The trust built from a partnership is essential to building a successful cyber-centric business approach.

June 29, 2022

4 Min Read

By JP Kehoe


JP Kehoe

Trust will forever be the largest part of success, so strengthening the relationship between the managed service provider and the customer is paramount. We know the channel is no longer safe from the potential threat of a cyberattack and is dealing with global criminal operations that are driving ransomware and similar types of attacks to all sizes of businesses, at differing scales. That prompts the question: how can we strengthen our cybersecurity, and what actions can be beneficial or dangerous for our customers?

MSPs are responsible for the protection of the end-user, so they need to be knowledgeable and well-prepared to stay on top of new cybersecurity requirements. They need to be confident in their skills and their products, but also transfer that confidence on to their customers. Basic cyber hygiene, often overlooked, is essential to a successful cyber defence.

Focus on Cyber Hygiene

Good cyber hygiene routines don’t have to be pages long; it only takes a few steps.

  • Firstly, establish what’s important to protect and build concentric rings of security around it. Your MSP is there to help you find the best pathway to do that.

  • Second, spend more time monitoring your environment to lower your response time — visibility is key.

  • Finally, build and follow a framework that incorporates the big three: people, process and technology (PPT). This serves as a road map for customers that helps them navigate when and how to invest in security.

If you as an MSP have a framework that effectively focuses on all three, your relationship with the customer and the vendor will be strengthened and your business will grow, thanks to its equal consideration of all participating parties.

In addition to basic cyber hygiene, the road to good cybersecurity includes partnerships. The strength of the partnership will alleviate small and midsize business’ cyber problems, with time, and the partners also advocate for business growth and help maintain a support mechanism.

Catalyst for Change

Partnerships are the catalyst for change for SMBs. A strong channel partnership between vendors and MSPs should offer the right mix of technology, support and security to create a mutually beneficial relationship. This means SMBs can build out their IT infrastructure in a thoughtful and tailored manner, allowing an approach which is advantageous for the vendor, MSP and the SMB involved.

It’s up to the MSP to inform their customers what “good” looks like, to use tools so they can learn and adapt as the landscape changes, and to follow clear cyber-hygiene policies. With vendor partnerships, vendors should aid their MSPs to strengthen their relationships and to attract and retain SMBs. It’s no longer enough to just sell a product, you need to build trust and reliability with your customers, viewing them more as partners. MSPs can have a very excellent technical solution, but if they don’t have a vendor partner that’s willing to support them and help drive that with them, it’s never going to be successful.

The only thing you can do wrong on your cybersecurity journey is to do nothing. Doing nothing on cybersecurity today is like going in reverse. The speed with which the landscape is changing and the increase in threat actors means one thing: All businesses, small or large, now need to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity.

SMBs need assistance, and MSPs need to take responsibility for making sure their partners are in the best position to protect themselves and their assets. That’s why the partnership between MSPs, vendors and SMBs and the trust built between them is essential for establishing a cyber-centric business approach and subsequent success.

JP Kehoe is senior sales director at Barracuda Networks, handling Skout managed extended detection and response (XDR) for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He helped build an international channel for Skout Cybersecurity, where he was VP – International Sales and Marketing when it was acquired by Barracuda. Prior to that he worked in health care risk management. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @barracuda on Twitter.

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