MSPs and Customer Risk Assessments: Make Them Mandatory

As your business evolves, the factors that pose security risks are everchanging—which means your defense strategy can rapidly become outdated and ineffective. Risk assessments provide a snapshot of the internal and external factors that threaten your business—and your customers—at a given point in time. Since risk factors are volatile, managed service providers (MSPs) need to perform security risk assessments on a regular basis to stay on top of threats as they emerge or evolve.

Think of it like a routine doctor’s visit. When you get a checkup, the state of your health at that moment in time isn’t an indicator of your health over your entire lifetime. If the results were clear, you would continue to schedule an annual physical to maintain this level of health. And if your appointment revealed some health concerns, you’d follow a regimen prescribed by your doctor and schedule follow-up visits to address the issue.

In the same way, risk assessments are a checkup for your customer’s security “health.” Security is not a problem to solve—it’s something that needs to be continuously monitored and managed.

You can get ahead of any risks and spot areas for improvement in your business by making risk assessments a normal part of your relationship with customers, discussed in monthly or quarterly business review meetings. Here are five reasons why risk assessments should be a non-negotiable part of your strategy.

1. Risk Assessments Keep You Relevant

The threat landscape is constantly changing. Security measures you incorporated five years ago—or in some cases, even six months ago—simply won’t be enough today.

To make matters worse, cybercriminals are getting smarter and implementing more advanced tactics than ever. From monetizing attacks with ransomware to taking advantage of employees’ lack of knowledge around security issues, many of today’s threats are incredibly sophisticated and designed to hit your customers at their most vulnerable points.

By performing a regular and routine risk assessment, you’ll be able to quickly identify new risks or gaps in your customers’ security coverage. Not only that, but you can provide a roadmap to resolve these gaps before they become a serious problem. The difference between a proactive and reactive approach is huge, and your customers will feel secure knowing their MSP is able to spot and stop potential threats before they happen.

2. Risk Assessments Help You Meet Customers’ Ongoing Security Needs

Most small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are anxious about cyber threats—and with good reason. After all, nearly half (43%) of all cyberattacks target small businesses.

This anxiety has an effect on which MSP an SMB chooses to work with. Increasingly, that choice is influenced less by loyalty than it is by an MSP’s security standards.

Today, a whopping 89% of SMBs view cybersecurity as the top or one of the top five priorities in their organization—and 84% who don’t currently use an MSP would consider using one if they offered the “right” cybersecurity solution for the organization’s needs. That presents a big opportunity for MSPs to attract new business.

But it also means that MSPs have to keep their security standards high if they want to retain existing customers. The vast majority (93%) of SMBs would consider moving to a new MSP if they offered the “right” cybersecurity solution—even if the company wasn’t actively looking to change.

Offering regular risk assessments shows customers that you’re ready and able to address their specific security concerns. What’s more, it can generate additional revenue by enabling you to upsell security services and keep customer loyalty and happiness high.

By offering a comprehensive cybersecurity package, MSPs can play a key role in filling gaps in coverage and ensuring SMBs are sufficiently protected against cyberattacks. To maximize the relationship and ensure your customers’ needs are met, be sure to keep them apprised of specific security concerns—otherwise, they may start looking elsewhere.

3. Risk Assessments Help You Develop a Competitive Advantage

Only 13% of MSPs have cybersecurity-specific conversations with their clients as a matter of course. This is a problem. One of the biggest challenges MSPs face in winning over customers is instilling confidence in their services—which can be more easily overcome if MSPs effectively communicate their expertise.

MSPs have an opportunity to inform and educate organizations on their protection by discussing their security needs on a regular basis. Bear in mind that customers with less technical or security expertise may require additional support through their first risk assessment, so it’s a good idea to factor this into your strategy. Your customers will thank you.

In the long run, these conversations can make your life easier. When your clients are more aware of cybersecurity best practices, they’re less likely to invite unnecessary risks. Basically, they are now doing half the work by protecting their organization for you.

4. Risk Assessments Reduce Your Liability

Whether you make risk assessments an integral part of your operations or not, customers expect protection against cyberattacks. More than two-thirds (69%) of SMBs that use an MSP say they’d hold the MSP at least somewhat accountable in the event of a cyberattack—and 35% would hold them solely accountable. That’s especially scary when you consider that 74% of SMBs that currently use or plan to use an MSP would take legal action against them in the event of an attack.

Despite this, some customers just aren’t interested in paying to remediate security gaps, even if you point out a serious risk. In these instances, you can use risk assessments to protect your business from liability by including an attestation letter with every risk report you provide.

By signing this letter, customers acknowledge that they understand and accept the risks of choosing not to follow your recommendations. This way, if something does go wrong, they can’t take legal action against you.

5. Risk Assessments Uphold Your Reputation

If an attack does occur, there’s a lot at stake—and not just for your customers. One in three (30%) MSPs have suffered brand reputation damage after a client experienced a cyberattack.

This can have major repercussions on your current and future business. After an MSP has let an attack slip through the net, 16% of their clients have lost confidence in their cybersecurity solutions—and 12% have stopped using all of their services.

One of the best things you can do for your brand is to protect it from doubt. Risk assessments are a comprehensive answer to your customers’ questions and concerns, helping to position you as a trusted authority on cybersecurity.

Safeguard Customer Satisfaction

As an MSP, you likely expect to be held somewhat accountable if your clients suffer a cyberattack. But without safeguarding against all possible risks, you’re welcoming full responsibility for any incidents that occur.

Security offerings put you in the business of risk management—so manage it. By offering risk assessments, you can make sure you’re always aligned with your customers’ specific need while addressing any issues of your own.

ConnectWise Identify can help. Our trial includes two risk assessments, so you can run one on your own business and one for a client. Once you understand your risk posture, you’ll be better equipped to manage your own risk and protect your clients.

Guest blog courtesy of ConnectWise. Read more ConnectWise guest blogs here.