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Demand for Outsourcing Cybersecurity to Benefit MSPs

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Outsourcing cybersecurity is an increasingly attractive solution, creating new opportunities for MSPs, according to Syntax.

For its IT Trends Report, Syntax surveyed 500 U.S. IT decision makers. They were asked about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on their businesses and strategic decisions in 2021.

Among the findings, 83% of IT leaders with in-house security teams are now considering outsourcing cybersecurity to an MSP in 2021.

Eighty-nine percent said the pandemic accelerated their enterprise’s digital transformation last year. As a result, IT teams are stretched even thinner. Their workload includes implementing secure and collaborative work-from-home environments, onboarding new technologies and managing their company’s digital transformation initiative.

Cloud Security Should Be Higher Priority

Ryan Etinson is Syntax‘s CEO of the Americas.

Syntax's Ryan Etinson

Syntax’s Ryan Etinson

“It is particularly surprising that while the most challenging aspect of cloud deployment in 2021 was security, according to 51% of respondents, security did not rank in the top three cloud investments for 2021,” he said. “Instead, factors tied to business continuity took greater priority, which is unexpected since the success of backup/disaster recovery depends on adequate security in place.”

The more security vulnerabilities are minimized, the greater chance a business has to continue running or to recover from unforeseen events like cyberattacks, IT equipment failures and natural disasters, Etinson said.

Among other key findings:

  • Major budget and personnel cuts mount in IT despite increased cyberattacks and demands on IT. In 2020, 77% of IT leaders reported more frequent cyberattacks. However, many teams were ill-equipped to handle this increase in attacks.
  • IT leaders with internal security teams need more strategic counsel. Ninety-one percent of respondents either employed their own security operations center (SOC) or in-house security talent. However, of the IT leaders with in-house security teams that are now considering outsourcing to an MSP, 45% cited a lack of strategic counsel from existing tools.
  • Increasing cybersecurity spending with the 2020 spike in cyberattacks. More than half of IT leaders said they will allocate more than 40% of their IT budgets to cybersecurity. Additionally, 37% listed “improving cybersecurity protections” as their top IT investment this year.
  • Data/business analytics will substantially increase in 2021. Data analytics took a backseat last year because of the pandemic. But attitudes have shifted toward leveraging data to drive business decisions.

Challenges Ahead for MSPs

MSPs face challenges in meeting increasing demand for outsourcing cybersecurity, Etinson said.

“In order to take on the increased demand for their services due to remote work, MSPs will need scalable products and the ability to train additional staff quickly,” he said. “With this in mind, finding quality security staff is a major challenge for MSPs because technical competence is the hardest skill to find and is taught over time.”

MSPs have bench depth that a majority of regular IT organizations simply can’t afford to have, Etinson said.

“Often compared to the ‘Navy Seals’ of IT, the skill set here at the MSP grows because the number of challenges encountered at the interval of customer occurrence is high,” Etinson said. “Individual organizations may encounter a problem once a year where an MSP has seen it 14 times this month. MSPs help isolate the risk from individual contributors and provide a better costing model.”


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