channel pros are eager to deliver security services faster and more efficiently as a result,” said Rich Freeman, ChannelPro Network’s executive editor. “This study makes clear not only that a surprisingly huge number of MSPs are consolidating vendors in pursuit of those goals, but that they’re saving significant amounts of time and money along the way too.”

 The results from this research are clear – MSPs are facing numerous challenges in providing cybersecurity services, and simply throwing more tools at the problem is making matters worse, not better. As such, there is a trend towards consolidating vendors, as well as more tightly integrating existing vendors with workflows, and those MSPs which are successful in these efforts will have a material advantage over their competition.

“MSPs trust Acronis and Cyber Protection solutions to consolidate their vendors and ensure cyber attacks are prevented. Acronis is at the forefront of cybersecurity, data protection, and endpoint protection management. We’re proud that we can help eliminate the management headaches of multiple vendors, while improving security,” noted Patrick Pulvermueller, Acronis CEO.