WATCH: Cloud, Cybersecurity Lead The Discussion At XChange 2018

Cloud and cybersecurity were hot topics on the first day of XChange 2018.

“Those two kind of go hand in hand as people realize cloud’s happening whether we want it to or not,” said Chad Hodges, president of HSB Solutions, a networking services company in Sacramento, Calif., that provides resources for government information technology projects. “It’s just a matter of how I do it right.”

Cloud distributor Pax8, meanwhile, said solution providers have a huge opportunity to bring more cloud customers on board.

“There’s an evolution in the marketplace that’s offering an opportunity never seen before and that is the Trojan horse that is Microsoft,” said Nick Heddy, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Pax8. Heddy pointed to opportunities with Microsoft’s Office365.

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Among companies with 250 or fewer employees, 15 percent have migrated to Office365. That number is expected to jump to 63 percent over the next 12 months, or 23 million users, creating huge opportunity for partners, he said.

Managed service providers also can find lots of opportunity within cybersecurity.

“The cybersecurity industry is obviously hot. The managed security services space is the sweet spot,” said Stephan Tallent, director of managed security service providers at Fortinet.

One area where they can play a role is in threat intelligence.

“Threat intelligence is not a simple feat,” said Tallent. “What should you be acting on? What is background noise you’re not to be concerned about? Well, that’s a difficult task and that’s the engine of the MSP.”

Hodges noted that many MSPs are worried about their margins. Here’s the advice he gained from Sunday’s XChange session

.“Understand what your processes are going to be, what your workflows are going to be – and automate as much as humanly possible.” XChange continues in San Antonio until Wednesday. For more of CRNtv’s coverage, watch the video included in this article.