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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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Putting the S in MSSP Part 4: Top Ways to Sell Cybersecurity to SMBs

Posted June 21, 2017by Meaghan Moraes

Putting the S in MSSP Part 4: Top Ways to Sell Cybersecurity to SMBs

Putting the S in MSSP” is a weekly blog series that aims to set up MSPs to succeed as managed security services providers (MSSPs) by offering the insights and recommendations you need to profit from this new and important line of business. Throughout this six-part series, you’ll learn how to become a comprehensive MSSP who can secure SMBs with the tools needed to tread the modern threat landscape without fear.


In part three
, we examined the lifecycle of a cyber attack and walked through how to devise a solid remediation plan and manage vulnerabilities. In this post, we’ll take that knowledge a step further and offer key tips on how MSPs should be framing the topic of cybersecurity to their clients.

While large corporation breaches have been dominating news headlines for some time, cyber attacks among small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are on their way to stealing the limelight. Now, organizations are considering cybercrime like ransomware inevitable—a real threat with the power to completely debilitate an SMB that lacks effective cybersecurity.

If you are an MSP working to immerse yourself in cybersecurity and arm your clients with reliable solutions, start by focusing on how you sell security. How should you define the winning approaches? What are the most important areas in which you can support clients? Before you can educate your clients and provide peace of mind, it is important that you have a solid understanding of how to best speak to them about cybersecurity.

The following points will serve as prime talking points when selling your cybersecurity services to SMBs and prospective clients.


Defining Cybersecurity

The way you speak to your clients about cybersecurity will inform the way they think about it and allocate their resources accordingly. These businesses are aware that IT security is a must-have, but not all security solutions are equal. So, the best way to help SMBs navigate the threat landscape is to emphasize the benefits of having a layered security approach. A successful security strategy will not just focus on preventing a breach, but also on how to effectively stop and lock down an attack if one were to occur. Delivering cybersecurity as an MSP goes beyond threat prevention; it means you are providing your clients the tools to address and contain threats as quickly and effectively as possible.


Considering Cost-Efficiency

Effectively serving your clients means you are always considering their best interest. Since SMBs ideally need a robust security solution that is also cost-efficient, MSPs should model their security services with that in mind. The following tactics are great places to start:

  • Integration – MSPs who offer their clients one security solution that integrates well with their existing services will be able to significantly decrease the margin of error and increase efficiency, allowing business to run smoothly while keeping costs down.

  • Flexibility – Offering a flexible solution that allows you to add security services and capabilities and enhance vulnerability management will ultimately drive cost savings.

  • Software + People – Unfortunately, technology alone can’t completely protect your clients. Despite there being a significant security skills gap in the industry, your software will only succeed if it’s supported by the right skills and knowledge. MSPs can redefine security software as a service to a more scalable model that combines next-gen software and an on-demand center of security experts who will monitor and manage threats 24x7x365.


Building Trust

SMBs who outsource managed security services are essentially putting their entire business in the MSSP’s hands—which requires a high level of trust. Your clients will turn to you as their security partner if you present your services—and your relationship—in a way that establishes and builds trust. It is important that you remain:

  • Transparent – You can keep your clients calm amidst the risk of cyber attacks without keeping information from them. It is vital to keep clients in the know regarding vulnerabilities so you can help them deploy an effective security plan of action. Keeping up communication and meeting on a regular basis with clients will help, and can even be established upfront in the service level agreement (SLA).
  • Proactive – Speaking to your clients about cybersecurity will be most effective when you’re thinking ahead. MSPs should encourage their clients to remain proactive in terms of risk planning and management. Putting the proper solution in place today could mean avoiding a disaster tomorrow
  • Reassuring – A trusted MSP will be there to step in and confirm the accuracy of threats as well as the tools required to remain sufficiently prepared and protected. Conducting routine network assessments (which can also be established in the SLA) will reassure your clients that the solution you’re providing is working and that they can rely on your partnership.

By fine tuning your stance on cybersecurity and being able to deliver vulnerability management with confidence, you are setting both your and your clients’ businesses up to grow and scale. Next week, we will dive deeper into this topic and provide key tips on how to drive profitability with security-as-a-service.


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Meaghan Moraes is a Content Marketing Manager at Continuum, focusing on inbound and content marketing efforts surrounding cybersecurity and threat management. With several years of agency and tech marketing experience, Meaghan specializes in driving leads and conversion with her strategic and creative digital marketing content. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry, playing the piano, boxing, and exploring Boston’s best restaurants.

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