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There has never been a greater demand for specialized cybersecurity expertise—or a greater opportunity for our partners to support our customers with new services and solutions. Over the last year, the permanent shift to hybrid work has empowered businesses to be remote and mobile. Increased adoption of public and private clouds has unlocked innovation, agility, and scale. At the same time, ransomware grew 105 percent over the past year and continues to become more sophisticated.1 The global cybersecurity talent shortage is now 2.72 million, and economic uncertainty has put the spotlight on extracting the highest possible return on investments.2
This week, as we join our partners at Microsoft Inspire, much of our conversation is focused on how, together, we can help our customers prioritize their security initiatives while getting the most out of the solutions they already have.
Security services are a critical need for the year ahead
Every year I am so energized by the expertise and creativity of our partners. Much of what we learn comes from them, so we commissioned a Total Economic Impact™ from Forrester Consulting to better understand the high-level trends driving their security, compliance, and identity opportunities. It’s incredible to see that the Microsoft Security partner opportunity grew 21 percent year-over-year across the board in Microsoft 365 security, cloud security, compliance, and identity:
- With the shift to hybrid work, workplace security has seen the most growth. It’s exciting to see that customers are taking advantage of the expanded security capabilities we’ve added to Microsoft 365, and enlisting partners to help them protect frontline workers, implement data discovery for Microsoft Teams, and activate more Microsoft 365 workloads securely. With many organizations struggling to staff their in-house security teams, partners are creating and delivering managed services built on top of Microsoft Sentinel for security information and event management (SIEM) and extended detection and response (XDR), as well as management, monitoring, and remediation across Microsoft 365.
- There’s also an incredible demand for cloud security services—particularly multicloud. The rapid shift to cloud services has created an ever-evolving threat landscape, driving the need to better protect cloud resources, workloads, and applications. Without the expertise or resources to do that, customers are looking to partners to help with secure cloud migrations, managed services for the security operations center (SOC), and security management of all levels of cloud-based infrastructure.
- Compliance-related managed services are the newest and fastest-growing area for most partners. More partners are starting to expand their general security services to include compliance, typically starting with information protection, communications governance, and insider risk, which are natural extensions of security practices. A trend we’re seeing is an increase in very large information protection deployment opportunities, as well as governance advisory services, which are central to the successful adoption of Microsoft compliance solutions.
- As the foundation for all the previously mentioned points, our identity solutions are also fueling significant partner growth. Securing access for every identity—human and non-human—is critical in today’s connected world. Partners are capitalizing on these investments with repeatable identity-specific security solutions, off-the-shelf connectors, and managed services. Identity-first implementations of Zero Trust continue to be key areas of interest for security decision-makers, and partners serve a critical role in collaborating on plans, priorities, and architecture decisions.
Microsoft Security partners are expanding their existing offerings and creating new offerings in all these areas, packaging their unique experience, expertise, and IP for effective and efficient service delivery. Security deployment, advisory, solutions development, and managed services are needed now more than ever. In fact, within the USD247 billion cybersecurity market, security services spending is projected to reach USD77 billion by the end of 2022.3
Optimization through consolidation
Given the breadth of challenges our customers are facing, and recent economic headwinds, many organizations are looking to consolidate their security portfolios to optimize costs and reduce complexity. In fact, 78 percent of chief information security officers (CISOs) have 16 or more tools in their cybersecurity vendor portfolio, and according to Gartner®, “most organizations recognize vendor consolidation as an avenue for more efficient security, with 80 [percent] executing or interested in a strategy for this.”4
Microsoft integrates more than 50 different categories across security, compliance, identity, device management, and privacy—and most customers save 60 percent on average by leveraging Microsoft’s comprehensive security solutions compared to a multi-vendor strategy. All Microsoft Security product families work together as one comprehensive solution across clouds and across platforms, helping customers to reduce tool sprawl, maximize value out of what they already have, and reduce complexity. With recent announcements of Microsoft Entra and Microsoft Purview, we’ve also aligned our product portfolio with how our customers view the totality of their security challenges.
Consolidation isn’t just about tools—the lines between security workloads are blurring as well. Virtually every customer scenario includes elements of secure infrastructure, threat detection and response, identity management and secure access, compliance, and privacy—in fact, 90 percent of the Fortune 100 companies use four or more of these solutions. Our partners agree, and many are moving beyond their core specialty to provide a wider range of services to customers, creating new revenue streams and expanding their expertise as a result.
Maximizing the value of current investments
Assisting customers to deploy and fully leverage products they already own is one of the strongest ways our partners can deliver customer value. This week, Microsoft is announcing an entirely new partner investment to help partners drive customer success and product usage. Starting October 1, 2022, partners who help customers deploy their untapped security capabilities within Microsoft 365 E5 and Microsoft Azure will be eligible for up to USD25,000 per account. Microsoft is excited to provide this co-investment to ensure partners remain competitive in their offerings.
Once security products have been deployed, customers often need assistance analyzing and triaging security data to monitor their ecosystem. Microsoft is seeing a surge in organizations looking for a trusted managed detection and response (MDR) partner to help offload time-consuming work and augment their existing in-house security teams. Gartner estimates that 50 percent of organizations will be using MDR services by 2025, and with more than 785,000 customers currently using Microsoft’s advanced security products, the partner opportunity is tremendous. To meet this need, Microsoft has recently announced investments in our managed XDR partner community, including working with them to verify their XDR solutions for use with Microsoft products. Partners with a verified XDR service will have increased access to co-marketing funding to support their business and direct integration with Microsoft field sellers through co-sell opportunities. Partners can learn more about investing in managed XDR partner success.
At Microsoft, we are continually looking for ways to deliver more value with our solutions—and to make it easier for our partners to do the same. For example:
- Most organizations don’t have IoT security at all, and those that do often need help integrating it into their broader SIEM and XDR programs. Microsoft Defender for IoT positions partners to solve both problems for customers. With new native integration with Microsoft 365 Defender that enables you to see vulnerable IoT devices in the Microsoft 365 Defender console and complete coverage across IoT, enterprise IoT, and operational technology (OT) devices, Defender for IoT can now secure all endpoint types, correlate incidents across the entire kill chain, and provide faster detection and response for attacks that previously may have been left undiscovered.
- Despite facing similar risks as enterprises, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often lack the same level of resources. Microsoft Defender for Business provides next-generation protection, endpoint detection and response (EDR), threat and vulnerability management, and automated investigation and remediation—all in a cost-effective package that’s easy to implement and use. Server support is now available in preview. Integration with Microsoft 365 Lighthouse and Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) solutions enable Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners to build on that value by delivering a fully managed service. Partners can learn more with the Microsoft Defender for Business partner kit.
- Simplifying the cloud for the public sector and government entities empowers them to accelerate their digital transformation journey. Azure Confidential Computing now helps customers encrypt their data while it’s in use, so trusted partners can now migrate customer applications that handle sensitive data to Azure without rewriting them, and public sector customers can have confidence that their data is protected. And, to empower public sector customers to take advantage of the full power of the cloud while respecting their digital sovereignty, Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty provides a means to build, move, and operate data and workloads in the cloud while meeting legal, security, and policy requirements.
Recognizing our partners of the year
Microsoft recently announced a simplified and more flexible way to be identified as a Microsoft Security Solution Provider. If you’ve historically been a silver or gold security partner or Enterprise Mobility Management partner, you now have the opportunity this coming year to be recognized through the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program (MCPP) as a security solution partner.
Once identified, Microsoft offers a wide variety of co-marketing opportunities you can take advantage of in your own programs and in collaboration with Microsoft to differentiate your business, not the least of which is the opportunity to be recognized by Microsoft as the Security or Compliance partner of the year.
I’d like to congratulate Ernst and Young as the 2022 Security Partner of the Year in recognition of the use of the Zero Trust framework that fully leverages Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and Microsoft Azure Key Vault. I’d also like to recognize Edgile as the 2022 Compliance Partner of the Year for their integration of a comprehensive security framework that extends the capabilities of enterprises to also measure the maturity of their data governance. I want to congratulate these partners for their incredible work, as well as all the winners of the 2022 Microsoft Security Excellence Awards. I also want to express my gratitude to our entire partner community for all you do to advance our shared mission of security and to make the world a safer place.
Top takeaways for our partners
Microsoft partners have an amazing opportunity to showcase their security proficiency, drive new growth, and create real-world impact. We invite all our partners to download our commissioned Forrester report to spur ideas on how to differentiate and expand their business. I’ll close with a few ideas:
- If you don’t have a security practice yet, now is the time! Explore a managed security services practice, such as managed XDR.
- If you’re already offering your customers security services, you should consider going bigger! Lean into governance, risk management, and compliance and privacy with Microsoft Purview and Microsoft Priva.
- Bolster security for small and medium-sized businesses with our Microsoft Defender for Business partner kit.
Be sure to check out our sessions at Microsoft Inspire that go deeper into these topics as well:
To learn more about Microsoft Security solutions, visit our website. Bookmark the Security blog to keep up with our expert coverage on security matters. Also, follow us at @MSFTSecurity for the latest news and updates on cybersecurity.
1Report: Pretty much every type of cyberattack increased in 2021, Brandon Vigliarolo. February 17, 2022.
2(ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study, (ISC)². 2021.
3Worldwide information security services spending from 2017 to 2022, Justina Alexandra Sava. April 27, 2022.
4Smarter with Gartner, The Top 8 Security and Risk Trends We’re Watching, November 15, 2021.
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