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Intelisys Cyber Security Expert: AI is Growing, but Beware, Hackers Use It Too

By Erik Linask

Every day it seems, there’s a new major security breach in the news – and those are just the ones we hear about.  The fact is security has to be a priority for every company, and very importantly, for service providers charged with managing networks, data, and communications for their clients.  The simple fact is most businesses don’t have the expertise – or the resources – to manage their security on their own, which is why the ongoing security threat is such an opportunity for the MSP community. 

This is one of the topics Intelisys’ National Cyber Security Specialist Ivan Paynter will be discussing at MSP Expo – part of the TechSuperShow experience in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida this week.  I took some time to get his thoughts on not only security, but other opportunities for MSPs to build their MRR.  Here’s some of what he had to say.

Give us a brief update on the latest news from your company.

Intelisys continues to support our partners in delivering unique customer experiences and real-time, on-demand, top-quality digital experiences to serve as key differentiators for our partners’ businesses. In this era of digital transformation, Intelisys has recently introduced new tools, enhancements and education resources, all available in the MyIntelisys partner portal, including CX Switch; Virtual Assistant tools; geolocator tools such as Compass, Fiber Search Tool and SupplierScope; Supplier Battlecards, and more.

Intelisys also released a new Wireless/IoT Solutions Professional certification on Intelisys Cloud Services University. The certification offers comprehensive educational training to assist channel sales professionals with developing the knowledge and skills needed to deploy Wireless and IoT solutions to end customers.

Intelisys’ parent company, ScanSource, also continues to invest in our Partners’ long-term success, through new executive leadership changes that will allow for our Partners’ accelerated, scalable integration and an expansion of resources. In support of ScanSource’s investment, Mark Morgan has been appointed President, Paul Constantine has been named Executive Vice President of Supplier Services, and Mike Ketchum now serves as Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations.

What is driving the growth of the MSP market? 

It has become increasingly difficult to secure one’s infrastructure, as we are a mobile interconnected, cloud-centrist society. The workforce is no longer encapsulated. The IoT is here, and we are connected! Security must be agile, intuitive and intelligent to meet the evolving needs of a company.

What is creating an increased demand for managed services?

Infrastructures can no longer be secured via a firewall. It has also become extremely difficult to hire and retain quality cyber security professionals— there is currently a zero unemployment rate. Further, the attack vectors are so vast, and security so in depth, that it requires professionals to ensure due diligence throughout. 

What opportunities exist for MSPs to expand their offerings and increase their value to their customers?

Cyber security is constantly in flux; MDRs / MSSPs must remain agile to remain vital.  Integration of pertinent security data to identify abnormalities.  The use of AI / ML (Machine Learning) with a constant understanding that the human element is the greatest vulnerability. 

What is the biggest challenge your customers are facing that creates an opportunity for MSPs?

One of the biggest challenges is not knowing what you don’t know. Ensuring that customer environments are monitored, managed and remediated with minimal data exposures. 

How are you helping businesses overcome those challenges?

I provide tenured cyber security working knowledge, which provides me the acumen to dive deep into the client’s environments. This allows me to provide an in-depth insight into the client’s needs and requirements.  This knowledge and insight allows for the correct integration between client and suppliers—finding the right supplier fit for each client.  

What is the MSP opportunity in delivering cybersecurity services to their customers?

The true opportunity for each supplier is to meet and exceed the requirements of each client. This again is why selecting the correct supplier for the client is critical. Suppliers must remain agile and current to remain vital.  

What challenges do MSPs face as they grow their businesses and seek to increase MRR?

There can be a certain amount of trepidation around managed services, as these services could be viewed as outsourcing IT jobs. Often an MDR must show the integration into the client’s environment¾but more importantly, into the client’s support team. 

How important are automation and AI to the MSP industry?

AI, and moreover ML, are already in wide use and will continue to grow. However, the use of AI and ML is not relegated to the MDRs—hackers are also utilizing AI.

How are MSPs able to handle the constant evolution of technology from an IT expertise perspective to ensure they can deliver the services their customers need?

One of the advantages MDRs / MSSPs have is the mass exposure and visibility to malfeasance and hacker tactics. This exposure allows MSPs to comprehend and defend against new attack methods.

There’s already been a lot of consolidation in the MSP space – do you expect that to continue? 

I believe you will continue to see a growth of MSP and continued M&A as larger carriers are looking to gain leverage and value-added security platforms. 

Please offer one exciting or surprising prediction for the MSP market in 2020.

ML and AI will continue to grow in the industry. We will see more of a moved to the edge with greater data control an API integration. A surprising prediction—I believe ransomware will continue to proliferate environments. I also believe you will see ransomware on more mobile devices, which will lead to great MDM solutions. 

Why is your session at MSP Expo a must-attend?

My session will cover security concerns and issues, as well as the opportunities within the security space. How we got here, and what we all can do to combat the ever-growing network compromises. My session will be far from your standard PowerPoint presentation—you won’t want to miss it.




Edited by Erik Linask

Group Editorial Director

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