• MSPs must close the ‘trust gap’ to succeed in 2020

        • Trust is the most important factor for CIOs when choosing IT partners to work with, according to new research, showing that 80 per cent of respondents rate it as ‘quite important’ or ‘very important’ in their decision-making. 

          However, trust in these providers appears to be falling short, with only 50 per cent of CIOs saying they trust their existing security reseller ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a great deal’, while less than a quarter (24%) say the same about providers they don’t currently work with.  

          The study by ESET, the security solutions provider, asked over 100 IT decision-makers about their future plans around cybersecurity and their views towards their security partners. At a time when competition for security budgets is fiercer than ever, these findings are likely to be a concern for IT resellers and services providers, many of whom are aiming to deepen their relationships and become ‘trusted advisers’ to clients.  

          CIOs rate trust in their channel partner (4.12 out of 5) as more important than having a high level of technical and engineering expertise (4.10) and cost (4.04), while their provider’s knowledge of new technologies is rated as significantly less important in influencing end-users’ choice of security supplier (3.88). However, right at the bottom of the pile in terms of importance are regular contact from account managers (3.44), a painless renewals process (3.55), and peer recommendation (3.55).  

          When asked who they trust most for guidance in selecting IT security products, CIOs are a fairly cynical bunch, with potential new providers of IT products and services ranking as the least trusted source of guidance at an average of just 2.5. However, they are most likely to turn to peers at other organisations in a relevant sector (3.88), ahead of any other source. Peers are placed some way ahead of current VAR or MSP partners (3.53) and security vendors (3.48).  

          Meanwhile, government entities such as the National Cyber Security Centre are less trusted than one might expect, with CIOs rating them just 3.66 out of a possible 5 for trustworthiness. And, worryingly, there is further evidence of the lack of faith IT professionals have in their colleagues; the average level of trust placed in employees’ ability to follow IT security best practice is rated at just 2.86. 

          David Mole, UK Channel Director at ESET said, “whilst expensive, security is an increasingly important investment for CIOs, which means finding the right partner is essential.  the vital role that security plays in protecting organisations’ systems and data, it is understandable that trust is paramount when choosing suppliers. However, our findings show that resellers and MSPs aren’t always living up to expectations, particularly when marketing their services to potential clients. If security VARs and MSPs are to become ‘trusted advisors’ to end-users, it’s essential that they focus on listening to the client’s needs and developing a tailored solution, rather than immediately suggesting a prescriptive approach. Channel partners need to demonstrate experience and understanding of the unique challenges faced by end-users, emphasise the value that they can add, ensure that they are focused on adding real value for the long-term, and, crucially, deliver on their promises.” 

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