Managed services: In-house or out?

Most readers say Vector’s move to bring managed services into the fold is the way to go
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Monday, October 28, 2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—In the eyes of many in the industry, bringing managed services expertise in-house offers a way to gain a competitive edge and keep pace with the convergence of IT and security. Some recent acquisitions, such as Vector Security’s August acquisition of IRG, or Skyhawk’s purchase of Big Networks, reflect the expansion of this philosophy. 

Our readers tend to see value in the approach as well. In SSN’s November News Poll, 55 percent indicated that bringing managed services know-how inside is the best way to offer such services. Meanwhile 87 percent agreed that IT and security are merging.

“It’s not enough to employ ‘alarm’ techs with a working knowledge of networks,” said Alan Robinson, founder and president of SAFEPORT Security & Surveillance. “Integrated IP video and access offerings are requiring a skill set not found in our industry. Companies eventually will have network techs with a working knowledge of alarm systems. For the time being they will have to be in-house because there is a knowledge deficit right now.”

An equal number of survey respondents (35 percent) offer managed services as those who say they do not, while another 29 percent say they are considering it.

One respondent said customers demand such services, but that the best way to offer them is to partner with a network services company. “Most companies will likely not jump into this for quite some time because of the barriers to entry, such as infrastructure required to monitor and manage networks.”

Partnering with a network services company, the reader noted, will be the predominant method of offering the services for the near term, but companies will look to acquire the capability in the long term.

“It would be a good time to be a company that offers managed network services to focus on getting their EBITDA in top shape and then to get acquired in one to three years,” the respondent added.