Key Trends That Will Define MSSP Success in 2022

By Jon Bove | February 01, 2022

Over the past couple of years, organizations have been called to be flexible in how they expect their employees to work. In-office, work-from-anywhere, and hybrid work environments all have their own sets of benefits and challenges, which is why many organizations have partnered with MSSPs to help them navigate these new landscapes. Work-from-anywhere presents challenges for customers, giving MSSPs new ways to differentiate themselves in this competitive market.

How MSSPs Can Help Their Customers Move Forward 

MSSPs and partners must provide offerings that help their customers thrive no matter where employees are physically working. Understanding trends enables partners to take a proactive approach to defining new services that can drive revenue as part of 2022 goal setting.

1. Implementation of Multi-cloud Strategies

These new changes in work drive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) adoption because these solutions offer greater availability, cost reduction, and flexible scalability. Multi-cloud strategies offer companies a way to accelerate time to market, agility, innovation, and cost savings while also providing better outcomes and customer experiences.

However, the increased complexity that a distributed computing environment creates also increases cybersecurity risks. Organizations with multi-cloud environments must secure remote work and computing across private clouds, enterprise edges, edge clouds, and core clouds. This creates a broad attack surface that contains new technologies and legacy infrastructures and investments.

MSSPs and partners looking to increase revenue should find ways to offer enhanced security protections for multi-cloud strategies to align themselves with customers’ shifting business needs. This means providing uniform visibility and tight integration with cloud providers. MSSPs that can deliver services to these edges and shift security to a more hybrid model will be able to enhance their sales pipelines by adapting their offerings to these new IT models.

2. Combining SD-WAN and ZTNA

To enable the continuity of remote and hybrid work models, organizations must provide reliable access to applications and important data that their employees need while also ensuring continued security. Unfortunately, these goals have been challenging for organizations to achieve as business changes shift dramatically frequently.

The need to continuously authenticate all remote users and devices while also attesting to device security has become increasingly crucial to mitigating the risk of ransomware and credential theft attacks.

Meanwhile, from both practical security and compliance standpoints, zero trust architectures are becoming more than just a “marketing buzzword” as a way to secure remote access and dynamic business changes.

For MSSPs and partners, this presents an opportunity to support customers by giving them a way to maximize network speed and security with a combination of SD-WAN and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). Effective Secure SD-WAN solutions enable customers to connect branch offices and remote workers to multiple cloud environments securely with the speed necessary to ensure continued productivity. SD-WAN should provide features like dynamic failover, SLA-based application steering, and application availability with enterprise-grade security.

ZTNA reinforces the security of a customer’s SD-WAN deployment by providing secure access to applications while assuming that no user or device is trusted until proven otherwise. When incorporating ZTNA with SD-WAN, MSSPs and partners can offer additional defense and security. In other words, integrating security and networking is crucial to ensuring that MSSPs and partners can support customers’ new work-from-anywhere security needs.

3. Prioritization of MDR and XDR Security Services

SD-WAN and ZTNA enable users and devices to securely connect to networks and applications. But unfortunately, no matter how well prepared an organization is, threat actors will continue to try to exploit a new vulnerability or gain unauthorized access by flying under the radar.

This makes reactive solutions like managed detection and response (MDR) and extended detection and response (XDR) equally important to addressing customer changing security needs. The increase in double extortion ransomware attacks over the last few years highlights the importance of these solutions. Unfortunately, organizations often think that they have the protection they need while their tools fail to cover the entire attack surface or remain loosely integrated. Both of these problems limit an organization’s ability to normalize and correlate data for effective, high-value analytics and automation.

This creates a market gap that MSSPs and partners can use to their advantage. Offering MDR and XDR technologies that provide artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities for advanced detection and response can help differentiate a services provider within the market. XDR provides the fully automatable detection, investigation, and response capabilities that enhance the SD-WAN infrastructure. And on the other side, MDR automation provides the additional layer of response automation that halts lateral movement. Combined and tightly integrated into the rest of the security technology stack, these two offerings give MSSPs and partners the ability to show that they understand and can respond to evolving threat methodologies.

4. Increased Adoption of Security Platforms

Changes in the overall structure of work as we know it increases the complexity of modern networks. Problematically, organizations have found that they can no longer effectively manage security with disconnected, scattered tools. Off-network devices, 5G and LTE, multi-cloud environments, and converged operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) networks all introduce unique security challenges. Most customers use point solutions to manage these, purchasing a tool that responds to a new risk as they try to get ahead of threats and meet increasingly strict compliance mandates.

However, managing multiple, non-integrated security point products creates two problems. First, this disconnect increases alert fatigue as teams struggle to respond to high volumes of alerts across the different products. Second, these often lead to gaps in visibility that make detecting vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and threats challenging.

To support customers with forward-thinking services, MSSPs and customers alike must consider adopting centralized management and reporting with native multi-tenancy that offers extensive customization, advanced automation, and extensive third-party technology integrations. Considering the challenges organizations now face as their employees continue to work from anywhere, MSSPs and partners have a unique opportunity to distinguish their offerings by providing a broad security platform that enables customers to integrate security and networking. In doing so, they can provide a single-source of security truth that customers need to mature their programs.

A Look Into the Future

The future of work is changing, as is the future of MSSPs and partners. Providing a tightly integrated control plane with SD-WAN, ZTNA, XDR, and MDR builds the framework customers need to establish and mature their security posture. For MSSPs and partners looking to expand their offerings as part of their revenue goals, cybersecurity mesh platforms, like the Fortinet Security Fabric platform, can help them reduce their overhead while also giving customers the solutions they need to meet 2022 head-on.

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