MSP Buyers Guide For Phishing Simulations In 2024

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Gareth Shelwell Published: May 30, 2024

Whether you’re an experienced Managed Service Provider (MSP) with a history of running phishing simulations or exploring adding them as a service to your clients, understanding the common challenges and planning how you will overcome them is crucial.

In this blog, we’ll explore the key obstacles MSPs face in conducting phishing simulations, the essential strategies to overcome these hurdles, and the top tips for ensuring your phishing simulations are impactful and scalable, ultimately making them profitable for your business.

The Nine Challenges Every MSP Runs Into When Running Phishing Simulations

No matter how experienced you are as an MSP, there are a handful of common challenges you'll run into when trying to roll out or ramp up your phishing simulation services. So, let’s jump right in and take a look at these hurdles.

Challenge #1: Limited Content Customization Options

Finding a phishing simulation platform that lets you tweak content to fit different industries and threats is paramount. You need phishing content that feels real and training that speaks the language of your customer's organization.

Challenge #2: Client Buy-In and Engagement

Many clients may not fully grasp the magnitude of the phishing threat or understand how pervasive and damaging these attacks can be. This lack of awareness can lead to resistance and skepticism about the need for regular phishing simulations.

Image depicting a graph showing a decline after a cyber attack

Challenge #3: Measuring Effectiveness

It's important to have good metrics and reports to show how well the phishing simulations are working. You want clear data on how user awareness is improving and where the weak spots are. You want to be able to demonstrate that your service is providing value to the customer.

Challenge #4: Complex User-Interfaces

Some platforms are complicated to use, slowing your team down and frustrating clients. Ideally, you want to find a platform that is intuitive and easy to pick up.

Challenge #5: Combining Training With Phishing

After a simulation, you'll need to provide solid follow-up training for anyone who gets caught. This should be automated. The goal is to help them understand what went wrong and how to spot phishing attempts in the future.

Even with the right tools, there is an art to running truly effective and engaging training. If you're eager to up your training game, we cover this topic in depth in this article, 8 Best Practices To Supercharge Your Security Awareness Training Program.

Challenge #6: Resource Allocation and Cost

Balancing the cost of the phishing simulation platform with the price you can charge your clients. You need to ensure that the platform's benefits justify its price and that you can set a rate that clients are willing to pay while still making a profit.

Challenge #7: Cost of Running POCs

Running proof-of-concepts (POCs) with prospective clients can be expensive and tricky. Many platforms have rigid pricing schemes that require bulk purchases or long-term commitments, which can be a big hurdle when trying to prove the value to a potential client without breaking the bank.

Challenge #8: Managing Employee Turnover

Managing a phishing simulation service for clients can be tough when employees come and go frequently. As an MSP, you're not always up-to-date with who's new and who's left the organization, making it challenging to keep the simulation targets current and relevant. Additionally, working with a growing company can complicate things further. Adding licenses often requires back-and-forth with your provider, especially if their service is inflexible, leading to delays and increased administrative overhead.

Image depicting a confused MSP looking at an org chart

Challenge #9: Managing Multiple Customers

Handling multiple customers simultaneously can be a daunting task, especially when each client has unique requirements, schedules, and user bases. Juggling different customer needs and ensuring each receives the same level of attention and quality service can strain your resources. Moreover, keeping track of the various phishing campaigns, training programs, and reporting for each client demands a robust system to prevent errors and omissions.

The 12 Phishing Platform Capabilities To Overcome MSP Challenges

While running phishing simulations for clients can present challenges, these obstacles can be effectively managed with the right platform. In the following section, we will outline the essential features to consider when selecting a phishing simulation platform.

#1 Customer-Centric User Interface

A great phishing simulation platform shouldn’t need you to be an expert. It should be intuitive, guiding you smoothly through your tasks. Essential features should be front and center, while advanced options remain accessible but not intrusive. It’s all about making your experience seamless and hassle-free without getting bogged down by extra features you don't really need.

Look out for intuitive layouts, ensuring you can launch and view campaigns within as few clicks as possible. Logical layouts reduce learning curves! The best way to answer this is by asking yourself – could I hand this over to a junior employee and have them flourish?

Addresses Challenge #4: Complex User-Interfaces

Image depicting a user centric interface

#2 Self-Service Customer Onboarding

Onboarding new customers should be straightforward and fast. Look for platforms that allow you to set up customer accounts with just a few clicks without needing to engage with support or sales teams. The best platforms empower you to handle everything independently, ensuring a smooth and rapid onboarding process.

Addresses Challenges #4: Complex User-Interfaces, #6: Resource Allocation Cost, #8: Managing Employee Turnover

#3 Tenant Synchronization

A powerful platform should enable you to replicate your customized settings across all customer tenants under your control. This feature is a huge time saver, and a must-have if you've invested significant effort into tailoring simulated phishing and training content. It's an essential capability that streamlines the onboarding process, allowing you to bring new clients on board quickly and efficiently.

Addresses Challenge #6: Resource Allocation and Cost

#4 Flexible Subscription Options

Your customer base is likely diverse, with organizations of all sizes and from different industries. Look for a solution that offers flexible subscription options, allowing you to tailor plans to meet each customer's specific needs. Ensure the platform has monthly and annual plans and, more importantly, that these options can be applied individually to each customer.

Addresses Challenge #6: Resource Allocation and Cost

#5 Customer Onboarding Tools & Collateral

Onboarding new customers involves more than just setting up accounts; it requires well-thought-out tools and collateral to ensure smooth onboarding. A capable phishing simulation platform should provide detailed guides, video tutorials, and other resources that make it easy for you and your clients to understand and utilize the platform. This helps reduce the time spent on training and allows quicker service adoption.

Addresses Challenges #2: Client Buy-In and Engagement, #4: Complex User-Interfaces, #6: Resource Allocation and Cost

Free Tools

Free Security Awareness Program Generator

Rapidly set up best practice phishing simulations in a CanIPhish tenant or create a security awareness program.

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#6 White-Labelled Customer Marketing Material

Access to white-labelled marketing materials can significantly boost your ability to promote phishing simulation services to your clients. This capability allows you to present professional, branded materials that align with your business identity. It’s a valuable feature for MSPs looking to enhance their credibility and market their services effectively without investing heavily in custom content creation.

Addresses Challenge #2: Client Buy-In and Engagement

#7 Automated Campaigns & Reporting Tools

Automation is key to efficiently managing multiple customers' phishing simulations. A platform that offers automated campaign scheduling, execution, and detailed reporting can save you significant time and effort. These tools allow you to set up simulations that run at specified intervals, with automatic notifications and comprehensive reports that highlight user performance, areas of improvement, and overall effectiveness.

Addresses Challenges #3: Measuring Effectiveness and #9: Managing Multiple Customers

#8 Integrated Training

Effective phishing simulation doesn’t end with identifying who fell for the bait; it must include integrated training to educate those who fell for the phish. Platforms that offer built-in training modules ensure that users receive immediate feedback and learning opportunities. This integration helps reinforce good security practices and reduce the likelihood of future lapses.

Addresses Challenge #5: Combining Training and Education With Phishing

Image depicting the CanIPhish learner dashboard

#9 Centralized Customer Management

Managing multiple clients can be complex without the right tools. A centralized customer management dashboard that allows you to seamlessly switch between tenants is necessary. From this dashboard, you should be able to configure settings across different tenants, making it easier to scale your services.

Addresses Challenge #9: Managing Multiple Customers

#10 Customizable Phishing Content

Every organization has unique needs, and a one-size-fits-all approach to phishing may not be effective. A good phishing simulation platform should allow you to customize phishing content to match each client's specific requirements. This ensures that the phishing campaigns are relevant and effective, which leads to a more secure workforce and happy clients.

Addresses Challenge #1: Limited Content Customization Options

Image depicting customizable content functionality on CanIPhish

#11 Integration with Azure AD/Google Workspace To Manage Users

Integrating with popular directory services like Azure AD and Google Workspace streamlines user management. This feature allows for automated user provisioning and de-provisioning, ensuring that the list of simulation targets is always up-to-date. It reduces manual administrative tasks and helps maintain accurate and current user data.

Addresses Challenge #8: Managing Employee Turnover

#12 Free POCs

Offering free tiers for proof-of-concepts (POCs) can be a game-changer when attracting new clients. It allows potential customers to experience the value of your phishing simulation services without any financial commitment. This approach can help you demonstrate the platform’s capabilities and build trust, making converting prospects into paying clients easier.

Addresses Challenge #7: Cost of Running POCs

CanIPhish: A Phishing Platform Designed For MSPs

From the outset, CanIPhish was built with MSPs at the core of its platform features and functionality decisions. We carefully analyzed the problems MSPs were facing and the pain points they were experiencing in delivering phishing simulations. Our goal was to design a solution that not only addresses these challenges but also provides a cost-effective and scalable option for our MSP partners.

CanIPhish offers a partner program for MSPs that gives them all the tools they need to run and manage phishing simulations for their customers successfully. We understand that flexibility, ease of use, high-quality content, and automation are crucial. CanIPhish integrates seamlessly into your existing workflows, ensuring you can deliver top-notch phishing simulation services without the administrative burden or high costs.

Learn about CanIPhish's MSP Program

Image depicting a file with a checklist

By focusing on MSPs' unique needs, CanIPhish ensures that you have the resources to help your clients improve their security posture while making your operations more efficient and profitable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you run phishing simulations as an MSP?

To run phishing simulations as an MSP, choose a phishing simulation platform, onboard them onto the platform, and schedule the simulations targeting your clients' employees. After the simulation, provide follow-up training for those who fell for the simulated attacks. If you're looking for a deep-dive on how to sending a simulated phishing campaign, this article "How To Send A Phishing Awareness Email To Employees In 2024", has you covered.

How much can I charge for phishing simulation services?

Pricing can vary based on the complexity of the simulations and the size of the client organization. Generally, MSPs charge a monthly or annual fee for ongoing phishing simulations and training. It's important to ensure your rates cover costs and provide value to your clients. If you want to learn more about how much phishing simulations cost, we've published extensive market reasearch in a recent blog post titled "Your Guide To Security Awareness Training Pricing In 2024."

How do you measure the effectiveness of phishing simulations?

Effectiveness is measured by tracking metrics such as the percentage of employees who fall for simulated phishing attacks, improvements over time, and engagement with follow-up training. Detailed reporting and analytics tools help visualize these metrics and demonstrate the value of the simulations.

How can MSPs manage multiple clients efficiently when running phishing simulations?

Efficient management involves using a platform that offers centralized customer management. Automating tasks such as scheduling simulations and generating reports can also help streamline the process and reduce administrative overhead.

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Written by

Gareth Shelwell

An Operations Manager dedicated to helping you safely swim amongst the internet of phish!