If you want to know how to start an MSP then you really need to understand what managed services really are, and be able to explain to a customer why they need them.
As business owners you have to start by understanding why even bother with selling managed services? That’s a legit question. One reason is that it gives you that steady, predictable revenue so you’re not in a cycle of feast or famine, right? Then that allows you to hire and plan for growth without losing your shirt and being fearful of hiring tech. This is good for you and it’s good for your customers because if you get a client on a regular maintenance plan, you can then staff for it.
The problem with break fix is you never know when a client is going to call you out of the blue and say, “We’ve just gotten ransomed and we need you to dive in here and help us.” You might be able to do that if you’re slow, but if you’re booked with business, and you don’t have the resources allocated to help them… Then you can’t.
Your clients are better served and protected from data loss, downtime and cyber attacks as well. Break fix is not the professional way to deliver IT support and services, because you’re not helping these guys. You’re not helping your clients by allowing them to go without being in some sort of maintenance plan, or proactive cyber setting with cybersecurity and backups at a minimum.
It’s important to get “better clients” because the ones who really value IT, they want managed services. It’s the cheapo, small penny pincher clients that want break fix. If you want to know how to start an MSP, from what you’re already doing, you need to be able to explain these advantages to your client. You actually elevate the customer because they want to know that they can pick up a phone to call you and get a response within 15 minutes. You need to resource plan for that.
I think it’s an essential step to becoming an operationally mature IT firm instead of a “trunk slammer.” I didn’t come up with that term. A lot of my clients call the smaller guys “trunk slammers” because they work out of their trunk. I call it “tech with helpers“. Our logo is “Keep it R.E.A.L.” R.E.A.L stands for the kind of business you want, which is Rewarding, Easy, Attractive, Lucrative. Not a T.E.C.H business which is Tedious, Exhausting, Chaotic and Hard. You don’t want to be a tech with helpers. You want to actually mature as a business and grow beyond that.
The Department of Justice has just launched a new civil cyber fraud initiative.
Essentially what’s going on is the government is looking to regulate cybersecurity. That means you and the services that you deliver. One example of this already, happened to one of our sponsors. They’re an MSSP and the lawsuit states that they should have warned their customer about phishing. The MSSP was in charge of maintaining a secure environment and was to set security accordingly. What the suit is alleging is that they they failed to install antivirus and for two years never delivered a quarterly business review (which is another thing that we recommend).
It’s kind of like the Ring doorbell lawsuit. There was a class action suit against them when a lot of their users got hacked. Now, the reason that the Ring doorbell users got hacked and had people spying on them in their homes and talking to their kids through the the speaker of the doorbell was because they had things like “password” as their password. It wasn’t a failure of Ring doorbell. It wasn’t a technical failure.
So of course they were getting hacked. However, that didn’t matter because it was implied that the Ring doorbell should have been keeping their customers safe with two factor authentication or some kind of requirement for passwords. You can make the argument of the users reusing passwords and using weak passwords. That’s the same argument that’s going to be used against you as an IT firm. If your client gets hacked and their backups fail and you’re the one who sold it to them and set it up, but you weren’t maintaining it or managing it… and you’re not meeting with me and urging me to increase my protections in that area, then it could be said that you are negligent.
Break fix has become a dinosaur way of doing things. You really want to move to converting to managed services work for the revenue, profitability, stability, maturity of your business, cash flow and most importantly… just taking care of your customers. Give them what they really need. It’s longer smart or responsible to throw antivirus on a client’s PC and call it done. Nor is it ethical to hold back on selling managed services, because you have a responsibility. We as an industry have to raise our standards for protection to clients.