Ask an MSP ExpertQ: Security is an obvious focus for our MSP, but how do we encapsulate a “security-first” mindset into our offerings when we are building them?

Nowadays, when you are constructing your MSP’s service offering, security needs to be front and center. When potential clients look at your offering, it should be obvious that security is a major focus, because it’s they want to partner with an MSP to protect themselves from threats that they can’t ward off on their own. Many MSPs realize the need for a “security-first” approach, but struggle with how they can successfully implement it.

One of the most effective ways to establish a security-first approach at the foundational level is by implementing a remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool that you can layer other solutions on top of. By incorporating an RMM tool (if you don’t have one already) before you evolve your security services offering, you can make your offering stronger. These high-level steps can help your MSP create a security-first approach that will strengthen your overall managed services offering.

Define your MSP’s managed security service

To provide the most effective cybersecurity offering possible, MSPs should use a multi-layered approach that leverages more than one solution. A good security offering starts with a strong foundation, and that all begins with your RMM tool. They allow those responsible to view and protect connected systems and devices. Often times, RMM tools have a level of automation already built-in, which makes using them even easier. From there, a variety of offerings, including machine learning, firewall and network security, AI-based security, and employee training, can be included for your customer’s benefit.

Finding the right solutions can be a balancing act for MSPs. If your offering is not robust enough, it can leave your customer’s business exposed to threats. If there is too much packed into the offering, your customer may be unsatisfied with the cost and feel that some aspects are unnecessary. MSPs should communicate open and honestly with clients to make sure they are getting what they need without being overburdened.

Identify the right solutions

Once you have an RMM in place, determining what solutions and services to add can feel daunting. Finding the proper fit depends on the need of each client. Many of these clients will have overlapping needs when you utilize a layered security model.

A layered security model identifies and protects several areas that are particularly vulnerable when left without RMM protection. These protection layers include a client’s:

  • Perimeter
  • Network
  • Endpoint
  • End-user
  • Data

Within each protection layer, there are solutions that can provide the security that will demonstrate the value of your MSP’s security-first offering. Work with your clients to determine which protection layers are of the highest importance or have the greatest vulnerability to threats, so you can build the right offering of solutions to best meet their needs.This can be done via site visits or a site security assessment using the capabilities built in an RMM tool.

Automation is your ally

Automated processes and responses to security issues can save time and money for your MSP. Automation also minimizes the risk of human error. Many RMM tools already leverage automation in their process, which makes it easier to extend it across the entire security offering.

Manually providing security services becomes more difficult to manage as time passes because bad actors are always trying to stay one step ahead. They are continually making their attacks more sophisticated with each attempt, switching tactics, and attempting breaches when least expected. That’s why automated security defenses are far more effective. They allow you to remain efficient in thwarting sophisticated and unpredictable attacks, while still being able to monitor the status of a customer’s environment.

By leveraging tools that offer a multilayered approach to security, visibility into a customer’s environment, and automation, your MSP can incorporate a security-first approach to its managed services offering. Working alongside your client and implementing a security-first approach, starting with your RMM tool is a good start, to help boost your managed service business — while keeping your clients safe from looming cyberattacks.

Photo: solar22 / Shutterstock

Bill Petherbridge

Posted by Bill Petherbridge

Bill is a Content Marketing Associate at Barracuda MSP. In this position, Bill is a key contributor to the management of the SmarterMSP.com and Barracuda MSP blogs. He also serves as copyeditor for Barracuda MSP content, in addition to maintaining Barracuda MSP's social media presence.

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