The idea of providing cybersecurity for your clients can be overwhelming. It is a rapidly evolving field with numerous vendors. To ensure your customers are well-served, you must have appropriate expertise and awareness of the various pieces. It is more than knowing the technology; you must be prepared to provide training and awareness. You must be knowledgeable about procedures and policies. With the scarcity of skilled cybersecurity experts, the cost can be prohibitive. Partnering with your cybersecurity needs can be a viable solution.
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Your Responsibility as an MSP
Even if you choose to partner for cybersecurity services, ultimately, your clients are your own, and you maintain the relationships with them. Successfully onboarding any new customer ensures they are set up for success, with the proper protection from day one. They may have no concept of cybersecurity and look to you for advice.
It would be best if you had your cybersecurity in place. Without it, you are the weak point between your clients and potential breaches. MSPs have been hacked to get to their client databases, so a vulnerability assessment is your first point of order.
Benefits of Partnering for Cybersecurity
The evolution in the workplace environment has meant a more significant shift to work from home. This requires a considerable change in your cybersecurity practices. Providing 24-7 monitoring for multiple locations is costly, considering the software’s expense and the salaries to staff it. Sometimes MSPs do not have the resources available to manage it.
When their business days are over, the cybersecurity needs of your clients continue. Hacker threats can happen at any time, and they do. When your clients are closing up shop for the night, cybersecurity companies are rolling up their shutters. Partnering with a cybersecurity specialist gives you round-the-clock support and responses to threats.
Cybersecurity is a Global Issue
Cybersecurity practice is essential in every country. Each country has specific considerations. For example, in the U.S., under federal and state jurisdiction, specific regulatory requirements are in place. Under the compliance category, there are requirements such as HIPAA or financial. It is essential to be cognizant of these factors and to tick off the boxes for each when establishing a cybersecurity practice.
Cybersecurity for Small Businesses
Everyone on the planet is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Large corporations dedicate entire departments to cybersecurity practice. Lack of this type of resource does not exempt anyone from the need to have cybersecurity in place. It must be practiced by businesses of all sizes, even if you are a solo entrepreneur. The first proactive measure is to have your company audited. A vulnerability assessment reveals the weaknesses in your organization. It establishes a baseline for the type of protection you need and points to a realistic action plan. Here are some of the steps in a vulnerability assessment:
A search for stolen credentials, including passwords, usernames, and personal identification data available on the dark web.
External scans around other potential risks, such as website security.
Phishing attack simulations to test for vulnerability.
An audit of your current firewalls and potentially complementary measures.
Consideration of the types of customers that drive your business and where their customers are coming from.
An appraisal of the level of awareness in your network and possible training requirements.
Why Does Cybersecurity Matter?
In cybersecurity, knowledge is power. Once your clients and staff are educated, it makes sense to prioritize actions such as changing passwords regularly. The average revenue loss for a small business that is down due to a security breach is $10,000 per hour. Up to 60 percent of small business owners admit they could not sustain this loss and go out of business. It is essential to start somewhere and eventually ramp it up to 24/7 monitoring.
Can I Audit My Own Cybersecurity?
As a rule of thumb, you can never audit yourself. If you want to be secure, outsource the assessment to an expert. They have a neutral relationship with your clients that allows them to be more subjective. Much like the mechanic’s analogy that never repairs their vehicle, you are so busy servicing your customers that you have not necessarily checked your cybersecurity or the risks you could be imposing on them.
The risk for you also lies in the potential for losing clients. Ninety-one percent of small businesses said they would move to another MSP if their current provider leaves them open to security breaches. Having cybersecurity conversations with your clients is a great way to establish more trust and create additional revenue by offering more services. Your clients appreciate knowing that the service’s cost is far less than, for example, the impact ransomware would have on their business.
As hackers continue to refine their systematic attacks, it is crucial to stay ahead of the game. A single breach through an MSP’s firewall can spread throughout their entire network and take down every one of their clients. It is a nightmare that can happen overnight. An essential aspect of cybersecurity is knowing how to pick up the pieces and have an incident recovery plan should a hack occur.
If it happened, what would you do? Is this a regular occurrence for one particular client, or is there more to it? Being unprepared is a reflection of your brand and reputation. Remember this: you are ultimately accountable to your clients. You may be financially responsible in some situations, even if your clients have refused to take your cybersecurity service. This is a challenging but beneficial conversation to have with a cybersecurity expert.
The Future of Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is not an expense; it is an investment. Just because you have not been hacked yet means nothing. It is only a matter of time. Your cybersecurity practice must be positioned to evolve with the increasing need to provide your clients with the technology, awareness, and training. It cannot take over your business operations. It must allow you to continue working on your own business, doing what you do best, and building your customer base. Leave your cybersecurity to the experts with the know-how to complement your clients’ journeys with the support they require most. Know your risks and have confidence that they can be resolved. Contact us to learn more about starting your cybersecurity practice.
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Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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