Why you should shift from selling software to becoming a security advisor with Microsoft 365

Patara Yongvanich, VP Sales, APAC

Selling office productivity solutions like Microsoft 365 (M365) is the bread and butter of the managed service provider (MSP) business. Because organizations of all sizes need the productivity, collaboration, and security features offered by M365, it’s a natural fit for MSPs targeting small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to sell them M365. However, many MSPs who sell M365 are missing out on a huge opportunity to add value and differentiate themselves from the competition by also becoming their clients’ trusted security advisors.

What is a security advisor?

MSPs who go beyond providing basic security services and products to their customers and offer advanced security measures and advice can become known as their trusted security advisors. These advisors help their customers understand their security risks, needs, and goals, designing comprehensive and tailored security strategies that leverage the full potential of M365. They also provide ongoing support, guidance, and education to their customers, helping them stay ahead of the evolving threat landscape and comply with the relevant regulations and standards. So why should MSPs become security trusted advisors with M365?

The many benefits include:

  • Increased revenue and profitability by offering higher-margin security services and products, such as security assessments, audits, training, and consulting.
  • Reduced costs and complexity by consolidating your security portfolio and leveraging the built-in security features of M365, such as Microsoft Defender, Microsoft Entra, and Microsoft Purview.
  • Enhanced customer loyalty and retention by providing more value and satisfaction to your customers, who will see you as a strategic partner rather than a vendor.
  • A competitive edge and the ability to attract new customers by positioning yourself as a security expert and thought leader in the era of AI.

How can MSPs become trusted security advisors?

Becoming a security advisor with M365 is not a one-time event but a continuous process that requires commitment, investment, and adaptation. Here are some steps you can take to start your journey:

  • Assess your own security maturity and capabilities and identify the gaps and areas for improvement. Pax8 is here to help with any gaps you have in the short-term with our Professional Services.
  • Train and certify your staff on the latest security best practices and technologies. And invest in the tools and resources that can help you deliver security services more efficiently and effectively with our Pax8 Academy training course offerings.
  • Engage with your customers and prospects regularly and conduct security assessments, audits, and workshops to understand their security challenges and opportunities.
  • Develop and propose a security roadmap and action plan for each customer based on their specific security needs and goals and align that with an industry-wide security framework such as the CIS controls.

What security measures should I take with my clients before they enable Copilot?

One challenge MSPs face in improving their clients’ security measures is getting them to adopt M365’s security features, instead of relying on disjointed third-party tools or legacy solutions. Complicating matters is the emergence of generative AI and Copilot, Microsoft’s AI companion.

Preparing for Copilot will shift the conversation from focusing on licenses to targeting desired outcomes with AI and building the necessary security measures. To get started on building your AI strategy and expertise, read our AI Readiness playbook.

Why should MSPs focus on governance and security with Copilot?

While Copilot is a great tool to help your clients achieve their business goals, such as improving productivity, collaboration, compliance, and resilience, it can also lead to advanced risks that may not have been a factor in the past. This is why MSPs need a deeper understanding of how their clients’ data is structured and who can view it.

Let your clients’ business strategy drive their transformation strategy

The first thing your clients should do when it comes to generative AI is to set their business goals for its use. What is it they want to achieve: greater efficiency, reduced costs, lowered complexity?

Once their business strategy has been defined, you’ll need to take a bigger role in helping your customers enable the correct identity access, correctly manage data, and implement the right security controls to be AI-ready. Pax8 can support MSPs in these efforts by upskilling through our events, engaging with our courses at Pax8 Academy, or partnering with our Professional Services team. Check out our blog on building your cybersecurity foundation for more details.

How do I bring it all together to offer advanced security measures and enable AI with Copilot?

From selling M365 to becoming your clients’ trusted security advisor, MSPs are undergoing as much of a transformation as the organizations they serve. Adopting M365’s advanced security measures, following established security frameworks, and stepping into the role of trusted security advisor can help MSPs maintain their clients’ security while getting them AI-ready.

MSPs who want to stand out from the crowd and grow their business need to evolve their services and strategy to put security at the forefront. Partnering with Pax8 can help you grow the education, skills, and services you need to make that happen. By doing so, you’ll create more value for your clients, foster long-term relationships built on trust, and ultimately grow your business.

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