As a Security Integrator, you have a bottom line to manage and employees to support, all the while providing your clients with exceptional service. As a business, you need to plan for the future and budget appropriately. These can all be challenging tasks when you’re operating in a break-fix model. In addition, growth is markedly unpredictable because your revenue is based on reactive services.
Is there an alternative?
Switching to a managed services model where clients pay you a fixed monthly/yearly rate to manage their entire security infrastructure is a new market approach many forward-thinking integrators are considering, and many are already practicing with success. If done correctly, this transition can bring reliable revenue in an ever-shifting marketplace.
The transition from an unpredictable break-fix model to a proactive managed services model requires some planning. A well thought out plan should include multiple steps and range from deploying the proper automation technologies to identifying key markets where this approach can prove successful.
If you’re considering becoming a managed service provider (MSP) in the security industry, these five steps will help set you up for success.
Step #1 Know What to Expect
The first step to deploying managed security services is to have a strong understanding on what you’re doing and what service differentiators you would like to claim. As the modern world is demanding security service innovation, it’s important to remember your customers’ needs are now primarily driven by the desire for infrastructure which keeps them protected anytime and everywhere. It’s important to stay on top of industry trends like this so you can ensure you are providing the types of services your customers are beginning to expect. Putting their needs first will help secure your role as a one-stop shop your customers can trust.
To begin with, talk with your customers and ask them how you can better meet their needs. Ask them if it would be valuable to have you manage their security infrastructure as a service. Find out if they would find value in having you alert them to potential failures inside their security systems before they happen. See if this type of program which assures their video surveillance and other security systems are operating as expected will bring them peace of mind
Next, be sure to scope out the competition. Managed service offerings are varied. It’s important to familiarize yourself with available options and to find out what other integrators are offering. Make a list of service offerings and consider which ones are a good fit or design for your business. Be sure to discuss all of them with your team. When in doubt, get some advice. There are consultants out there who can help you.
Step #2 Establish Your Offering
Once you have a good understanding of the managed security service market, you’ll want to use the knowledge to create your offering. Some of the most popular components of managed service plans include remote monitoring, help desk support, managed security, and patch management for outdated software.
After you determine which services you will provide, the next step is to assess your team’s skill set. See if there are any skill set gaps between the type of services you want to offer and what your current team can handle. Don’t forget to evaluate the sales team. Selling managed security services and RMR/ARR (recurring monthly revenue/annual recurring revenue) can be a difficult transition for most integrator salespeople. Many forward-thinking integrators hire specifically for this skill set.
When you have the right people in place, you can trust your customers will have the best experience. Happy clients mean more business and referrals.
Step #3 Set the Right Price
Once you have decided on your offering, the next step is to set the right price. Keep in mind, this can be a difficult task. It’s important to research and run the numbers. Making an informed pricing decision about managed security services is to determine how much it costs you to perform one hour of service. Take into consideration the following:
• Remote Desk Support
• Travel Time
• Onsite Support
Customize an approach which will meet the needs of your customers and your business.
Step #4 Leverage the Power of Automation
One of the key aspects of managed security services is taking advantage of automated software. You will want to take advantage of at least two types of automation software. We recommended Remote Monitoring and Management as well as Professional Services Automation. Managed security services can help to eliminate some of the more traditional methods of on-site visits. It also increases your efficiency in some cases by removing the need to roll a truck.
Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)
With an RMM software solution like Vunetrix Network Monitor (VNM), you can deliver the best possible reactive and proactive response times for your customers. Our software will monitor your customers’ entire security infrastructure, check each device every 60 seconds, and alert you when there’s a problem or potential problem. With VNM in place, you can stop putting out fires and start creating billable time.
Professional Services Automation (PSA)
A PSA solution is an essential tool for today’s security service provider, allowing you to have a total 360-degree view of your company’s day-to-day workflows and results. Look for a PSA tool like ConnectWise Manage that enables you to organize your business around one system so all parties can connect and communicate through one unified operational platform.
You may want to consider the power of integration before you purchase your PSA and RMM solutions. Integration enables you to efficiently capture more billable time, improve ticket management, and even identify and manage sales opportunities.
Step #5 Prepare Your Team
Growing your company through a business model re-design is never an easy task. That’s why it’s important to identify the right people to help you. Empowerment is important as well. Here are the key aspects to consider when preparing your team for a manages security service rollout.
Get Operational Systems in Place
- Develop Revenue Model
- Deploy New or Set Up Existing Service/Ticketing System
- Develop Sales Quotas and Commission Structure
- Develop Policy to Mandate Sales Team to add Proactive Health Services to Service Contracts
- Set Up Accounting Department for Annual/Monthly Recurring Billing
- Develop Process for Supporting Client Sites and Assure it Aligns with Service/Ticketing System
- Create Internal Customer Workflow Integrating VNM
Train Your Teams
- Engineer/Technician Training for VNM System Deployment & Optimization
- Service Department Training
- Receiving Proactive Health Alerts
- Remote Troubleshooting
- Dispatching Service
- Sales Team Training
- Teach sales team how to sell the benefits of Proactive Health Services and Managed Security Services
- Help sales team understand Market Positioning
- Assure sales team has buy-in with new managed security services approach
Selling managed security services is at first an intangible product. You will need to lead your sales team and ensure they have a strong understanding of the value managed services brings to your customer and the company.
While proper compensation is important, leadership is key. In our experience, only those integrators who fully get behind a managed service model from the top down, are successful.
Pilot One or Two Customers
- Fine-tune business processes
- Fine-tune SLAs
Engage Target Customers
- Identify early adopters
- Compliance / Highly Regulated Industries
- Customers with device failures and/or equipment issues from the past year
- Any customer under a service contract you would like to add value to
- Survey current customers without a service contract
- Deploy targeted marketing campaigns by industry (Vunetrix supports integration partners with white-label marketing materials and turnkey campaigns)
- Vunetrix provides in depth sales training and Field Sales Support to all integration partners certified to sell VNN.
If you are a forward-thinking integrator and believe managed security services should be in your future, take a look at this video “Rethinking the Channel in a XaaS World” by J.B. Wood TSIA. Wood gives some incredible insight for partners and vendors alike.