ments to best meet the needs of the business. Taking the rollout of these services slowly allows you to evaluate what might be working and what’s not. Value also matters. It’s important to determine that upfront. An advantage of working with an MSSP is the exposure they have to a variety of customers and situations, which can help drive best practices (and work within the appropriate legal and privacy frameworks). To become the trusted advisor to your customer’s, the MSSP must develop an expertise of sorts, and your customer base validates that during your growth. Customers also need more than just great security. Providers must deliver services in a materially better and costeffective manner than competitors (or a customer’s own security department). That means that operational efficiency is at the heart of this business model. MSSPs need better service at a better price point, all while still managing profitability. But the journey can be full of roadblocks ready to sidetrack customers and redirect revenue. Areas to focus on are ease of management, flexibility to buy, a single vendor to support your customer base, and finding partners that understand revenue shifts cannot happen overnight when transitioning to the new model. For example, is the provider willing to help you buy products and services monthly without signing a lease or a contract? Similarly, reducing your vendor stack improves productivity and success in managing platforms for your customers. Remember, an MSSP is not the same as a company that does security outsourcing deals (either outsourcing on customer premises or remotely). MSSPs need to envision, operate and deliver a service under the “one-tomany model.” That means there needs to be a high degree of replicability and transportability, which helps find the value-add, differentiation and operational productivity. The economics, the differentiations and the expected profitability are all different. This does not mean MSSPs can’t adapt to different customer situations, but it does mean they need to hone the model. Finally, consider your current costs to run your technical staff for a variety of customers. With an MSSP format, selling consistent packages allows for stable support. Over time upfront costs of this model will reduce as technical support remains consistent while recurring revenues increase. Being able to manage 99 percent of a customer’s needs from your office, engaging in vendors with cloud management platforms, even vendors that have remote installation services, will quickly bring profitability. For organizations that make the transition to offering managed security services, the opportunities are immense. However, keep in mind the challenges that can occur within along the way. Analyzing your business and priorities and considering all options greaty improves success when it comes to overcoming these challenges. o Mark Romano is director of worldwide channel and field marketing at WatchGuard Technologies. THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK 34