4 Ways MSSPs Can Simplify Client Cyber Practices for Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October 18, 2022

4 Ways MSSPs Can Simplify Client Cyber Practices

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. If you are an MSSP (Managed Security Service Provider), this is a great time to connect with your clients to help eliminate some of the trepidation and intimidation often associated with creating and managing an effective cybersecurity program.  

This month is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how you are uniquely poised to provide cyber solutions that save time, utilize fewer resources, and decrease your clients’ overall cyber expenses.  

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is sponsored by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). It takes place each October in the United States.

This year’s theme is “See Yourself in Cyber.” The month-long campaign encourages organizations to do their part with cyber protections, including taking proactive steps to continuously enhance cybersecurity.

Removing the Trepidation

Some organizations turn a blind eye to cybersecurity until they experience a breach, which can easily cripple the average business.

Why the trepidation?

Many organizations, especially small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), often feel like they don’t have access to the skilled professionals, cyber tools, research, time, or finances needed to build an effective cybersecurity program. That’s one of the many reasons why SMBs often turn to MSSPs for cyber program implementation and management.

So, how can you draw on this month to remove client trepidation and break down cyber complexities so they get the most out of their engagements with your MSSP?

Here are four ways you can help your clients simplify their cybersecurity practices while building a culture that makes cybersecurity a routine part of day-to-day business.

1. Focus on education. 

MSSPs have a lot of cybersecurity and compliance expertise to share with their clients. Uneducated, untrained employees are common attack vectors. There have been many breaches caused by employees who click malicious links, download malware-infected files, or fall prey to phishing schemes to steal credentials.  

 This can happen when your clients feel they do not have the time or experience to build and manage ongoing employee education and training, let alone routine testing and exercises to ensure that training is doing what it is intended to do—stop attacks before they happen.  

 As an MSSP, you can simplify this process by developing a basic cyber hygiene playbook that is applicable across industries and for organizations of all sizes. As an added service, offer your clients access to this playbook and show them how they can use it as-is or as a guidebook with easy customizations unique to their specific needs.  

 For an upsell, offer services that test and exercise employee training and identify gaps and weaknesses. You can also offer solutions to strengthen that training and close those gaps.

2. Something is better than nothing. 

If your clients have tried to develop their own cybersecurity programs, they may have thrown their hands up and walked away because they got bogged down in the details. Getting a program off the ground may have taken too long, consumed too many resources, and cost too much.  

Instead of starting with a “something-is-better-than-nothing” approach, these organizations may instead roll the dice in hopes that their IT teams have built a “good enough” security plan.  

Unfortunately, attackers are banking on that and are looking for those weaknesses, especially when your clients are not.  

Help simplify some of these complexities by talking with your clients about industry-recognized best practices, such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF).  

This is a great introductory framework for SMBs because it is free and voluntary. Your clients have a lot of options here. They can use it to get their program off the ground or mature existing practices.  

Demonstrate to your clients how a cybersecurity framework guides program development across five core areas: identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover. As an added service, offer to implement a framework and manage it while continuously looking for weaknesses and providing remediation solutions.  

 There is added value here if your client uses more than one security or compliance framework. For example, if you use a SaaS-based GRC platform to manage client cyber services, you can show them how a control used for one framework may apply to others, all while connecting those dots and reducing duplicated work.  

 If you have not already adopted a solution, look for a cybersecurity framework management platform that shows real-time security and compliance scoring in an easy-to-understand dashboard. Bonus points if that platform is also multi-tenant and enables you to manage all your clients within the same solution. Even better if that solution is so easy-to-use, you can show your clients how to use it. This can empower them with insight into program performance, so they are not caught off guard if there is a security issue. 

3. Automate to save time and money. 

Another factor that often contributes to cyber complexity is when clients manage their cyber programs and ineffectively use employee time and skills. For example, your client may have employees stuck in a rut of routine, duplicated tasks— “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” You may find these clients manually build the same control individually within each framework, use manual processes to seek out vulnerabilities, or painstakingly create the same report month after month.  

 Some may still use spreadsheets or word processing documents—printed out into shelved binders—to manage their programs.   

As an MSSP, you can simplify this by showing your employees how a modern GRC platform can automate most of these repetitive tasks so they can free up their employees for more important actions. You can also demonstrate how automation saves time and, as a result, money, as well as how automation decreases errors and improves compliance performance.  

Look for a GRC tool that:  

  • Simplifies and automates control and framework management  
  • Tracks and maintains artifacts so they’re quickly accessible when needed  
  • Quickly produces a range of reports, either by choosing a report type from a pre-installed library or by customizing their own reports

4. Make audits less painful

Most organizations hate audits because they take up a lot of time and resources.   

As an MSSP, you can simplify audit prep and the audit process and give your clients confidence they have everything they need to ace their next audit.  

Look for a GRC solution that enables your clients to:  

  • Assess current compliance with real-time scoring  
  • Locate and store necessary artifacts and documents in one place  
  • Meet all required auditor requests for compliance proof and evidence  
  • Visually track audit progress  
  • Assign tasks directly to team members as needed throughout the audit process  

Land New Clients and Retain Existing Base  

These are just a few ways your MSSP can draw on Cybersecurity Awareness Month to strengthen relationships with your existing clients, offer new and expanded services, and even attract new clients to your business. And you can take what you’ve learned this month and apply it to your MSSP services all year long.  

Are you ready to simplify your day-to-day cybersecurity program management, offer more services with less lift for your clients and attract new business with confidence? Contact an Apptega advisor or schedule a custom tour of the platform to learn more about how Apptega can help.