There is a lot of anxiety about what’s happening in Europe at the moment. While the war on Ukraine has played out more on land than in cyberspace, that reality could change at any moment. As an MSP, you hold the keys to many pieces of critical infrastructure, many of which could become a target should things escalate. Customer communication is incredibly important, as many of you are the last line of defense for their business and thus many will look to you for peace-of-mind.
Here are a few tips on communicating with your clients about this situation and what is/ isn’t appropriate at a difficult time such as this one:
Do – educate your clients on what’s happening on the cyber front
With the news cycle being crammed with updates on the war, there are some pretty critical cyber-related events that are not making headlines. It’s important to shed light on these events if it appears as though they will have some kind of impact on you and your clients.
Don’t – exaggerate the impact or likelihood of it affecting them
While some news events might be “interesting,” re-distributing them to your clients and twisting them to seem more relevant than they are is not recommended. This would be considered spreading “FUD” (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) in a way that can do a lot more harm than good.
Do – prepare your clients and help them follow government security initiatives
Governments are urging the private sector to bolster security and plan for interruptions in the event of attacks on any part of our critical technology infrastructure. This requires Business Decision Makers to take these initiatives seriously, and reinforcing this message is a way for you to play a positive role.
Don’t – use these initiatives as a sales tactic for a short term revenue grab
Using these initiatives for your own upsell opportunities and working them into your sales pitch could be perceived as in poor taste. Rather than forcing your clients or prospects to make purchasing decisions at a time of uncertainty, try to leverage demos and trials to give them short term protection without the immediate cost. Should these become permanent solutions that prove necessary, then it would be appropriate to have those conversations.
Do – share articles and news from reputable outlets, journalists, or vendors
Much like during the pandemic, MSPs are local beacons of information that flows in from IT and software vendors as well as experts that cover business technology. Since your customers are largely outside these circles of information, it’s important to communicate the items of importance in a way that your customer will understand.
Don’t – share misinformed, overly technical, or opinion-based reporting
As a member of the IT Industry, you likely are seeing non-stop updates about hacking vigilantes and volunteers who are participating in cyber warfare. Remember, a lot of this information circulating has not been confirmed and there is a reason that many major outlets are not reporting them. Try your best to resist the urge of sharing something that has yet to be confirmed by more reliable sources or that your audience simply won’t understand.
Do – explain how you as their IT Provider are stepping up security efforts
Your clients want to know that you are being proactive. Outwardly communicating what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what your clients can expect as a result is important. It will also prevent them from reaching out and asking “what should we do?”
Don’t – make the situation “all about you” and how great you are
When communicating this information with clients, do your best not to come off as someone looking for a “pat on the back” or declaring yourself as some kind of hero. We should be nothing if not humbled by what’s happening in the world right now and the bravery shown by many.
Do – give your professional opinion on how to best meet the current challenges
Being a true thought leader means always having an opinion. That opinion should be derived from years of experience that allows you to compute unique insights that others may not have thought of. Don’t avoid giving your opinion on what’s happening, but make sure that it’s framed appropriately.
Don’t – give your personal political opinions on how or why it’s happening
It’s okay to have political opinions and it’s certainly okay to denounce behavior you morally disagree with. Just remember that you represent your entire company and not everyone in that company might feel the way you do. That’s why it’s best to avoid airing out your personal opinions when posting on places such as LinkedIn. This is more suited for professional opinions as described above.