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Security Education

Why MSPs Should Administer Client Security Awareness Training

By SolarWinds Passportal

As a managed services provider (MSP), you know your customers are serious about defending against cyberattacks—presumably, that’s part of the reason why they hired you. Data breaches are all too common today, and they can easily cost a business several million dollars. With such high stakes, any business owner would agree that strong IT security is worth the investment.

Part of your job is to make sure all your customers’ bases are covered. Even though security software is an important part of managed service provision, software is only one line of defense. Because human error is a major culprit for security breaches, security awareness training is a critical part of any comprehensive cybersecurity program. To minimize the possibility of a successful cyberattack, consider offering your customers security training.

Why is cybersecurity training important?

Attackers know the average user is more vulnerable to scam emails than an IT professional. Employees are prone to open suspicious links—especially when they’re cleverly disguised to seem like they’ve come from their boss or trustworthy businesses. Without the proper training to recognize what may be an attempt at social engineering, your customers’ IT security could be compromised with the click of a button. As soon as an employee responds to a phishing scam or opens an infected link, millions of dollars could be on the line.

As an MSP, cybersecurity awareness training is also beneficial to your bottom line. When your customer’s employees have a strong internal security protocol, you’ll be less likely to get flooded with service requests to eliminate malware and fix other issues that could have been easily avoided with security best practices.

Security training techniques

Training your customers doesn’t have to be complicated. A painless information session can help your customer’s entire staff better recognize scams, protect against malware, and get some much-needed peace of mind.  

1. Raise security awareness

The most important step in security training is to make sure your customer understands the importance of strong security practices. The best way to prevent a scam is to not take the bait. Employees should learn not to respond to suspicious emails—especially if the emails are asking for personal information. Employees should also know not to open an unknown link. While these precautions might seem obvious, a recent report revealed 90% of corporate data breaches in the cloud occur as a result of employees’ falling victim to social engineering. 

When you offer security awareness training to your customers, emphasize the risks of employee negligence—and argue that upholding end-user security best practices is the best line of defense against attack.

2. Emphasize compliance

Depending on the industry your customers are in, they may need to comply with strict IT security standards. Industries like healthcare, finance, education, public service, and more are regularly audited by industry-wide supervisors that ensure their data is properly protected. For your customers to maintain good standing and avoid possible hefty fines, they will need to pass their security audits. When your customer is subject to a security audit, their ability to prevent a security breach can make all the difference.

3. Run phishing simulations

Teachers use exams to make sure their students have learned the material. MSPs should take a page out of teachers’ books and use phishing simulations to test their customers’ understanding of security best practices. Phishing simulations use false emails that resemble real phishing scams. These simulations can help employees to identify a scam when they see one, and their score on the simulation can give your customers an understanding of how prepared their users are to identify real threats. 

Implementing a lasting IT security policy

With knowledgeable employees, your customer’s life will get a lot easier—and yours will too. Certainly, a well-rounded managed service package should also include on-demand services and software protection. But never forget that your customers are their own first line of defense. With high-profile data breaches constantly making headlines, your customers should know how to stay safe.

In the event a social engineering attempt is successful, it’s important to have automated security software in place to supplement security training. For optimal security, organizations should also be equipped with tools for automated password reset and granular access control. SolarWinds® Passportal helps MSPs provide critical password security services to their customers to further ensure that their data is protected. Coupled with staff security awareness training, your MSP can help your customers dramatically reduce the risk of a data breach.

Additional Reading


SolarWinds® adds Passportal suite to its MSP product portfolio. MSP security, simplified. SolarWinds® Passportal + Documentation Manager is a SOC 2 certified, RAPID 7 tested, award winning platform.

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