IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

IoTSSA Urges Channel Pros to Get Going on Internet of Things Security

MSPs looking to protect their clients and margins alike should start offering specialized IoT security services now, according to speakers at the IoT Security Services Association’s roadshow event last week. By Rich Freeman

According to Gartner, there will be over 20 billion Internet of Things devices in use by 2020. For the owners of those devices, all that vulnerable cloud-enabled hardware adds up to a giant potential security nightmare. For channel pros, it adds up to a giant opportunity.

“This is a good time to be in IT,” says Rich Delaney, president of Delaney Computer Services Inc., an IT consulting and computer repair services provider in New York.

Delaney was one of many speakers who discussed the IoT’s intersection with security at the third IoT Security Services Association (IoTSSA) roadshow event of 2018, which took place last Thursday in Edison, N.J.

Founded earlier this year, IoTSSA is a membership organization for MSPs and other channel pros looking to protect their profit margins as traditional managed service offerings become commoditized by helping businesses deploy IoT solutions securely. ChannelPro’s sister publication IoT Playbook is the organization’s official media partner.

“Security is one of those markets that allows you to really differentiate your business,” says Brian Sherman, host of IoTSSA's roadshow conferences and chief content director for GetChanneled, a key collaboration partner of the association.

It’s also a service SMBs badly need. Forget about all of the poorly shielded IoT hardware cybercriminals are exploiting. As long as SMBs have employees, they’ll need help with security too, according to consultant and conference speaker Bobby Kuzma. People, he observed, are always an organization’s weakest link.

“You can’t patch stupid,” Kuzma observed.

You can’t rely on backups to keep clients safe from ransomware anymore either, added Justin Kallhoff, CEO of Lincoln, Neb.-based managed security service provider and conference sponsor Infogressive Inc., as hackers are increasingly including attacks on protected data in their exploits.

“It doesn’t really work all the time anymore,” said Kallhoff of anti-ransomware strategies that rely on BDR solutions as a safeguard of last resort. “Bad guys know you have backups.”

Other sponsors of IoTSSA's 2018 roadshows include Auvik, ConnectBooster, ConnectMeVoiceDatto, Fortinet, Mailprotector, Passportal, and Vault America.

Sharing insights like that is the guiding mission of IoTSSA’s website, podcasts, and other offerings.

“We’re trying to dig a little deeper to challenge MSPs to start thinking about what’s coming,” Sherman says. “They need to get ahead of some of these things, because their clients are going to start experiencing it.”

Live events are a critical part of the content delivery mix, he adds. “Not everybody learns online,” Sherman says. “That one-on-one face time is invaluable to a lot of the channel partners today.”

Kallhoff agrees. “Partnerships are made in person, not over the internet,” he says.

Zak Karsan, CEO of Boston-based archiving vendor Vault America, hopes to come away from this year’s IoTSSA shows with some partnerships of his own.

“It’s the next step,” Karsan says of the IoT. “Having our name as part of that is valuable.”

IoTSSA members, meanwhile, can expect more expert content at the four remaining stops on the organization’s 2018 roadshow tour.

“We’ll be covering some of the topics you don’t hear about as much in the channel,” Sherman says, citing the cybercrime black market known as “the dark web” and the pros and cons of buying cybersecurity insurance as examples.

The next IoTSSA event is scheduled to take place June 12 in Naperville, Ill. Registration is available here. The other three upcoming shows will be staged in Centennial, Colo., on August 14, Scottsdale, Ariz., on October 11, and Atlanta on December 6.

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