Cybersecurity is top-of-mind for virtually every technology service provider out there. Not only is it constantly in the news, but we’re the ones seeing firsthand how big of an impact it can have when a business can’t get security right. Your customers need more comprehensive cybersecurity. In fact, 93% of small businesses say they would switch their MSP for the right security offering. It’s clear that the battle has changed, and now you need the right weapons to win.

Last week, I joined ConnectWise’s Wayne Selk on a webinar to talk through how MSPs can create and sell a security offering your customers both need and want. We were also joined by Alex Joy, VP of Operations at Network Coverage, and Juan Fernandez, VP of Managed IT Services at ImageNet Consulting, to help us answer the question: how are today’s IT providers building material and successful cybersecurity offerings? Here are my top takeaways.

1. Every MSP’s journey to security is different, but we all need to get there.

We’ve reached a point where security is a must-have. Knowing where to begin can be the biggest challenge for any MSP, but the process can be made easier by starting small and gradual.

Think back to about ten years ago. Sure, security was something to be mindful of, but it always got the short end of the stick. As the years passed and more threats targeted MSPs and their customers, security became something that kept us up at night. And now, to be that trusted advisor for your customers, you need to have the right solutions and tools at your disposal to prevent the threats that loom out there.

For MSPs like Network Coverage and ImageNet, they built their security offering around Continuum Fortify, but it’s all about finding a holistic solution that can adapt to the needs of your customers. Once you have that, you’ll have the confidence to bring it back to your customer base, position yourself as the expert and start to monetize from there. 

2. The biggest hurdle is how to start the security conversation with customers.

There’s a big misconception that your customers don’t want security right now. You think they may have been lulled into a false sense of security, or they’ll cut you off by asking, “aren’t I paying for this already?” But the reality is that most customers aren’t fully aware of what they need, and they’re open to having that conversation with you.

Starting this conversation, however, is a major hurdle for MSPs. Some may try to delay speaking to customers about security until they have everything packaged and ready for them, others may try to avoid it altogether. But I urge you, have the conversation. Have the conversation with your customers before somebody else does.

The way that ImageNet and Network Coverage go about this is to approach the conversation from a standpoint of honesty and education. It could be explained to customers in a manner like this: “You may have believed that we’ve been protecting you from ransomware and viruses and such—and we have been, to an extent. But the technology that’s been available to us has evolved and become more proactive. Now, we need to use this to elevate your protections, or else we’re not truly doing our job. We need you to opt in and accept this as an additional service that can get you the quality of security that you deserve. And if you don’t want to do that and save the money, we’ll need you to sign a release of liability.” 

3. You need to create a culture around security.

No, “culture of security” isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a true statement. To lead customers in the right direction, you need to have a firm grasp on security within your own operations. Do a security audit on yourself and document your findings. You should to be prepared to tell your customers what needs to be done from a policy and procedure standpoint.

This can also be looked at from a certification standpoint. There are plenty of valuable security certification programs available that you should absolutely be taking advantage of. Not only will this legitimize you and make employees more marketable, it can also help mature your own understanding of what clients should looks for when it comes to security.

These are just a few of the many takeaways from our recent webinar. To get to even more tips and tactics for monetizing your cybersecurity offering, listen to the on-demand version here.