Published: June 18th, 2018

Many Canadian businesses and MSPs are still trying to figure how to comply with new GDPR guidelines, and while that’s a challenge for smaller firms with limited resources, it could actually help them with their digital transformation efforts, and even their bottom line, according to Datto’s chief compliance officer.

“It gives them a reason to make sure they understand their IT infrastructure, and it gives channel IT service providers a chance to transform their clients’ IT infrastructure,” Campbell Hutcheson told CDN. “A lot of the challenges associated with GDPR – understanding your IT infrastructure, keeping accurate records, knowing what you store and where – are things an outside IT service provider can help you with.”

Datto recently released a new report, “GDPR Made MSPeasy: The MSP Opportunity,” in which multiple MSPs shed light on how they’re taking advantage of the sales opportunities around GDPR. Next generation firewalls, better options for email encryptions, and top-of-the line business continuity and disaster recovery products are part of that sales strategy, but so is training, said Jim Sneddon, leading GDPR consultant and founder of U.K.-based Assuredata, in the report. He suggested 75 per cent of GDPR compliance is around training, process procedures and policies.

Jess Symondson, marketing manager at Complete IT, another MSP from the U.K., agreed, and in the report, said alleviating a client’s pain points around GDPR compliance will quickly increase their trust and commitment to you.

“Instead of going for the hard sell, we want to ensure that they have taken the time to look over their business needs with our guidance,” said Symondson. “Mapping out a client’s business will present deeper insights into their data management, which in turn enables you to offer tailor made solutions.”

European MSPs have an advantage when it comes to navigating these new privacy regulations due to the fact that they’re part of the European Union and, therefore, are more familiar with the paperwork that goes along with it, said Hutcheson. But in the end, business across the globe know that becoming GDPR compliant will cost them money. Whether it’s for legal fees, consulting or additional infrastructure – although Hutcheson said in these early days of GDPR compliance, additional infrastructure isn’t really where the money will be spent – it’s a worthwhile investment.

“Being a knowledgeable MSP who is instrumental when it comes to protecting customer data will enable you to achieve great success,” the Datto report concludes.

Privacy concerns delay sales for most businesses

Approximately 65 percent of businesses say privacy concerns impacted how quickly they were able to sell their products and services in 2017, according to a Cisco Systems study released in January. Globally, the average length of these delays was nearly eight weeks. In Canada, it was 5.3.

Business partners and customers are asking a lot of questions about network segmentation, according to a security expert from CDW.

Michelle Dennedy, Cisco’s chief privacy officer and trust organization, cited these stats during a meeting with reporters in Orlando during the company’s annual Cisco Live event, and emphasized the correlation between poor privacy practices and its impact on sales.

“Privacy is good for business,” she said. “People want to define what their data is and define where the data is going.”

People also want to better understand how to build their networks, Dan Siebert, a senior field solution architect of security for CDW told CDN.

“Our customers in general are finally picking up on network segmentation,” he said. “We’ve been talking about that for 20 years … but people have moved away from it because they thought ‘Ah well networks are so fast now and you don’t have to worry about it.’ But these basic things we’ve been talking about, you got to start putting in place. Security audits are paying a lot more attention to the checkboxes now that privacy and GDPR are such a focus today.”

Network segmentation is the isolation or filtering of network traffic, and is often done to improve performance and security.