Gordon Lawson is CEO of Conceal, which enables organizations to protect their privacy and security using dynamic obfuscation.
Managed service providers (MSPs) thrive off of solving challenges for their customers while providing cost-affordable outsourced solutions. And one of the main challenges for MSP clients today is cybersecurity. With at least 60% of organizations depending on MSPs, it is safe to say that managed service providers are responsible for providing services to some of the most vulnerable organizations around the world. These include companies that are extremely susceptible to ransomware and other cybersecurity threats.
Between post-Covid work-from-home logistics and the exponential increase being seen in cyberattacks, cybersecurity offers an opportunity to optimize your overall services strategy by expanding or enhancing existing services to help organizations protect against their largest threats. Based on my experience in the cybersecurity industry, here are some tips on how to optimize your strategy and focus in this realm.
1. Stay up to date on the latest trends.
Cybersecurity is a field that is ever-changing. As a service provider, it is your responsibility to proactively look ahead and think of solutions for challenges that do not yet exist. Keep up on the latest news and threat intelligence while networking with others in the field. This can be accomplished through attending cybersecurity conferences, such as RSA and BlackHat, to learn about the latest threats, vulnerabilities and trends being seen in the industry. The speakers at such conferences can provide valuable insights and practical knowledge. Additionally, I recommend joining industry groups, such as an Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC). Collaboration with other MSPs allows for open dialogue on what is and is not working for others within your industry.
2. Communicate with your clients.
To be successful in the cybersecurity space, you need to understand what your customers’ biggest cybersecurity challenges are so that you can develop and offer services to solve for them. This can be accomplished by staying up to date on the emerging threats and vulnerabilities that are most relevant to your client’s industry and providing proactive guidance on how to mitigate those risks.
Currently, one of the biggest challenges on the list is the topic of ransomware. As disclosed in the 2022 Verizon DBIR, ransomware increased 25% in the past year—a rise as big as the past five years combined. As a protector for vulnerable organizations, MSPs should develop offerings to help combat the realities of ransomware. Take steps to build a strong security culture between yourself and your clients, including implementing policies and procedures that prioritize security, so that you can more effectively learn and solve for your clients’ specific cybersecurity challenges. This understanding will be the baseline for evolving your services to stay competitive in the market and up to date with what your client needs and wants.
3. Evolve offerings.
Invest in enhancing and developing service offerings that address the biggest cybersecurity challenges that your customers are facing, as determined by communicating with your clients. Ransomware is crippling, and being able to develop and offer a cost-affordable solution to your clients that is easy to deploy and able to integrate within their current tech stack can increase your ability to succeed in the MSP market. Take the time to understand what offerings are currently in the market, and research their effectiveness to strategize your own solutions; this can help you evolve and be a thought leader in the space.
4. Invest in workforce resilience.
An important way to enhance your clients’ cybersecurity posture is by investing in cybersecurity training and upskilling across your organization. Educate your clients and employees alike on how to protect themselves from threats so that they are aware of (and can avoid) common pitfalls. Investing in upskilling and training your hands-on security teams can also provide them with more confidence in their capabilities and ensure they are self-sufficient in responding to cybersecurity incidents.
Expanding or enhancing your cybersecurity offerings as a managed service provider can help your customers better protect themselves against the leading cyber threats. Ensure their cybersecurity needs are met by communicating effectively, proactively thinking of future challenges and solutions, and investing in workforce resilience to ensure the implementation of a client’s cybersecurity strategy is successfully postured throughout the organization’s environment.
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