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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 5: Scaling Your Business with Security-as-a-Service

Posted June 29, 2017by Meaghan Moraes

Putting the S in MSSP Part 5: Scaling Your Business with Security-as-a-Service

If you’ve been following our “Putting the S in MSSP” blog series, you’re well on your way to becoming a comprehensive MSSP who can secure and protect your SMB clients. However, when building and establishing this new line of business, how can you ensure that your security offering is built to scale?

In part four, we discussed top tactics for effectively speaking to SMBs about cybersecurity. In this post, we’ll focus on how to offer security-as-a-service in a way that enables both you and your clients to scale.  


The Reality

In the SMB market, cyber threats are worsening as information security professionals become virtually unattainable. This leaves small- and medium-sized businesses yearning for a trusted security partner to lean on for IT security and vulnerability management.

Today, managed security services are becoming a must-have, as organizations are accepting that being hacked is a very real possibility. According to Symantec’s 2017 Intelligence Report, 60 percent of all attacks are now targeting small companies, and 33 percent of those firms that get attacked require 3 or more days to recover. In addition, 60 percent of small businesses fail within six months of being hacked for the first time.

This severe shift has led SMBs to change their tune from “I cannot afford to invest in security,” to “If I don’t invest in security, I will go out of business.”

The Opportunity

For MSPs, these SMBs—and considerably easy targets—are your clients. The opportunity to provide them with augmented IT protection cannot be ignored. Yet, while the demand for cybersecurity services is growing rapidly, many MSPs struggle to establish a scalable security service offering. It can be overwhelming to ensure the solution you’re offering is both robust and profitable. In order to capitalize on the cybersecurity opportunity among SMBs, MSPs should focus not only on what they’re providing but how they’re modeling it.

The What

It is crucial that before MSPs offer their clients managed security services, they have a firm grasp of what a scalable solution even looks like.

When it comes down to it, security fundamentally hinges on the way it is managed. Thus, it is up to the MSP to set the tone through their definition and deployment of cybersecurity. Providing clients cybersecurity training and support throughout the partnership will strengthen lines of defense against cyber attackers and anchor your position as their go-to provider.

Planning for scale means you’re thinking ahead. Establish a solid relationship with your clients upfront in the service level agreement (SLA) and remain cautious about being liable in the event that a client’s business is breached. A well thought out cybersecurity plan will fit your client’s needs and involve multiple layers of defense to prevent potential disasters.

The How

Once you’ve established what type of security solution you’ll be offering, it’s time to build it into your managed services portfolio. MSPs who offer their clients one security solution that integrates well with their existing services—such as remote monitoring and management (RMM) and backup and disaster recovery (BDR)—will provide a more comprehensive approach to vulnerability management and position themselves as that one-stop-shop clients can turn to.

Additionally, your security solution will only scale if it’s supported by the right skills and knowledge. MSPs can implement a scalable model that combines next-gen software and an on-demand center of security experts who will monitor and manage threats 24x7x365.

When considering security options for your portfolio, it is helpful to think about your offering as something you can create specifically for your book of business. Since your clients’ business types and verticals tend to vary, a tiered model can help you address those different capabilities and needs. This approach keeps the solution catered and gives ground-level clients some room to grow.

Ideally, your security solution will offer multi-layered, in-depth protection that is modeled in a way that scales with your clients’ business maturity. Ask yourself: “Is my offering digestible for my clients?” “Does it demonstrate the value of my security capabilities?” The goal is to differentiate what you have to offer with a personalized package and partnership. Creating a security-as-a-service model that can work to your clients’ best advantage will help you build a trustworthy and long-lasting relationship.

Set to Scale 

With the right product and positioning, and a solid plan of action, you will enable both your and your client’s business to grow and scale.

As a managed security services provider (MSSP), you can give your clients the robust security they’ve been lacking through a comprehensive approach to vulnerability management that surpasses protection. Tune in next week for our final post of the series to learn exactly what that should look like!


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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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