Today’s service providers are bombarded with questions from clients about enhancing their cybersecurity posture and ensuring the safety and security of their data. Unfortunately, the ever-changing threat landscape makes it challenging for channel professionals to have all the answers.
Complicating matters is that the conferences where MSPs would normally get that knowledge have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic’s impact on IT – such as the transition to remote work, securing endpoints outside of the corporate network and increased reliance on work collaboration applications – has significantly increased the cybersecurity risks.
Waiting for the next in-person conference to get the necessary strategies and solutions is not an option. Thankfully, several virtual events have been held to give service providers the latest news on protecting their clients and help them build their business for the new IT realities.
There were four sessions at the recent Acronis Global Cyber Summit that were good examples, providing the kind of actionable insights service providers can use now as we all wait for the next on-site conference to be held. Until then, these four talks are available on-demand for MSPs to watch.
1. Top 5 Mistakes MSPs Make
In their bid to survive the uncertainty of 2020, many MSPs have spent more time working “in” their business rather than “on” their business. Without keeping an eye on the big picture, however, there’s a risk of missing opportunities and making poor decisions that can hinder growth, stability, and longevity.
Richard Tubb drew on his experience building and selling an MSP business, as well as his work as a channel consultant, to share the top five mistakes that IT solution providers and managed service providers (MSPs) make that cost them time and money.
One of the mistakes he focused on was failing to document your MSP business. Tubb stressed that documentation builds value in your business and ensure its resiliency so it will continue to operate if something happens to you or a key team member. As with each mistake he cited, he then provided practical actions that MSPs can take to ensure they avoid that mistake.
His full talk – and all five mistakes – are available to watch on-demand. Learning from the mistakes of others, after all, is less damaging to your business than making them yourself.
2. Rethinking IT and Cybersecurity
Organizations have been engaged in a digital transformation of their business processes during the past few years as they sought greater efficiency. The few holdouts that were waiting to start their transformation were jolted into action this year as well, as the pandemic made remote work and enhanced infrastructure a necessity.
Frank Dickson, a program vice president within IDC’s Cybersecurity Products research practice, notes that a drawback of this digital transformation is increased complexity, which makes cybersecurity more difficult to manage. As a result, organizations that rely on a hybrid workforce and face increased complexity must rethink their approach to IT and cybersecurity.
For the managed service providers, Dickson provides a look into how this rethink is affecting clients. By drawing on the latest IDC surveys of CEOs, he revealed how views about risk are evolving and how those changes are influencing client decisions: from the structure of their security to their spending on protection solutions.
His talk provides insights into how the channel can better help clients navigate these changes and improve their cyber resiliency.
3. Conducting Cybersecurity Assessments
Getting to know the cybersecurity posture of prospects (and some clients) can be tricky. Assessing an organization’s security processes and strategies may not be your area of expertise and the conversation can be awkward when you start asking a prospect about their antimalware software, data encryption practices, firewall and web traffic settings, and employee training.
But you need to know how to get that information if you’re going to protect them.
Cybersecurity expert Carole Theriault, host of the Smashing Security podcast, showed service providers how she developed a free Cybersecurity Assessment Questionnaire that they can use to have the conversation with prospects and clients. She explained that not only do these conversations generate leads, they also reinforcing your role as your client’s trusted cybersecurity expert.
She demonstrated this free tool, which is based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, during her talk and showed how any MSP can use it to get the answers they need to secure their clients, which enables them to grow their business by adding security services. You can see her talk here.
4. Fast-Growing MSPs Drive Revenue with Client Success Teams
We’ve all been told that growing revenue from existing clients is easier than finding new clients, but how do you put that advice into practice? For fast-growing MSPs, the secret lies in listening to clients carefully and having a team in place that can turn conversations into opportunities.
UbiStor CEO Dan Hill and Director of Channel Solutions Keith Lukes led a session that showed how building a client success team can accelerate an MSP’s business. Those team members have to be adept at assessing client needs during support calls and following up on recovery events with recommendations designed to avoid similar incidents in the future.
Rather than talking about these recommendations conceptually, Hill and Lukes dug into the nitty-gritty of how you can introduce these practices immediately. Their talk is also available to watch on-demand.
Sharing information strengthens the channel
Given the ever-increasing volumes of data, the newly distributed nature of most organization’s infrastructure, and the relentless attacks of sophisticated malware from tenacious cybercriminals, it is more important than ever for MSPs and members of the IT channel community to share. After all, these challenges don’t stop simply because we can’t gather at a conference center to talk about them.
While webinars and virtual conferences can’t replace the camaraderie of meeting in person, there are useful talks and sessions available now that will empower and inform you as you prepare for the coming year. As Richard Tubb recommends, make sure you’re taking time to work on your business – and don’t make the mistake of not asking for help.
We’re all in this together.