April 30, 2021

Last Updated on January 16, 2024

If you’re shopping for an MSP, should geographic proximity be a consideration? Or has this tradition gone the way of green screens and floppy disks?

To shed light on modern MSP/customer relationships, including “long-distance relationships,” MSPAlliance co-founder Charles Weaver joined a recent episode of The Virtual CISO Podcast. John Verry, Pivot Point Security’s CISO and Managing Partner, hosted the episode.

“Geography isn’t important at all in selecting an MSP,” asserts Charles. “I used to hear this a lot: The MSP stays very focused on their geographic area, largely because that’s as far as their truck rolls would take them. But the MSPs that were really successful never had that problem because they never made geography a limiting factor or a barrier to scale or to expansion of their business and getting good clients.”

“I think most of it’s just a break-fix, reactive VAR holdover mentality that we just haven’t shed yet,” Charles observes. “But the more progressive, more scalable-minded MSPs… I don’t think they really look at geography as anything.”

“As we move to the cloud, it probably matters less and less,” John comments. “Because you no longer need to be onsite to deal with a server issue or something of that nature. So if I still have a data center with servers in it, I’m probably better off having a contract with Dell or whoever’s servers I’m using for break/fix stuff. And the high-value work that the MSP is doing can be done anywhere where there’s connectivity. Is that the thought process?”

“Yes, absolutely,” agrees Charles. “A great example I know of was an MSP in the middle of the US. They got acquired, but they were Microsoft specialists and had clients all over the world, and they did infrastructure. I asked them once, ‘How do you handle this stuff where you’re managing servers, but obviously you can’t send people all across the world.’ They said, ‘No, we have stuff shipped to us. We configure it in our lab and we send it out to them. If there’s a problem, they have people or we can go get onsite people.’ [Geography] wasn’t a challenge to them.”

“Just for the record, I like your answer because that’s the answer I’ve been giving people,” jokes John. “I wasn’t 1,000% sure I was right. But now I can say I have it on good authority because Charles Weaver verified that answer.”

Come on Over and See Me Sometime?

Charles then calls out the other side of the coin: “The person who says, ‘But my clients like to see me’—that’s a problem. That’s the guy who doesn’t want to be stuck in a NOC. He wants to be out there with his Superman cape on, and he wants to show up at the office and everybody buys him a donut and coffee and says, ‘Wow, this guy is our savior again.’ That’s a holdover from a bygone era that I don’t think exists anymore.”

If you’re in the market for a new MSP, absolutely don’t miss this episode with Charles Weaver from MSPAlliance.

To hear the full episode, click here. If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, you can find our entire selection of cybersecurity podcasts here.

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