2019 Predictions for MSPs in the IT Channel

Be Different. Deliver Excellence.


Dec 28, 2018

Video above: Greg VanDeWalker, Hannah Erb and Jake Wagner share their MSP predictions for 2019.

Listen to our New Collabrance Podcast (or view video above) to hear our predictions for MSPs in 2019.

Click here to view the podcast.

3 Predictions for MSPs in 2019!

Collabrance connects with several industry thought leaders in the IT channel, as well as thousands of MSPs across the U.S. Based on our exposure to the industry, here are our predictions for MSPs in 2019.

1. MSPs will see more Co-opetition (Cooperation & Competition) in the IT Channel.

So what does "Co-opetition" mean? Today, more than ever you find companies in the market place that you use as a vendor and they also compete with you. So why would someone consider that?

Here are a couple questions to consider:

  • Look at your business, "Are you best in class (BIC) in EVERY aspect of your managed services offering?"
  • Look at the things you built yourself; "How long did it take you to build it? Were you BIC right out of the gate?"

Collabrance has embraced the Co-opetition methodology. There are many parts of our business we built and want to always own. But we definitely partner with companies to deliver parts of our solution. We compete with someone who takes the approach that they want to build/buy it all and deliver almost everything. My question to that model is what are you really good at? Can you be BIC at everything?

Some of the companies Collabrance partners with includes: Datto for BDR, Fortinet for Firewall, BitDefender for AV, plus many others. The thought process is let these companies focus on making their products and services BIC, let them spend their R&D dollars. In return, this allows Collabrance to invest in the parts of the offerings in which we are BIC while also helping us with speed to market. Once our vendor comes out with a new service, we can quickly role it out to our partners.

Part of the reason I predict this for 2019 is the demand for MSSP offerings and is really almost at the point that it is table stakes. You must have MSSP for the SMB space to be relevant and add value to your customers. I don’t know of anyone who does security without partnering.


We love the idea and see it being very applicable today and absolutely critical as we move into 2019. In fact, one area where we will see most of this co-opetition, is security which leads us to our next 2019 prediction for MSPs...

2. MSP’s who take a serious look at the cyber threat landscape will not only re-evaluate their current security framework, but will recognize the necessity to continue adding to this security framework through means of build, buy, or partner. And those MSP’s who can profitably bundle these additional security services will not only continue scaling, but most importantly maintain the integrity and security of their customer’s networks.

Most MSP’s today are delivering some form of basic security on top of the typical managed services… what do we mean? Basically, you’ve managed to achieve what we call “good hygiene” that is generally comprised of:

  • Email encryption and spam filtering
  • Web content filtering
  • Antivirus and Anti-malware
  • Firewall management

But unfortunately, that will not cut it as we continue to compete in this never-ending arms race between us, the good guys, and the cyber criminals. As we talk about MSP 2.0 and 3.0 ask yourselves these key questions:

  • "Do you have an incident response plan to quickly recover from a data breach or related incident?"
  • "If you were summoned, (legal action) to a deposition in the event of a data breach, are you in a defensible position?"

MSP 2.0 is one who has mastered basic security and is now looking to add the following core elements:

  • Password protection
  • Single Sign-on
  • Disk encryption
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Cybersecurity risk assessment
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Intrusion detection, aka IDS
  • Threat intelligence platform also known as TIP
  • Managed SOC
  • And last but not least security awareness training

(If you’re bundling these services we’d expect the end user price to be roughly $150-$200/user)

MSP 3.0 is a whole other level and can include the following:

  • SIEM or log collection
  • Endpoint detect and response
  • Data loss prevention
  • Network access control
  • And user behavior analytics or UBA

(Something like this should sell for north of $250/user)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. And that’s exactly why organizations such as NIST are such valuable assets when navigating cyber security. NIST’s professional obligation is to raise awareness of the cyber threat landscape and help MSP’s understand the common frameworks used to deliver security services. And they see it as their mission to educate us on said framework while simultaneously ensuring we understand our costs and price to delivery. NIST is the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Based on their cybersecurity framework version 1.1 they’ve broken it into 5 core competencies.

  1. Identify: legitimate assets and systems
  2. Protect: proactively increase the difficulty for the bad guys to attack
  3. Detect: this is the reconnaissance of attacks as they occur
  4. Respond: the blocking of network traffic and/or shutting down harmful processes
  5. And lastly, and most important… Recover: can you restore data and restart systems?

With SOC as a part of the MSP 2.0 cyber security framework, an MSP looking to build this offering themselves could expect it comes with a high cost. It is estimated the capital expense alone, ranging from the required hardware (servers and workstations), SIEM solution, forensic software and imaging storage is a whopping $1.2 million dollars. What that DOESN’T include is operating this newly built SOC. Between your Tier 1 through 3 analysts, threat hunters, forensic specialist, malware engineers and SOC manager, you’re going to need another $1.3 million a year just to operate!


This is a great segway into our 2019 MSP prediction on outsourcing...

3. Outsourcing in general will only continue to evolve in 2019 to help increase efficiency. Specifically, MSPs are learning they are not able to do everything and need help to scale as fast as they want to.

Collabrance has embraced the Co-opetition methodology and we outsource parts of our solution to companies who are already out there doing it because WE recognize we can’t do it all. And if there are other companies who have already perfected their solution we can leverage, why wouldn’t we outsource to them? Seems like a no brainer right?!

But even finding the right partners takes time and dedication. At Collabrance we have a dedicated Product Development Team who is constantly seeking our partner’s feedback on what they are seeing in the field and what we need to add to our technology roadmap. Once on the roadmap it takes work to vet, test, and roll out properly. While making sure this technology is something which 100% of our partners can sell and sell effectively. Gary Pica from TruMethods will tell you how critical it is that your partners can sell the technology you are adding and we couldn’t agree more.

So when you think about your company, ask yourself:

  • "How many of you outsource a percentage (if not all) of the technology you sell to your customers?"
  • "How much time does this save you and what are you able to do with that time?"

We talk to MSPs across the nation using different models and the amount of time they save by outsourcing is substantial. However with any partnership, make sure they have a culture that aligns with yours, and learn as much as you can about how they will treat your end customers. Choosing the wrong partner as an extension of your team can be detrimental if they are not a good fit, which could reflect poorly on your customers and business. If the outsourced partner can effectively manage one or several areas of your business so you don’t have to, it can enable you to focus your time on other strategic things needed to move the business forward. Partnering allows you to scale faster and with less risk than if you were to build your managed services business from the ground up.


Future MSP Discussions and Podcasts

Each one of these predictions are full discussions in itself. We get questions from MSPs all the time related to these topics. Check back with us in the coming weeks for more information around these areas and other MSP best practices from industry thought leaders. We hope you enjoyed today’s conversation, thanks everyone!


Tags: podcast
Category: Business Practices

About The Author

Brittney Stepanek

Brittney Stepanek, Strategic Marketing Director for Collabrance, is responsible for helping build relationships and brand awareness through strategic marketing initiatives. Before working at Collabrance, Brittney joined GreatAmerica in 2012 doing marketing for the Office Equipment Group. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Iowa.