The sheer number of open job reqs for skilled security professionals is between 3-4 million. With that much demand, how does an MSP prepare to elevate their practice to MSSP? No service is more in demand, but how do you find and attract a supply of the needed human resources to make the MSP to MSSP transition?

Howard M. Cohen

AUTHOR: Howard M. Cohen

Right now there are somewhere between 3 and 4 million or more open job requisitions around the world for people with information security skills

It’s more a statement on the difficulty of the challenge in data and network security than anything else. Right now there are somewhere between 3 and 4 million or more open job requisitions around the world for people with information security skills. Anyone with the requisite skills can literally write their own ticket.

This is not good news for MSPs, especially those who are working to evolve into MSSPs. It either becomes a very expensive proposition, or it becomes impossible to accomplish. If you’re aggressive you may want to bite the bullet, pay an exorbitant salary to an expert or two, then charge an even more exorbitant fee to your customers for the services of those people.

Another Path

MSPs who have solid technical people do have an alternative strategy for staffing their new security services division. It begins with your employment contract. The last thing you want to do is to increase the value of any of your people only to have them leave for bigger salaries elsewhere. To avoid this you need to fashion an agreement in which the employee commits to staying in your employ for a significant period of time after you’ve turned them into a superstar. If they fail to do so, they will be responsible to pay for their education at a pre-determined rate that would discourage them to leave.

Once you have that agreement signed and sealed with your best technical people, it’s conversion time. So how are we going to pull that off??

Your Vendor-Partners!

It should be stated right up front that there are some great learning centers in our channel that can give your people great security skills in a remarkably short period of time and are well worth whatever you’re investing to have them do so. That’s a great strategy.

Some MSPs have found that the best training resources they know live amongst their vendor-partners.

Some MSPs have found that the best training resources they know live amongst their vendor-partners. Some are experienced trainers, some are even licensed educators. Others are incredibly talented tech support personnel. Some work in the research & development labs that churn out better and better software all the time. They are some of the most informed and talented security professionals in this industry and they work for companies you consider yourself a partner of.

Even better, you integrate their products into the security strategies and solutions you sell to your customers, so the training itself will be as relevant as it possibly can be.

When a trainer starts with the fundamentals, you’re on your way to receiving a far more thorough, far more valuable education. Training on the operation of the vendor’s software comes later and is very quickly specifically because you’ve learned the fundamentals.

While universities will tell you it takes four years to graduate, or two at community colleges, and learning centers will offer you the opportunity to earn certification in six months, vendor training can often take just a few days, especially when it’s focused on a specific product or technology you’re selling a lot of. Once your vendor-partner’s products are deployed, and your personnel are trained by that vendor, you now have an open door to sell very high-margin services performed by your own staff. No subcontracting. You collect the high fees, and you don’t pay anything to anyone.

Once your vendor-partner’s products are deployed, and your personnel are trained by that vendor, you now have an open door to sell very high-margin services performed by your own staff.

The Age of Platform-of-Choice

Though IT engineers have long been known for idiosyncratically obsessing over specific point solution tools, we are experiencing a shift from “best-of-breed” tools to “best-of-platform suites that incorporate all the tools you need into one unit with one set of operating standards, one support source, and one design ethic. When you choose the right platform provider and have them train your people you have the ideal combination of technologies and technologists to launch your MSSP practice and begin a skyrocket to success.

Which vendor’s training programs do you find the most valuable for your business?  Your peers would love to hear from you in the Modern MSP Facebook Group.


About the Author

Senior Resultant Howard M. Cohen is a 35+ year executive veteran of the Information Technology industry, an authorized CompTIA instructor, and a regular contributor to many IT industry publications. After 35 years as an IT industry executive, Howard has been writing for and about the channel since 2009.

He has served on many vendor advisory panels including the Apple, Compaq, HP, IBM, and NEC Service Advisory Councils. He has also served on the Ingram Micro Service Network board and as a U.S. Board member of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners. 

Howard is a well-known frequent speaker at IT industry events including Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (now Inspire), Citrix Synergy/Summit, ConnectWise IT Nation, ChannelPro Forums, Cloud Partners Summit, MicroCorp One-On-One, and CompTIA ChannelCon. 

Howard refers to himself as a “Senior Resultant” because he has always understood that we are all measured only by our results. Connect with Howard at hmc@hmcwritenow.com and review his portfolio at www.authory.com/howardmcohen.