IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Free Security Training = More Security Sales

Want to increase the number of security solutions your clients purchase? Give them something of value up front for free. By Art Gross

In the spirit of “go-giving,” some MSPs provide valuable information to prospective customers that can make them more receptive to additional conversations later on.

When Peter Verlezza of SMB Networks LLC held a cybersecurity seminar for SMB prospects, for example, he invited an FBI agent to make the presentation. The agent spoke of the risks while Verlezza armed attendees with tips to prevent data breaches and safeguard their data. Selling security solutions was not on the table.

In the same vein, rather than convincing customers why they needed to buy his company’s cyber-forensic software, Phillip Long of Business Information Solutions invited prospects to a security lunch and learn. He gave them information that could help them stop a hacker in his or her tracks.

Both MSPs conveyed the same important messages: We are security experts and we want to keep your businesses safe. These free educational sessions helped build trust with clients and opened the door to deeper conversations about investing in security solutions.

Rather than pushing products, Verlezza and Long are positioning themselves as senior security officers for SMB clients. Most SMBs know they need extra security, but they resist buying solutions. Yet they expect their MSPs to protect them from a cyber-attack, even though the IT contract only specifies anti-virus and firewall implementations.

First Line of Defense
One way MSPs can protect their clients, increase revenues, and move into the role of advocate and trusted security officer is to advise customers about the importance of security training for employees. The IBM Security Services 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index found that “over 95 percent of all incidents investigated [for the report] recognize ‘human error’ as a contributing factor.” Security training, therefore, would be a wise first line of defense.

Most employees recognize a scam such as the Prince of Kenya who wants to deposit money in their account. But Internet scams have grown much more sophisticated. Now an employee clicks on an emailed link from a “friend” and ends up with ransomware. MSPs can steer the prospective client to security training through a portal where employees can complete the training on their own in less than two hours and show proof of completion to their employer.

By starting with free security training for employees, SMBs know that the MSP is looking out for their best interests. And it’s much easier for them to say yes to training than to buy a high-ticket security solution right off the bat. Providing free security training also pushes MSPs from sales rep to consultant, and thereby sets them apart from competitors.

At his lunch-and-learn seminars, Long provides prospects with a login and password to take the free training online. He slowly builds rapport, which will lead to a conversation about security solutions such as next-generation firewalls, Open DNS, secure email, laptop and smartphone encryption, desktop security suites—and a company to implement and manage their entire network.

MSPs that help SMBs protect their networks by offering free information they can use right away will make more money in the process. It’s a win-win for MSPs and their clients.

ART GROSS is the CEO and co-founder of Entegration, an MSP in Morristown, N.J. He also founded and is the CEO of HIPAA Secure Now! and Breach Secure Now!, both of which provide data breach prevention services for medical practices and SMBs.

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