October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in the United States. That makes it a fantastic time to strongly consider offering full-service cybersecurity as part of your managed service provider (MSP) stack. That decision can boost your revenue and show clients you understand modern needs. However, getting the desired results will take time and careful planning. This Tip Tuesday shares some steps you can take to improve your chance of success significantly.
Assess your current cybersecurity position
Start by looking at any cybersecurity offerings you currently have and determine the gaps that prevent you from immediately providing full-service security support. A practical way to identify areas of improvement is to see how your company’s policies and security operations compare with industry frameworks, such as the one offered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
NIST has a full schedule of events and themes to celebrate Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Many take place online so that you can attend from anywhere. The associated timely content could also aid in filling cybersecurity gaps.
You don’t have to make drastic changes to ensure your MSP fits rigidly within the framework. Instead, use it as a guide to learn more about where your organization is doing well and your most pressing vulnerabilities.
Tom McDonald is the president of New England Systems Inc. (NSI), an MSP operating in Connecticut. He pointed out that a cybersecurity framework can highlight the ideals for which to aim. No customer will expect your cybersecurity processes to surpass what’s in the framework. However, if you engage with current and potential clients about how you use the framework to bring continuous improvement, you’ll show them there’s a trusted method behind your process.
Understand customers’ concerns and expectations
You’ll get more customers interested in full-service cybersecurity offerings if you take the time to learn about the most significant threats they face. What kind of attacks pose the most significant risks to their organizations? Develop offerings that cater to those needs. You must also put yourself in the position of a user, especially when discussing how your MSP stack can reduce their cybersecurity worries.
One way to understand what’s on customers’ minds is to review broad cybersecurity trends. For example, a June 2023 report showed 44 ransomware families that use double or multi-extortion tactics. That’s an increase from only 19 such attacks in 2021, suggesting hackers increasingly prioritize this ransomware.
Another investigation indicated that cloud-based data breaches are occurring more frequently. The 2023 study found that 39 percent of respondents experienced those cybersecurity issues during the previous year. That is a 4 percent increase from the previous study.
Additionally, three-quarters of those polled said at least 40 percent of their cloud-stored data is sensitive material. However, only 45 percent of it is encrypted. Those takeaways highlight a possible business need you could fill by offering data encryption services within your MSP stack.
Provide client-facing safeguards
Even if you have the latest cybersecurity tools working in the background, your MSP clients still have important roles to play in preventing future breaches. Update your client interfaces to feature more built-in protections, such as multifactor authentication (MFA).
An MFA strategy can stop more than 99.9 percent of account compromise attacks. It works well for protecting sensitive data because hackers must have more than a password to infiltrate someone’s account and steal information. Most MFA strategies require someone to provide something they know, something they have, and something they are to prove their identities.
In practice, this might mean entering a password they choose, a single-use code sent to a mobile device, and a biometric fingerprint scanner. As an MSP, you could set minimum standards for passwords, such that each must have a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Setting password requirements will make it harder for hackers to succeed in their attempts.
Even as you work hard to expand your offerings as an MSP with full-service cybersecurity, clients must understand keeping their data safe from intruders is a team effort. You might do everything right on your end but still need help if clients set weak passwords.
Some organizations have centered on MFA while educating people about Cybersecurity Awareness Month. You could do that while posting social media content from your company and teasing the full-service cybersecurity services that will soon launch.
Engage with vendors to fill needs
As you think about your primary goals, remember that cybersecurity is all about protecting digital assets. Increasing your offerings to clients will almost certainly involve working with tech vendors with experience in providing cybersecurity tools to MSPs.
Before beginning those discussions, consider specifics such as your overall budget and time frame for creating your full-service solution. When advertising these capabilities to clients, which pricing structure will you choose? Figuring these things out now will help vendor representatives understand your needs and give relevant details about how certain products can meet them.
Cybersecurity authorities from several countries have recommended MSPs store their logs for at least six months since it can take a while before people detect breaches. Additionally, all MSP customers should maintain those records on their end. When you talk with vendors about their products, learn whether they include automatic logging features.
It’s also important to verify how software updates happen and the frequency of the vendor’s release schedule. Then, people at your MSP must have an effective process for keeping everything up to date, especially if new software releases don’t go onto your system automatically.
Many cybersecurity vendors offer discounts or other special offers to celebrate Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Taking advantage of some could help you narrow the options.
Always follow best practices
As you apply these specific tips, ensure that best practices influence every choice made. Covering your cybersecurity bases will take substantial effort and money invested. Getting things right from the start and not taking shortcuts will help you get new security-minded MSP clients and keep your current ones satisfied.
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Photo: MindTest / Shutterstock
This post originally appeared on Smarter MSP.