Channel Middle East - - Editor’s Notes - by Manda Banda

With cy­ber se­cu­rity, in­dus­try con­sol­i­da­tion and chan­nel un­cer­tainty con­tin­u­ing to linger on, what does 2019 have in store for the man­aged ser­vice providers (MSPs) and so­lu­tion providers in the Mid­dle East and North Africa?

It was no sur­prise that cy­ber se­cu­rity, in­dus­try con­sol­i­da­tion and chan­nel un­cer­tainty con­tin­ued to be hot top­ics for the Mid­dle East and North Africa IT chan­nel in 2018. Look­ing to 2019, I don’t ex­pect much to change in this re­gard. But, how chan­nel part­ners adapt to and ad­dress these chal­lenges could make all the dif­fer­ence when it comes to driv­ing suc­cess across the re­gion.

There is no doubt that this year, chan­nel part­ners will need to iden­tify new ways to work smarter and faster to meet the needs of their cus­tomers, along with the de­mands of what is be­com­ing a very dy­namic and crowded mar­ket­place. While no one knows ex­actly how trends will man­i­fest them­selves, here are some pre­dic­tions for chan­nel part­ners in MENA in 2019:

Email se­cu­rity will con­tinue to dom­i­nate the threat land­scape. At­tacks that tar­get the in­di­vid­ual–such as phish­ing, spear phish­ing and busi­ness email com­pro­mise–are in­creas­ing. To­day, the MENA mar­ket is see­ing a grow­ing num­ber of hack­ers turn­ing to so­cial en­gi­neer­ing tech­niques to in­crease their suc­cess.

Con­se­quently, cy­ber se­cu­rity ed­u­ca­tion will

be key to mit­i­gat­ing threats and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties. While email se­cu­rity is ex­pected to re­main a top pri­or­ity in 2019, the abil­ity to spot dan­ger­ous web­sites, know­ing how to lever­age VPNs when pro­tect­ing per­sonal and com­pany data while us­ing open net­works, know­ing how to pro­tect against vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties re­lated to BYOD, the proper use of anti-mal­ware and an­tivirus solutions and gen­eral se­cu­rity aware­ness are also very im­por­tant to over­all cy­ber se­cu­rity health. To help cus­tomers achieve the best over­all cy­ber se­cu­rity pos­ture, man­aged ser­vice providers (MSPs) and so­lu­tion providers will need to iden­tify ways to bet­ter ed­u­cate cus­tomers on these types of ex­ploits.

Dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion will hap­pen through ver­ti­cal fo­cus. By spe­cial­is­ing in a niche ver­ti­cal such as healthcare, re­tail, le­gal ser­vices, gov­ern­ment, or ed­u­ca­tion, MSPs and so­lu­tion providers can fur­ther dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from the com­pe­ti­tion this year.

In fact, pric­ing on value will lead to greater suc­cess in over­com­ing ob­jec­tions. One of the most com­mon chal­lenges fac­ing so­lu­tion providers to­day is con­vinc­ing their SMB

cus­tomers and prospects to stop drag­ging their feet when it comes to mov­ing be­yond break­fix ser­vices and start con­sid­er­ing a man­aged ser­vice of­fer­ing. Com­mon ob­jec­tions in­clude the price of man­aged ser­vices and a lack of un­der­stand­ing or aware­ness of how it can help the cus­tomer’s busi­ness. One of the best ways MSPs and so­lu­tion providers can over­come ob­jec­tions voiced by their SMB cus­tomers and prospects is to change the con­ver­sa­tion by fo­cus­ing on value rather than price. It is com­mon knowl­edge that SMBs will want to spend as lit­tle as pos­si­ble on their IT ser­vices. This, how­ever, can leave them open to se­cu­rity vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties or risk for data loss. MSPs and so­lu­tion providers should ed­u­cate their cus­tomers on the ad­van­tages to mov­ing to man­aged ser­vices.

That said, it is a very ex­cit­ing time to be in and around the IT chan­nel es­pe­cially in MENA, and the fu­ture holds great prom­ise for MSPs and so­lu­tion providers. For those part­ners who take note of and, most im­por­tantly, act on these emerg­ing trends will be well on their way to achiev­ing suc­cess in 2019 and be­yond.

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