MSP Expo is the premier annual conference and networking summit for MSPs, channel executives, partners, and solutions providers. This year’s event took place from June 21-24 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Devolutions was a “Silver Sponsor” of the MSP Expo 2022, and our team was headed by Maurice Cote, our VP of Business Solutions. I recently met with Maurice to learn about his experiences at the summit. Here is a recap of our discussion (my questions are in bold followed by Maurice’s responses).
Generally, what was your impression of MSP Expo?
I am happy to say that my impression was, and remains, very positive. Attending MSP Expo was a new experience for us, because in a sense it was four shows co-located together. As a result, there were many attendees and exhibitors from outside our traditional target market, such as those in the telecommunications and VoIP space, as well as vendors that provide marketing and revenue generation consulting to MSPs.
It was interesting to connect with this diverse audience, and get a deeper understanding of what is happening on the MSP landscape. The more we know, the better we can develop and refine our products and services to meet the needs of MSPs.
Can you speak a little bit about these needs? What challenges are MSPs facing?
What our team clearly identified — and this was verified multiple times throughout the four days of the expo — was that the significant majority of MSPs do not have a mature security profile in place.
What do I mean by mature? I mean that many MSPs still believe that when connecting to remote machines, it is fine to use a password manager and nothing else. If this was 2016, then this view would have some merit. But this is 2022, and things have changed for the worse. Bad actors are smarter, faster, and seemingly have unlimited resources. Just relying a password manager is not enough.
And as you might expect, our team spent most of our time educating MSPs, and helping them understand that the status quo is not a viable option anymore. Either they proactively strengthen their security profile, or else they run the risk of being forced to do this because of a breach or leak. Obviously, being proactive is much simpler, easier, and less expensive.
How would you say MSPs responded to this message? Were they open to what you and the team had to say, or were they resistant?
Overall, I would say that they were quite interested in what we were saying. I think a big reason for this — and I cannot emphasize this enough — is that our Event Team is made up of IT professionals, and not sales reps. Our focus is on educating, not on closing deals.
At the same time, we were not there to lecture MSPs. Yes, we have important information to share. But we were also there to ask questions and increase our knowledge and understanding. We learned a great deal that will definitely help us moving forward.
Can you talk a little more about what you learned from MSPs?
The key takeaway for us is that although many MSPs provide IT-related services, the individuals who represent MSPs at events like MSP Expo are typically not, themselves, IT professionals. It’s similar to when we meet professionals in the healthcare space who are not typically IT professionals, such as senior hospital administrators or procurement executives.
The reason I mention this, is because one thing we will definitely be focusing on in the months ahead is creating materials and adjusting our presentation strategies — including our booth design — so that our messaging for MSPs resonates more with non-IT professionals. We will also be creating material for non-IT professionals to take back to their internal IT team.
Earlier, you mentioned that a key message that you communicated at MSP Expo is that MSPs need to strengthen their security profile and go beyond password managers. Can you expand on this?
Yes, definitely. Basically, there are two messages.
The first message is that MSPs need to understand that functionality like secure credential injection — which is when passwords never have to be exposed in the first place — and managing privileged accounts are critical priorities. In fact, a growing number of carriers that provide cybersecurity insurance are insisting that policyholders have a robust PAM solution in place. Otherwise, policies or claims may be denied.
The second message is that MSPs can easily and safely strengthen their security posture by using Devolutions’ products. Specifically, we offer three solution tiers for MSPs.
Tier three is for MSPs that work on smaller teams, and at this time do not manage passwords for privileged accounts. The ideal Devolutions solution for these MSPs is Remote Desktop Manager.
Tier two is for MSPs that, in addition to a robust remote connection management solution, also need to protect the database from direct access. The ideal Devolutions solution for these MSPs is Remote Desktop Manager paired with either Password Hub Business for cloud deployment, or Devolutions Server for self-hosted deployment. Both Password Hub Business and Devolutions Server have built-in business logic and security, which is extremely important.
Tier one is for MSPs that currently face very strict privilege access management requirements, or MSPs that need to meet these requirements in order to expand their customer target base. For example, an MSP that wants to provide services to a hospital is definitely going to need to demonstrate that they have stringent enterprise-grade PAM functionality, including secure credential injection. The ideal Devolutions solution for these MSPs is Remote Desktop Manager with Devolutions Server, and enhanced with the PAM module.
It sounds like the team had a great time and the event was successful. Will you be heading back next year?
Yes! Our experience was so positive, that we have already committed to sponsoring MSP Expo 2023 that will take place next summer.
What we valued most was the opportunity to start relationships with so many people within and outside the MSP space. And really, that is what we are all about: building relationships. That takes time, there are many touchpoints, and it is rooted in trust and credibility. But the effort is worthwhile. For example, MSP Expo only happened a few weeks ago, and we are already having follow-up discussions with many MSPs that want to learn more about how we can help them strengthen security, meet compliance requirements, serve more customers, and generate more profits. The business landscape is quite competitive for MSPs, and we give them a distinct and attractive advantage.