Educating SMBs on the value of managed services has always been a top priority for MSPs. Those efforts have definitely paid off over the past decade as more organizations are choosing to break away from the traditional bread/fix model of IT and embrace the MSP approach in which IT systems are proactively monitored and maintenance is routinely performed. As a result, the client is able to leverage the benefits of a predictable high-performance network while the MSP receives a predictable income stream. It is a classic business example of a win-win partnership.
MSPs are now discovering the benefits of expanding their educational efforts as a means to reduce both costs and cybersecurity risks. Whether IT support is provided in-house or outsourced to an MSP, it costs someone money every time a user calls in to create a support ticket. If you can reduce a user’s propensity to call the helpdesk every time there is an issue, you can reduce the expense of supporting that client, thus making their account more profitable. Chances are, if you analyzed your customer portfolio, you might find that a majority of your tickets are generated from the same sources. Targeting your educational efforts on these accounts can result in quick sizable payoffs. Improving the computer skillset of your user client base not only makes their jobs easier, but makes your easier as well.
Educating your client’s users on proper cybersecurity hygiene is a great way to enhance the image of your MSP today. Small business owners are reading the same headlines today as the rest of us. Ransomware and data breaches have become an everyday occurrence. It should be no surprise then that a study titled Underserved and Unprepared: The State of SMB Cyber Security in 2019, found that 9 in 10 SMBs would hire a new MSP if it had “the right cybersecurity solutions.” SMBs are realizing that endpoint security alone can no longer do the job of protecting them. As famed cybersecurity writer, Brian Krebs says, the weakest link is the users behind the keyboards. Improving the cyber hygiene of a client’s userbase will significantly reduce the effectiveness of phishing tactics and other types of attacks. Of course, another reason to diminish the risk exposure of your client’s enterprise is that the cost remediation can be exorbitant. Thus, security education helps save the MSP money in the long run as well.
While many MSPs may be unfamiliar with the latest sales tactics in how to sell themselves, they are extremely comfortable talking about the value that their services bring to businesses. Many MSPs are using webinars as a way to reach local businesses and educate them as to how managed services can maximize their IT investments. Well, how about creating webinars that target your existing customers in order to improve the skillset of their userbase?
Trigger happy users that perpetually call about the same issues on a recurring basis can be invited to a quick webinar that not only instructs them on basic MS Office tips and such, but teaches them how to keep themselves safe and productive. Just imagine the accumulative cost savings of eradicating 10% of your helpdesk calls?
MSP owner, Danny Kennedy of JDK Pro in Atlanta, Georgia knows how important it is to have the full support of his client leadership when it comes to educating their end users. Danny sends out monthly cybersecurity training videos to the staff of his clients. The videos are brief and to the point and include a short quiz that each user must get a 100% on in order to move forward through the video cycle.
Kennedy says his company only looks for customers that see their technology as an investment. Those types of customers are more apt to openly embrace continued user education. Kennedy says that before his company even works with a new customer, they recommend a security risk assessment and penetration test. The results are then compiled into a report that quickly opens their eyes to the benefits of having an offensive/defensive security approach that includes regular security training.
Believe it or not, newsletters still function today as a highly effective way to reach existing and potential customers. According to a survey conducted by Mantis Research in 2019, nearly 60 percent of American adults subscribe to an email newsletter of some sort. A newsletter that is tailored to your customers is a great way to establish trust between you and your readers. You can feature a monthly top tip or show an example outlining the obvious indicators of a phishing email.
Because of the proliferation of phishing attacks, many MSPs are offering simulated phishing email programs to their clients. It is important that these initiatives are derived around educating the users rather than implementing a game of gotcha. Kennedy includes these simulators as part of a continual security awareness training program in which training is based on the Employee Secure Score (ESS) of each individual. End-users take the training to improve their scores, which are monitored by an assigned manager. Because email continues to be the primary delivery mechanism for ransomware and other malware attacks, the ability to decrease the likelihood of users clicking on things can pay dividends fairly quickly.
Education has always served as a rising tide that lifts all boats. A successful education initiative that centers on strengthening the IT skillset of your client user base can create a powerful win-win for the MSP and the clients they serve.
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