Risk Assessments as a Differentiator for MSPs and MSSPs

Managing security risks is becoming an essential part of IT management

In the past, cybersecurity played a modest role in the services MSPs and MSSPs provided clients. But as the world becomes increasingly connected – and reliance on computer systems and electronic data explodes – mitigating the risk of cybercrime sits at the forefront of company agendas.

Hackers are attacking computers and networks at a “near-constant rate,” averaging one attack every 39 seconds, according to a University of Maryland report. The average cost organizations suffer from sophisticated attacks: $13 million.

The need to manage security risks is more critical than ever – but many organizations don’t fully grasp the vulnerabilities within their systems or know how to implement proper controls. Most managed service providers believe they handle risk well, but the old staples of endpoint, firewall, and email protections are no longer enough to mitigate the threat of a serious cybersecurity event with the potential to cause substantial financial and reputational damage. In a regulated industry like finance or healthcare, cyber-attacks could also expose your clients to more crippling after-effects, including fines, investigations, and lawsuits.

If you aren’t aggressively scrutinizing information systems for every hole, you aren’t truly protecting your clients. Thoroughly identifying and ranking the information security risks an organization faces – and the appropriate course of action to shore them up – are essential to creating and managing an effective security program. This also gives MSPs and MSSPs a unique opportunity to examine a client’s network for additional revenue streams.

And the ability to deliver comprehensive risk assessments can serve as a key differentiator in the managed IT services market.

3 reasons risk assessments are essential to MSP and MSSP services

  • Provide a concrete action plan. Risk assessments help managed service providers prioritize the biggest threats their clients face. They measure impact assessment – considering quantifiable factors such as impact to revenue, profits, regulations, reputation, and service levels – as well as a likelihood assessment, the probability of a threat occurring.Digging deep into network health delivers means you may discover an array of issues your client didn’t know were a problem. It also can identify areas that aren’t compliant with industry standards or regulations that put organizations at risk of hefty fines. Not only do risk assessments minimize the number of unknown variables within a system, but they help you structure the order that vulnerabilities should be addressed and develop a concrete plan of action.
  • Justify cybersecurity spending. IT departments often struggle to convince company leaders to increase cybersecurity budgets based on nebulous threats. By spotlighting real issues that make a business susceptible to disaster scenarios, risk assessments help convince decision-makers to approve cybersecurity expenditures. These assessments can also be highly profitable prospecting tools, enabling you to upsell existing clients or convince prospects of the need for your services.
  • Increase cybersecurity awareness throughout a company. Hackers know it’s much easier to convince an unsuspecting employee to reveal a password than slip past a quality firewall. That means the responsibility for the best cybersecurity practices doesn’t stop with the IT department. Risk assessments serve as a form of cybersecurity education for an entire company. The more departments that are included, the more widespread the understanding of risky user behavior. Involving all the major stakeholders also helps achieve buy-in from key decision-makers company-wide.

8 steps for assessing risk

Cybersecurity risk assessments enable businesses to view their networks through an attacker’s lens. While the method, rigor, and scope may vary, the goals are always the same:

  • Helping company decision-makers understand the factors that could negatively impact their operations, and
  • make informed decisions about the steps needed to reduce risk.

At the end of the day, comprehensive assessments give organizations peace of mind that their systems and environments are well-protected against cyber-attacks, stopping current and evolving threats and making sure employees are trained to follow cybersecurity best practices. Employee negligence is the leading cause of data breaches, with nearly half of business leaders saying human error such as opening suspicious email attachments or losing a company device led to a breach.

While the differing needs of every business prevent a one-size-fits-all approach, let’s take a look at the main components of a cybersecurity risk assessment:

  1. Map threats to company assets and vulnerabilities
  2. Rank the importance of assets and operations potentially affected by threats
  3. Compare current levels of security to assets, threats, and vulnerabilities that can harm a business, including their impacts and likelihood
  4. Assess whether the current infrastructure – including firewalls, servers, and Internet connections – is vulnerable to cyber-attacks
  5. Project possible losses if a threat occurs, as well as recovery costs
  6. Identify actions to reduce risk
  7. Document results and create an action plan, with recommendations for patching vulnerabilities and raising confidence levels within the organization
  8. Revisit your assessment at regular intervals to ensure nothing has changed and your security methods are still effective

Protecting your clients from cybercrime

Risk assessments are an essential part of IT management. But their ability to shore up vulnerabilities rests on the thoroughness and accuracy of the evaluation. A skilled cybersecurity provider can help MSPs and MSSPs deliver comprehensive risk assessments that offer their clients the best protection possible.

CyberGuard360 is trailblazing a new software category with CyberGlass, the first and only cybersecurity product on the market to combine all the elements of a complete cybersecurity program in a single interface. To learn more about its full suite of features, including behavior analytics, next-generation endpoint protections, and scripted and automated response through a machine learning engine, call us at 844-315-9882 or use our contact form for a free consultation.