Starting Off In 2021: 3 Efficient Steps To Enhance MSP Cybersecurity Offering

What could be keeping your prospects worried after they started remote working last year? Well, it’s time to find out. 

Adapting from an existing office scenario to an entirely new office environment is never easy. Many companies had to switch to online operations, introduce completely new processes, and invest heavily in new technologies to remain competitive and functional. 

Some may have been initially unaware when they began their digital transformation journey that a certain group of individuals would pose an increasing threat to their businesses’ security and pocket more profits of their own. These infamous hacker groups or cybercriminals are banking on the remote work transition.

An Interpol report from 2020 states that, during the four-month period from January to April, there were 907,000 spam messages, 737 incidents related to malware, and 48,000 malicious URLs – all with a COVID-19 theme. These hackers are menacing SMBs and those with private networks in various ways, targeting them with email phishing schemes, data harvesting malware, ransomware, and many other types of attacks. Acronis, a cybersecurity company, surveyed 3400 companies and remote workers around the globe between June and July of 2020 to look at some of the threats, challenges, and trends that emerged after they adopted remote work environments. One of the key findings was that half of IT managers struggled to provide employees with proper instructions and adequately secure their systems.

It is safe to say 2021 will be another year that these groups can keep preying on your prospects, and as MSPs and TSPs you need to buckle up and change up your offerings to safeguard those workers. How do you accomplish that objective? Here are a few suggestions to help guide the way.

Step 1: Begin by evaluating your existing IT stack

MSPs should take time and try to imagine the situation through each customer’s perspectives and ask yourself, “what are we protecting?” Try not to focus too much on your complex security training and knowledge while taking that introspective. Take a simplified look at your existing IT solutions. Analyze your customers’ needs and objectives and the technologies they use on a daily basis. That step will allow you to identify the areas that need greater protection such as email accounts, mobile devices, networks, endpoints, data, websites, SaaS applications, and other systems. It will be much easier to map out new solutions or update your existing IT stack to safeguard each of these vulnerable pathways against various cyberthreats. You will also be able to communicate those points with your customers as a tech professional,  showcasing your expertise and value.

Step 2: Make sure that your team can support your security offerings

After you have a good understanding of the scope required to secure your customers, ask this question: “Can my staff support these changes in our security stack?” You certainly don’t want to deploy any technologies that none of your team members is familiar with and complicate the situation with skills gaps,  workflow bottlenecks, and IT knowledge gaps. 

The best advice for MSPs is to carry out in-house staff training sessions to expand their cybersecurity expertise and product comprehension. You can connect and hire various freelance experts and industry cybersecurity thought leaders to help you create effective training modules and learning materials and educate your entire technical team. In short, we suggest you know where your deficiencies as an MSP lie and proactively address them rather than discovering them while you are facing cyber threats real-time.

Step 3: Come up with security measures to reduce the risks and deploy them real-time

Now you need to draft a list of security measures that can reduce the underlying risks in your customer’s IT environment. That document should be practical and help you focus on the top ways to safeguard your clients. Those measures may include credential management solution, virtual private networks (VPNs), anti-spam filters, encryption technologies, a security operations center (SOC), end-user awareness training, endpoint protection, secure file sharing, and backup and disaster recovery. Make sure that your offerings compare well (preferably better)  with those of your competitors and you have the option to create and deploy trial environments for your clients. 

Also, put more focus on sales and product support so that your customers will receive all the guidance they need to best protect their businesses. Your proposals should give them a good insight into your cybersecurity service bundling and any other premium add-ons you wish to offer them based on their requirements.

A quick walk-through for MSPs & IT solution providers

Looking ahead

The remote working culture is here to stay as no one is certain when the pandemic will come under control, let alone end so work activities can return to some level of normality. Cybercriminals will continue to take advantage of the situation and get more sophisticated in their approach to causing harm to your clients. 

MSPs must take charge of this situation and improve their cyber resiliency to better protect companies worldwide. From a business standpoint, security is a differentiating factor and can help you significantly grow your revenue this year.