Securing customers is tougher than ever but consolidating vendors and using integrated solutions makes it significantly less painful, according to new research from Acronis.
Conducted by Vanson Bourne in partnership with ChannelPro, the study shows that working with fewer security and BDR vendors produces an average of $229,159 in savings, and that using integrated security and BDR products reduces the recovery time after breaches by an average of five hours.
Acronis published the study on the opening day of its CyberFit Summit event in Miami today.
Data from the research, which surveyed 200 U.S. MSPs and another 200 from around the globe, makes clear why channel pros badly need the benefits provided by vendor consolidation. Fully 97% of participants in the survey say they’re concerned about a breach of their own systems that could end up impacting clients, and 40% call themselves extremely concerned.
Significant percentages of MSPs lack confidence in the cyber protection tools they’re using as well: 53% of survey respondents don’t completely trust the vendors they currently work with to provide adequate security, and 49% don’t completely trust the services they themselves provide to keep customers safe.
Perhaps that’s because significant percentages of surveyed MSPs support clients that have been breached. In fact, 44% of them have at least one customer that experienced data loss or downtime in the last 12 months as a result of malware, and 37% say the same of ransomware.
Other widely reported breach varieties appear to affect smaller MSPs even more heavily than large ones, possibly because their clients are less willing to spend on security services. For example, 56% of poll respondents with one to four employees have a client who suffered a successful brute force attack in the last year versus 39% of firms with 50 to 99 employees. Similarly, 48% of the smallest MSPs have a client who was struck by a zero-day in the last year versus 31% of the biggest providers.
Supporting home-based workers, moreover, will only make safeguarding clients harder going forward, according to 97% of surveyed MSPs. Here too, smaller MSPs struggle more than their larger peers. Fifty-three percent of MSPs with one to four employees called limited access to suitable tools a challenge in securing remote workers, for example, versus 40% of firms with 50 to 99 employees. Fifty-eight percent of the smallest research participants, meanwhile, called increased costs a remote security challenge versus 37% of the largest ones.
That organizations with remote workers lean heavily on software-as-a-service applications only makes matters worse. Participants in the Acronis study believe they’re managing just 58% of the SaaS software their customers use, on average, due to weak relationships with line of business decision-makers (cited by 44% of surveyed MSPs) and difficulty making a convincing business case (cited by 37%).
Issues like that have made securing end users not only harder but more expensive. In fact, participants in the Acronis survey say the cost of providing cybersecurity and BDR services to their customers has risen 19% on average in the last two years.
Fortunately, nearly every MSP in the study has successfully passed those costs along to their customers. Yet 71% struggled at least a little to demonstrate the value of that rate hike. Articulating value was ever harder for small MSPs. Some 27% of those with one to four employees struggled a great deal with that task, versus just 12% of those with 50 to 99 employees.
Not surprisingly, given the rising cost of securing customers and resistance among customers to covering those costs, margins on security services are eroding, according to the study. Slightly more than 60% of polled MSPs are less than fully satisfied with the margins they’re making presently on endpoint security, for example. Another 58% say the same of email security and 57% agree on network security.
More threats, stiffer service delivery challenges, and declining margins all help explain why so many MSPs are consolidating vendors. While the average participant in the Acronis study uses four security or BDR vendors at present and 24% use as many as seven, 92% have consolidated vendors and 70% plan to consolidate even further.
Integrating their security and BDR solutions is a high priority for survey respondents as well, according to the survey, which shows that 26% of MSPs are highly integrated in those areas now, 47% are working toward that goal, and another 25% have a plan in place to begin pursuing that goal in the future.
Significantly, fewer security vendors corresponds closely with better security results in the Acronis data. A third of polled MSPs with one or two vendors reports having a client who suffered downtime or data loss in the last year due to malware, for example, versus half of MSPs with five or more vendors. And while 21% of survey participants with one or two vendors has a client who was hit by phishing, spear phishing, or a business email compromise attack in the last 12 months, that figure rises to 39% among those with five or more vendors.
MSPs with fewer vendors are less worried about breaches as a result of numbers like that. Some 29% of those with one or two vendors call themselves extremely concerned, versus 56% of those with five or more.
The Acronis study reveals a relationship between integration and profitability too. For example, 47% of highly integrated MSPs in the survey are satisfied with their margins on endpoint security versus 34% of MSPs that would like to integrate their security and BDR solutions eventually. An even higher 51% and 50% of highly integrated MSPs are satisfied with their margins on email security and network security, respectively, versus 41% and 43% of their least integrated counterparts.
Achieving greater integration across security and backup products isn’t without challenges, however, according to the Acronis research. Some 42% of polled MSPs call insufficient integration capabilities in those products a problem, for instance, 41% cite concerns about costs, and 34% cite inadequate integration skills.
A strong believer in the benefits of comprehensive, pre-integrated solutions, Acronis introduced its Cyber Protect Cloud offering, which includes tightly interwoven backup, disaster recovery, anti-malware, anti-ransomware, web filtering, and data authenticity validation capabilities, at its 2019 CyberFit Summit, and officially shipped the product the following May.
Earlier this year, the company rolled the capabilities of its Cyber Backup Cloud, Cyber Disaster Recovery Cloud, Cyber Files Cloud, and Cyber Notary Cloud solutions into Cyber Protect Cloud and phased the four older systems out as stand-alone offerings.
Acronis introduced a new “freemium” pricing model in which users get basic functionality for free and more sophisticated functionality via separately purchased “advanced protection packs” the same day. That innovative arrangement won the company one of ChannelPro‘s 2021 All-Star awards.