In early 2021, industry analyst firm IDC revealed that businesses in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) had increased their security spending by an additional 10-20 per cent on top of the previous year's originally budgeted IT spending plans.
Why? In short, the pandemic.
According to IDC, despite organisations cutting spending in many areas during 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, security remained a consistent area of increased investment in both countries.
Moreover, IDC research found that 98 per cent of A/NZ organisations rated workplace security as an important capability in enabling business and operational continuity through the pandemic.
“Many of these businesses intend to invest further in their cyber security over the next one to two years, with remote access needs and accelerating secure innovation the main drivers of this growth,” said Emily Lynch, IDC Associate Market Analyst for A/NZ IT Services, at the time.
Likewise, fellow industry analyst firm Gartner also anticipated in early 2021 that Australian organisations would spend more than A$4.9 billion on enterprise information security and risk management products and services that year, an increase of eight per cent from 2020.
And cyber security spend has only continued to rise. For example, IDC expects investment in security-related products and services across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.1 per cent over a forecast period from 2020 to 2025.
All told, APAC cyber security solution spend is anticipated to reach US$39 billion by 2025, according to IDC’s predictions.
Cloud services spend has also surged since the onset of the pandemic, dramatically accelerating an already solid rise in consumption for such services before COVID-19 hit. Figures from Gartner suggest that public cloud services grew by 23.1 per cent year-on-year in 2021 to total US$332.3 billion.
Indeed, the growth in cloud services has played a hand in boosting security spend, with organisations hunting for ways to quickly secure rapidly enlarged enterprise networks as employees made the shift to remote work, prompted by the pandemic.
It should come as little surprise, then, that Gartner predicted the fastest growing area in 2021 for investment in the broader enterprise information security and risk management products and services segment would be cloud security.
Expand to meet demand
Against this backdrop, managed service providers (MSPs) are finding themselves facing growing demand for cyber security services, with many providers building out dedicated security practices to not only meet this demand but also build up their capabilities in areas ripe for future growth.
In addition to fresh solutions aimed at supporting secure remote and hybrid work, some of the most in-demand areas since the onset of the pandemic, especially in the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) segment, have been cloud-based products and services aimed at supporting business continuity, such as backup and disaster recovery solutions.
At the same time, infrastructure costs associated with centralised, on-site hardware and software assets have been reduced as organisations look to cloud-based solutions to refigure a new IT environment suited to a new distributed workforce.
As such, service providers are not only in a position to benefit from building out their cloud security skills, but many are also well-placed to extend their existing offering by drawing select elements and capabilities from the cloud.
In most cases, the easiest and most straightforward way for a service provider to extend its product offering to meet the growing needs of the market is to tap into additional solutions included in the broader ecosystem of the product stack in which it already specialises.
One of the most ubiquitous and comprehensive ecosystems available is that provided by Microsoft, with the Microsoft 365 cloud-based productivity suite being employed by legions of partners across the region. Taking Microsoft 365 as a starting point, utilising the entire Microsoft ecosystem is a relatively easy step to take.
Amping up a unified offering with Azure
One of the most powerful elements of the Microsoft ecosystem for partners to tap into is its Azure cloud platform, which incorporates numerous additional products, services and capabilities in the areas of backup and recovery, hybrid work, cloud-based IT infrastructure and more, all of which can feed into a more secure and agile workplace for customers.
While the breadth of Azure services on offer complements Microsoft 365 and its products by design, each individual element exists as part of the same ecosystem, making integrations far easier and secure than if disparate products from different ecosystems were to be cobbled together to meet customer needs.
For partners specialising in the Microsoft 365 product stack that are already on their Azure journey, the extension of their portfolio represents a short jump to a comprehensive, end-to-end offering that will meet customers’ evolving needs.
Meanwhile, service providers already specialising in Microsoft 365 that are yet to take on an expanded product offering powered by Azure are likely to find it an easy leap to make in taking on the additional capabilities provided by Microsoft’s industry-leading cloud platform.
Getting things done with Dicker Data
This is where Dicker Data, as a leading Microsoft Indirect Provider, can step in and offer a helping hand, providing MSPs with a full range of complementary services and funding options aimed at helping partners win deals such as funded proof-of-concepts, co-selling, technical enablement, and more.
Migration, often the most important part of a new cloud engagement for a partner, can be a complex and difficult process, depending on the customer and their existing infrastructure. Not only may customers continue to host systems and services on their own on-site assets, they may already have solutions deployed with other cloud providers.
This is where Dicker Data can offer a short cut to Azure, taking care of all the migration elements of a new or ongoing cloud project. Once a migration is complete, Dicker Data will hand oversight of the new cloud environment back to the partner to manage and collect the services and licensing revenue. For the partners who want to keep their migrations inhouse, the Dicker Data team have other funding and support mechanisms to accelerate deals and reduce costs.
With the selection of services on offer from both Microsoft and Dicker Data, partners are in a prime position to meet the market’s greatest needs as it continues to evolve and mature in the face of the ongoing pandemic and beyond.