Tips, Observations, and Takeaways from 2019 GlueX

3 takeaways from the GlueX conference that can help your MSP business add new revenue streams in Q4 and beyond.

If you’re like me, you might find attending an IT event like IT Glue’s GlueX conference akin to drinking from a fire hydrant. There’s a ton of great information, but there’s lots of it, and it’s coming at you fast. As I reviewed my notes from some of the sessions I attended and interviews, here are the top tips, observations and takeaways that stuck with me.

If You’re Not Selling Security as a Service, You Should Be

Nearly half of all small businesses suffered a cyberattack in 2018 and the vast majority of SMBs (79%) are afraid of IT security threats. While this is the perfect opportunity for MSPs to step up as trusted advisors, 85% of IT providers that identify themselves as MSPs don’t offer any form of security services, according to research from The 2112 Group.

One of the primary reasons, says Nadir Merchant, general IT manager at IT Glue, is that some solution providers think that the only way they can sell security is by becoming MSSPs (managed security services providers) and investing in SOCs (security operation centers) and SIEM (security information and event management) tools. The truth of the matter is that MSPs can outsource many of these services and still make good money selling security. “MSPs should be doing QBRs (quarterly business reviews) with their customers and sharing their concerns,” he says. “Plus, if you’re not selling security services and your customer suffers a breach, you’re going to get fired anyway.”

Brian Babineau, SVP and GM at Barracuda MSP also talked about security. Here are some highlights from his presentation.

  • Office 365 implementations are increasing 55% year over year.
  • On average, there are 50 dormant threats in an Office 365 mailbox.
  • 80% of all cyberattacks (e.g., ransomware, spear phishing, account takeovers) start with email because the attackers know humans are the weakest links in the security chain.
  • 10% of MSPs are guilty of clicking on phishing emails

“Channel IT companies have to be in the security business,” says Babineau. “Just like there are risks when doctors treat patients, MSPs are taking risks in helping their customers. The best way for MSPs to reduce their risk is by partnering with security providers invested in the market.”

“Channel IT companies have to be in the security business.”

The Answer to Your Staffing Problems: Talent as a Service

I spoke with Sunny Kaila, CEO of IT By Design, at the show. He got his start as an IT solution provider on Madison Avenue in New York City in 2003 and started selling managed services in 2008. After recognizing a growing need among his business peers, Kaila changed his focus to helping other MSPs. “Our customers often tell us, ‘We don’t have business problems, we have people problems,’” he says. IT By Design currently has 500 employees and is projecting to reach 700 by the end of the year. “We provide three months of training for all new hires, emphasizing culture, technical skills and soft skills,” he says. “We’re now providing NOC, help desk and other professional IT services to MSPs all over the world. We see ourselves as a talent subscription service. Or, if you prefer, talent as a service.”

Solving the Challenge of Consumption-Based Cloud Billing

When it comes to procuring and billing IT hardware, a value-added distributor is often the best option for an MSP. However, now that the world is moving toward a software-driven, subscription-based IT model, it requires a new distribution model. Enter Pax8, a born in the cloud company that specializes in distributing cloud services. Ryan Welsh, the company’s senior vice president of partner solutions, says “We developed Pax8 because traditional distributors’ supply chains weren’t built for the cloud consumption model. Many MSPs can attest to this based on their experiences with provisioning delays, inaccurate bills and unresponsive support. Our Cloud Wingman personifies how we support each partner with a dedicated cloud solutions advisor and in-house sales engineers and infrastructure architects. After the sale, we’re available 24/7 with technical support and Wingman professional services. We offer partners MSP-focused products with no quotas or minimums and we simplify the sales quoting, ordering, billing and provisioning processes via our Pax8 Portal.”