The Ultimate Playbook to Become an MSSP

Contributed by: Meaghan Moraes, Content Marketing Manager at Continuum

Now that advanced cybersecurity protections are a must-have in today’s landscape, organizations of all sizes are increasingly seeking out and leaning on a trusted security partner to manage their security services. A recent study released by Forrester revealed that 57 percent of companies are seeking outside help for IT systems monitoring and 45 percent are outsourcing threat detection and intelligence. As a result, managed IT service providers (MSPs) are presented with a major opportunity to step in as that cybersecurity leader through an expanded services portfolio that officially deems them an “MSSP”—a Managed Security Services Provider.
 
As it stands, 42 percent of employees in small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) would not know what to do if their business experienced a cyber attack, which stems from the fact that 47 percent do not have employee security awareness and training programs in place. As MSPs integrate security into their services, they will not only significantly decrease the margin of error for their clients’ information security, but they will be one step closer to cementing their status as their go-to provider on an ongoing basis.

But that doesn’t happen overnight, and there’s no silver bullet to security. As you start to think about adding layers of security to your offering in an effort to address your clients’ top concerns, your strategy will begin to develop. Here are some helpful steps to devising a solid strategy and then successfully selling what you have to offer as an MSSP.

Devising Your Cybersecurity Strategy
 
With advanced threats like rapidly evolving and hyper-targeted malware and ransomware, basic security tools alone aren’t enough to keep SMB clients secure; additional cybersecurity is needed for more complete and holistic protection.
 
MSPs and SMBs need more advanced and comprehensive security—such as endpoint and network security, security operations center (SOC) services, log management, DNS filtering, and user training—in order to remain one step ahead of threats at all times. A proactive approach to cybersecurity will inform MSPs of exactly how well-protected their clients are from specific risks. Capabilities such as advanced security profiling and risk scoring, employee security training, and incident response planning can help you consistently predict and manage risk.
 
When it comes to immediate and robust detection capabilities, it’s crucial to offer endpoint and network management so you can detect suspicious behaviors on all endpoints and across the network so you can immediately roll back and minimize any damage.
 
Lastly, with SOC services, you’ll have the ability to monitor and mitigate threats in real time, and offer remediation services and deep forensics as well.
 
Once you have pinned down which protections will comprise your comprehensive solution, it’s time to package your unique offering with effective messaging.

Selling Your Managed Security Services
 
When prospecting or cross-selling to clients, you can refine your message to speak to the SMB mindset around security. MSPs need to not only evolve their strategies to survive, but get client buy-in on them.
 
When working to achieve buy-in, the best method for engaging clients is to develop a common language. Compare a typical business function your client performs—like marketing, for instance—to security. Just as you work to know your audience, understand where to focus and report on those efforts, the same methodology can be applied to your security service delivery. You need to understand the threat landscape, consistently measure risk, and report on risk levels. Finding that type of common ground will help you clearly illustrate how you’re aiming to deliver your cybersecurity offering.
 
It’s helpful to frame the conversation with clients around risk. You can work with them to define acceptable risk and determine what it will take to get to their desired state. Make sure your client sees your relationship as ongoing. If they’re at an unacceptable risk level, you can ensure them that your security services will get them to the acceptable range, and you will maintain that by consistently identifying, prioritizing, and mitigating gaps in coverage.
 
Taking an approach that not only brings to life what your services will represent, but also justifies additional fees and services will cement you as the MSSP that will undoubtedly keep your clients as protected and profitable as possible.