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Pax8 MSP Super Session: Solution Stack Is Key To Stopping Security Attacks

"I think in general the industry needs to embrace the suite or the bundle mentality because security is a broad conversation," said Dan Johnson, president of machineLOGIC, an MSP based in Denver, Colo.

Four top MSPs told XChange 2019 attendees that the key to stopping cyber-attacks in their tracks is delivering customers a standard security stack.

"I think in general the industry needs to embrace the suite or the bundle mentality because security is a broad conversation," said Dan Johnson, president of machineLOGIC, an MSP based in Denver, Colo. "If you’re focusing on individual line items it bogs down the sales cycle. You really want to focus on that operational security for your customer. By presenting a suite, it covers a lot of the bases the customer needs.”

The MSP super session – titled "2019: The Year of Security for MSPs"- was moderated by Ryan Walsh, chief channel officer for upstart cloud distributor Pax8, which now has 5,000 MSP customers.

Zac Paulson, CEO of True IT, an MSP based in West Fargo, N.D. said his business is doing away with a la carte security solutions and instead leading with an advanced bundle solution.

“We’re moving more away from that line card, pick a solution for this and pick a solution for that, and really trying to lead with ‘Here’s the advanced bundle,’ rather than every time you go to one of these conferences and you bring home one new product the poor customer feels like we sell them something every time they see our face,” he said.

Another tactic is introducing mandatory security minimums to customers, said David Rounds, CEO of NetEffect, a Las Vegas-based MSP. NetEffect discovered that putting the right security solution stack together made customers more secure, minimized the number of security incidents its staff had to remediate and has thus made the business more profitable.

“All of our customers are required to have a certain level of security stack, which includes the basics like phishing protection, anti-virus, malware, we also have breach detection, as well as DNS security, all of those are required in order to be on our managed service platform,” he said. “The surprising thing for us that we found is that we got a lot more efficient. Our profitability went up because our techs weren’t chasing their tails around a piece of malware.”

As to the key to security incident response when a customer is breached, Allan Jocson, CEO of AgilitecIT, also based in Las Vegas, said having a plan that has been practiced and refined is critical.

“You have to have an established incident response system, and or dedicated teams in place to respond quickly,” he said. “Speed is the key in any breach. It's something that we have to practice and test. It's almost like practicing for a football game. You have to be ready to go when it happens.”

Johnson said MSPs must employ some sort of data backup protection for customers.

“One of the key things that gets left out of the security conversation is data protection and data backup,” he said. “It is the last line of defense. Being able to roll the system back. Being able to restore data if it's been encrypted or lost. That has to be part of the security discussion.”

Walsh said Pax8's mantra is to continue to simplify the cloud journey for its MSP customers. "The big problem we are here to solve is we believe distribution was broken for the cloud," he said.

Paulson said it was only after working with Pax8 that he realized how badly traditional distribution is broken.

"When we got to know Pax8 we found out what a big deal it was," he said. "We didn't know we were leaking that much in terms of all the time we were spending. Simplicity. Pax8 understands cloud distribution and that is very rare in the market."

Johnson said his company has benefitted from strategizing with Pax8 on key issues related to growing its cloud business. "Having an open dialogue with your team really helped us a lot and made the shift to Pax8 a no-brainer," he said.

Pax8's "efficiency and automation" related to cloud sales is key to NetEffect's success, said Rounds. "Not having to have purchasing or administrative staff involved in adding a [cloud] license or removing a license, enabling our techs to do it live on the fly was a huge deal for us," he said. "I am an operations guy. That is about driving profitability. The margins were good too."

AgiltecIT has benefited from Pax8's efficiency and on the education side of the cloud business with bootcamps, said Jocson. "They've been a great partner," he said.

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