The Accelerated Route to Managed Security Services Market Success

Author: Continuum’s Meaghan Moraes
Author: Continuum's Meaghan Moraes

The potential risks and damages associated with modern cyberattacks are escalating exponentially, and virtually every business has at least some level of vulnerability today. Without the right protection and preventative measures in place, your clients—particularly those in the SMB space—won’t stand a chance in today’s fast-paced and constantly changing threat landscape.

Security plays such an integral role in the modern IT environment. All service providers now need to be prepared to support it in order to survive and continue thriving. So how can MSPs accelerate their entry into the managed security space? The following points illustrate what it takes to build an effective, successful and scalable managed security services offering.

Understanding the Evolving Threat Landscape

The rapid growth in frequency, complexity and severity of cyberattacks in recent years has completely changed the face of the IT services market. More than 70 percent of attacks target small businesses, according to National Cyber Security Alliance. Furthermore, an Aberdeen Group study shows that businesses with 1,000 employees or less have a 90 percent likelihood of having a data breach costing more than $216,000. What’s more, according to SMB Group, 62 percent of hacked SMBs go out of business within six months of a successful attack.

Today, being in business is virtually synonymous with managing risk and vulnerability. So, as a service provider to SMBs, your customers are looking to you to provide them with the latest information, updates and best practices to maintain proper security and data protection.

How can MSPs remain vigilant and hyper-aware of emerging threats, vulnerabilities and changes in today’s security landscape? Regularly consuming information, leveraging vendors and third-party relationships, subscribing to security-focused blogs, podcasts and other content are all great ways to stay ahead of the curve and ensure you’re prepared to provide real-time notifications and education to your clients.

Seizing The IT Security Opportunity

Now that your clients realize the true cybersecurity risks at hand, the opportunity to capitalize on this as an MSP is huge. Clients are now looking to you to provide a comprehensive security environment, detect potential threats, and remediate those threats before they are able to do damage.

Positioning yourself as a trusted security advisor and, ultimately, keeping your business thriving for years to come all starts with the way you frame conversations with your clients. When it comes to talking security, it’s important to define what you are protecting against so you can focus on the types of threats your clients need most help with. The security strategy you help your clients devise should focus on their desired state of protection.

You can also empower your clients with cybersecurity best practices and training. Cybersecurity education is a critical component of your service offering because human error is one of the more overlooked—and most vulnerable—elements in your customers’ IT environments. A study from Wombat Security Technologies and the Aberdeen Group confirms that increased investment in employee training can reduce the risk of a cyber attack 45 to 70 percent. You can provide ongoing training and education through informative content, blog posts, podcasts, webinars, and other channels in addition to physical or in-person user training programs.

Developing Your Go-To-Market Strategy

Before pitching cybersecurity services to customers and prospects, MSPs must develop a strong go-to-market strategy and action plan. Here are some exercises and best practices to keep in mind when developing your go-to-market strategy for security:

  • Define your target audience and customer base, and leverage buyer personas when possible.
  • Build value and education through collateral including blog posts, datasheets, eBooks, etc.
  • Establish tangible lead goals and funnel metrics that can be tracked, analyzed and optimized.
  • Be concise, consistent and deliberate with messaging across all marketing and sales channels.
  • Start with the low-hanging fruit (existing customers, known prospects and referrals).

It’s important to remember that security isn’t just one thing—it’s a combination of many things, and it needs to be presented that way. Many providers have historically defined security as a one-size-fits-all concept, leading customers to assume that simply plugging into the “solution” will keep them 100 percent secure. Since this actually sets false expectations and puts both parties at a disadvantage, make sure the solutions that comprise your offering are very specific—and are presented to your clients as such.

In the managed services market, there’s no longer a question of whether or not MSPs should be building cybersecurity services into their portfolio—it’s now just a question of how best to design and deliver these offerings to clients and customers.

Bonus – Grab This: Accelerate your entry into managed security services with Continuum's eBook, Five Forces That Drive a Successful Managed Security Services Offering. You'll learn how to capitalize on the IT security opportunity, build a successful security offering and scale business amidst the evolving threat landscape. Get the eBook here!

Meaghan Moraes is content marketing manager at Continuum. Read more Continuum blogs here.