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The Security Mindset

Author: Ted Roller, virtual channel chief, Mailprotector

So here we all are, everyone in the channel, dealing with the changes that this pandemic has created. Most of the changes aren’t fun, but at least we can say that we live in interesting times. For me, not getting on a plane every week would seem like a good thing, but I think I can say with some certainty that most of my peers are equally uncomfortable without the routine travel that has become the normal in our lives. So, I am learning to cook more, focusing on figuring out how to fill out PPP forms, getting back into the exercise routine, and making every effort not to get irritable as a result.

Most of the MSPs I know are focused on balancing either more or sometimes less work, figuring out how to maintain staff, and just like me figuring out how to fill out PPP loan applications. Now more than ever is a great time to talk to your customers about implementing security measures that they have been unwilling to implement in the past. There is a unique opportunity right now to drive security posture.

Here is what you need to discuss with them:

1. Dear Customer: In the past week, Google says it has identified more than 18 million daily phishing messages featuring coronavirus themes. I cannot tell you how much I think that sucks, but it is a fact of the Internet world that we live in today. The silver-lining? Some of you are certain to have customers using Gmail – and this threat speaks directly to them. Time to have a conversation specifically about how phishing works, what the specific threats are, and what you the MSP can do specifically to lower the risk of being the target of a phishing attack. Some examples might be user training around what to look for as well as what behaviors make users a high risk for phishing attacks. You might want to discuss an increased level of email security (yes, that was the shameless plug for Mailprotector), or you may bring up a host of other specific topics related to the customer needs that you know better than anyone else.

2. Dear Customer: Your employees are at home, and probably working at a diminished capacity in an unfamiliar environment. Bottom line: they have time to do some work at your own pace security training that can and usually is provided online. Get them all certified while they are working at home. For most SMB businesses, the weak link is often somewhere amongst the users (be careful saying that) and training helps immensely. Offer them a COVID discount – you will like the results.

3. Dear Customer: There is no denying that these are tough times. There is also no denying that being hit by ransomware or a costly phishing attack would make those tough times infinitely worse. Coupled with the risk being higher than ever as a result of said tough times, you need to be focusing on your security posture right now. (You need to show them why, how, and when they can make themselves less of an easy target. It can be a tough conversation, but it is more comfortable one right now than it ever has been before.)

Bottom Line

Staying in touch with your customers during tough times and making sure they know that they can count on you to pay attention to the risks they face is what makes long term relationships. This is one of those times. Get out there, talk to them, and actually make your job easier at the same time. What have you got to lose?


Ted Roller is virtual channel chief at Mailprotector, which develops email protection services delivered via MSPs and resellers. Read more Mailprotector guest blogs here.

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