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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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2017 Cybersecurity Trends and How MSPs Can Capitalize

Posted March 1, 2017by Scott Spiro

2017 Cybersecurity Trends and How MSPs Can Capitalize.pngOver the last several years, cybersecurity has become one of the most vexing problems for companies of all sizes. Today, business owners know hackers are out to steal information from their networks and endpoints, but few have IT experts with the right experience to fight off cybercriminals. However, this situation creates a ripe opportunity for your MSP.

Before you can meet the needs of existing and potential clients, though, you'll need to understand the emerging cybersecurity trends and how to capitalize on them.

Companies Expect Cyber Attacks to Continue

News today tends to publicize major cyber attacks, like those that occurred against Sony Pictures in 2014 and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2015. Businesses are hearing about security threats on television, reading about them online or even experiencing these threats themselves. What aren’t making headlines, however, are the cyber attacks that are increasingly targeting and hitting small businesses.

Although you won't find many news reports about threats against small businesses, the people who actually own and manage those businesses know that 2017 will bring even more security attacks and concerns. Whether it’s a data breach, malware, or ransomware, SMBs need to make sure they are protected. If they don't address this trend now and are targeted by hackers, they could collectively lose millions of dollars or go out of business for good. Now, we all witnessed the havoc that cybercrime wreaked last year. SMBs are aware that cyber attacks are a persisting concern and are even making moves to protect themselves.

Companies Are Increasing Their Cybersecurity Budgets

Most companies are no longer willing to sit back and watch criminals bully them, and they’re taking action to protect themselves. Recent research from Business Wire shows that 46 percent of cybersecurity professionals plan to increase their security budgets by an average of 21 percent in 2017, and an additional 41 percent plan to invest in MSP partnerships to enhance IT security.

As these budgets grow, it puts MSPs in a prime position to earn more money from clients that don't have the skills or bandwidth to prevent cyber attacks. Look to refine your business positioning to emphasize security and present your solution as one that can handle any issue or threat. By doing so, you could stand to grow your revenue as clients devote more money to cybersecurity.

Few Businesses Have Staff Capable of Fighting Cyber Attacks

Preparedness is a big issue for SMBs because they lack the specialized resources, staff and skills that an MSP can provide. Specifically, the skills gap has opened businesses to security issues, so managers and owners feel that they must invest in training or consider outsourcing. In fact, at least 29 percent of companies surveyed by Business Wire say they will partner with MSPs to improve security.

Even companies that want to train employees know they need help from MSPs that already have experience finding and fixing security flaws. Again, this creates an excellent opportunity for MSPs. Whether SMBs fully understand the consequences of a cybersecurity breach or not, there is a demand for a solution that can protect them from the threats their businesses face every day, and for the expertise to manage that solution better than they currently can.

MSPs Should Gain the Right Skills to Address Client Needs

Your team will need the right set of skills to attract new clients and most importantly, to address their needs. Start by focusing on the three most important ways to manage cyber threats:

  • Improve threat detection
  • Boost analytical capabilities
  • Learn to block threats

We all know that IT security skills are in high demand today, so make sure your technical team have the necessary skills and training to address the most crucial concerns that businesses face. The key is to present your value as a trusted advisor who is able to stay on top of the latest threats so your clients don’t have to. If your employees can demonstrate relevant security skills, your MSP will attract more companies worried about security issues.

When in doubt, use the Small Business Cyber Security Checklist to ensure your employees have marketable skills. Without these skills, potential clients will likely go elsewhere.

Talk to Clients to Tune into Their Needs

Over the next year, security needs may change in ways that no one can predict. Sure, reading the most recent research will help you understand the latest security threats, but talking to your clients is the best way to identify the threats that matter most to them.

Explain to existing and potential clients how your team can address these security concerns, and educate them on how your solution aligns with their most pressing needs. If possible, use these conversations as an opportunity to provide examples of other client testimonials or similar work you've done. But by all means, avoid too much technical jargon. The key is to keep things simple, and focus on how you can support their needs and the benefits they will receive.

All in all, we can expect that 2017 will overhaul how companies face cybersecurity threats. If you start preparing now, you could have the services that clients desperately need to protect themselves and their customers from the growing cybersecurity threat landscape.

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Scott Spiro is founder and CEO of Computer Solutions Group, Inc. (Inc. 5000 Honoree in 2015 and 2016), author of the Amazon Top 10 Best Seller “The Business Owner’s Guide to I.T. and All Things Digital”, and sought-after speaker. Most recently in 2015, Scott was interviewed on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, the Los Angeles Times, and CBS/KCAL Channel 9 Los Angeles. He is also recurring Tech Expert on KTLA Channel 5 in LA.

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