Q&A: An MSP’s perspective of the evolving managed services landscape
As Global MSP Day (held on May 21st) approaches, Smarter MSP is celebrating what it means to be a managed service provider in 2020 by sitting down with your MSP peers to get their feedback on the state of the managed services industry. I recently chatted with Eric Rivest, VP of Business Development at Natrix Technologies, Inc. to understand what he is seeing in terms of trends, challenges, and opportunities, and what he is most looking forward to for the managed services industry.
Q&A with Eric Rivest
How did you get started offering Managed Services?
Natrix Technologies was founded by its president, Patrick Chagnon, in 1998, and started as a system integrator or Value Added Reseller. When I joined at the end of 2005, I was coming from the largest telco in Canada and quickly noticed that Natrix was not generating any recurring revenue.
We signed our first SPLA (Services Provider License Agreement) and launched a hosted exchange in mid 2006, then we added a PSA and signed with N-Able for our first RMM. At the time, N-Able was offering a blue print to help you transition your business from a VAR to an MSP practice. It took us a while to complete it, as we were a small team, but that’s how it started for us.
How has the role of MSPs evolved over the last 3 years?
I would say that customers are more comfortable with the concept of monthly recurring services and pricing than they were before. I remember we had to work really hard at first to sell the idea of the managed services where now, it’s almost a given and customers are expecting a set of service levels that we were proposing as optional earlier on. Most IT guys offer some kind of managed services now, so we need to keep on improving our service offer with new tools and an efficient team behind all of this!
If you could give someone who is just starting out in offering Managed Services one piece of advice, what would it be?
It’s funny that you ask this, I am mentoring two guys that started an MSP practice in another province and I told them this: get a PSA to manage your tickets and contracts, get an RMM, and know your costs per seat ALL THE TIME.
What do you see as your main opportunities in the next 1-2 years?
This COVID-19 crisis is bringing a whole new security challenge. Most or our customers were somewhat ready to set remote workers, but we needed to be creative and flexible to configure “out of contract” end points without applying normal security standards. As this is the beginning of a new era, security is going to have more attention from decision makers that were pushing some decisions to later.
What do you see as the core security services MSPs must be offering to be successful?
This part of our offering is constantly evolving. At first, the managed anti-virus was almost a break-through! What saved the day at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak is that all of our managed customers already had a Barracuda NG Firewall. This made our lives so much easier to convert their employees to work remotely.
The backups are now almost part of the security practice, if you consider all the threats that are surrounding them. In short – end point security, network security, and backups. If we focus on this, it’s a good start.
Will you be celebrating “MSP Day” on May 21st? If so, how?
We’ll put something together for our staff for sure! They are the reason why we are doing so well.
Eric is not alone in his excitement for Global MSP Day on May 21, 2020, as we are looking forward celebrating the global MSP community. Be sure to join in the action and register for the virtual events!