MDRAddress the growing frequency, type, and severity of cyber threats against SMB endpoints
SIEMCentralize threat visibility and analysis, backed by cutting-edge threat intelligence
Risk Assessment & Vulnerability ManagementIdentify unknown cyber risks and routinely scan for vulnerabilities
Identity ManagementSecure and streamline client access to devices and applications with strong authentication and SSO
Cloud App SecurityMonitor and manage SaaS security risks for the entire Microsoft 365 environment.
SASEZero trust secure access for users, locations, and devices
Enterprise-grade SOCProvide 24/7 threat monitoring and response backed by proprietary threat research and intelligence and certified cyber experts
Policy ManagementCreate, deploy, and manage client security policies and profiles
Incident Response ServiceOn-tap cyber experts to address critical security incidents
Cybersecurity GlossaryGuide to the most common, important terms in the industry
Effective cybersecurity reporting: guidance for MSPs
Clear communication is the cornerstone of a successful client relationship, and it goes beyond simple dialogue. Effective cybersecurity reporting is crucial, serving as a vital channel for conveying essential security data that fosters accountability, transparency, and trust. And reporting is more than just a data sheet—it's a statement of your value and commitment to protecting your clients against digital threats. At the same time, you don’t want to bury your clients in so much data they don’t know how to execute it.
On the other end of the equation is customer feedback. Customer feedback platforms like SmileBack can seamlessly integrate into your communication strategy, allowing you to gauge client satisfaction in real-time. As a next step, general cybersecurity platforms like the ConnectWise Security Management suite allow you to act on said feedback to better meet client needs.
However, communication isn't just about client interaction—it's also about conveying crucial data and insights. This exchange helps build transparency and trust between client and MSP. Moreover, these reports aid you in making informed decisions to strengthen your clients' digital defenses.
In this article, we will provide actionable strategies to help you elevate your cybersecurity reporting practices. These steps can help enhance your service delivery and further cement your position as an expert in the MSP landscape.
Cybersecurity reports serve as critical tools for enhancing risk management, decision-making, and stakeholder trust. They enable you to achieve several key objectives:
- Navigating the threat landscape: Reports offer a granular view of your system vulnerabilities and external threats, allowing you to proactively manage cyber risks. Our MSP threat report can help MSPs stay ahead of the evolving threat landscape.
- Enabling compliance: Compliance as a service or compliance reporting aren’t just nice-to-haves, but are essential when working with clients that require it. More than meeting legal requirements, adhering to industry standards like PCI DSS or NIST signifies your commitment to robust cybersecurity measures. Reports help you maintain this alignment and separate you from the next company that may not have that attention to detail. In addition, you should supplement this with client education so they understand why these reports are important and how to execute on them.
- Building client trust: A well-crafted report demonstrates to clients and partners that their data is secure with you, thereby strengthening trust and loyalty.
- Streamlining team efficiency: These reports can also track metrics like the number of open tickets and their resolution speed, providing insights into your cyber team's operational efficiency.
An effective cybersecurity incident report serves multiple functions: it offers concise yet comprehensive insights into your security posture, reveals the financial impact of potential risks, and provides in-depth analyses of controls and vulnerabilities.
But who are the key stakeholders that benefit from this report? Leadership teams require high-level insights to make decisions that are in sync with your overall security strategy. A well-structured report supplies them with the big-picture view they need.
Along with this, your ground-level defenders require detailed, tactical information. A thorough report provides them with the analyses they need to identify vulnerabilities and strengthen defenses, effectively filling gaps in your security architecture.
Beyond the compliance checkboxes, effective cybersecurity reporting empowers proactive risk management:
- Service quality assessment: Alongside evaluating cyber risks, your report should include metrics that gauge the quality of service you provide to your clients, such as responsiveness and issue resolution time.
- Industry benchmarking: Evaluate how you stand compared to industry peers, not just in cybersecurity, but in client service metrics as well. This provides a holistic view of your competitive positioning. Resources like ConnectWise’s Service Leadership Index are an ideal fit here. The Service Leadership Index is the world’s largest-scale and most-accurate benchmark for financial performance, operational maturity, and value creation for IT service providers.
In a world fraught with cyberthreats, cybersecurity reports act as your navigational tool, translating complex data into actionable insights. With these tailored reports, you are better equipped to guide your clients towards resilience while optimizing your internal operations.
Types of cybersecurity reports
It's crucial for organizations to arm themselves with multiple types of cybersecurity reports. Each report serves a unique purpose, offering insights into different aspects of a company’s security posture.
Here are the types of reports that MSPs typically utilize for a comprehensive cybersecurity approach:
- Vulnerability assessment report
- Purpose: To identify and assess potential security weaknesses in a system before they can be exploited by cybercriminals.
- Includes: A list of identified vulnerabilities, risk evaluations for each, and mitigation recommendations. This risk assessment report template is one example of a format your team can use.
- Target audience: Internal IT teams, managed security service providers, and C-suite executives invested in risk management.
- Third party audit
- Purpose: To bring in a third party to help the MSP and client find any potential gaps.
- Includes: Types of simulated attacks, results, and actionable steps for improving security.
- Target audience: IT security practitioners, third-party security auditors, and compliance officers.
- Cybersecurity audit report
- Purpose: To review an organization’s overall cybersecurity posture and suggest areas for improvement.
- Includes: Assessments of cybersecurity governance, policies, incident response plans, and user awareness programs.
- Target audience: Corporate governance teams, external auditors, and legal teams for compliance evaluation.
- Website penetration assessment report
- Purpose: To assess the security of a website by simulating real-world attacks on it.
- Includes: Types of attacks simulated, results, and recommended security enhancements.
- Target audience: Web development teams, digital marketers concerned with site integrity, and CISOs.
Having the right report in hand allows you to fortify your digital assets against emerging threats, ensuring both operational efficiency and stakeholder trust. In addition, picking the right types of cybersecurity threat reports means you are getting value from your efforts instead of just checking compliance boxes.
At the heart of an impactful cybersecurity threat report lies the ability to measure progress. Key performance metrics provide a clear view of how an organization's security posture fares against its peers and current cybersecurity trends. These benchmarks serve as reference points, aiding decision-makers in assessing the effectiveness of their security measures.
Metrics hold value when they align with industry standards and best practices. Choose indicators that resonate with prevailing norms, enabling organizations to gauge their cybersecurity preparedness against widely accepted measures:
- Number of open critical tickets: This serves as a real-time gauge of significant issues requiring immediate attention.
- Average age of open critical tickets: The longer these tickets stay open, the greater the potential risk.
- Tickets by severity/priority: Break down the tickets to understand your focus areas better.
- Mean time to respond (MTTR): Measures the speed of response post-incident detection, essential for minimizing impact.
- Number of false positives: High numbers may indicate alert fatigue or the need for system tuning.
- Tickets by source: A breakdown by origin (e.g., SIEM, EDR/MDR, user request) helps in source-specific strategy adjustment.
- Average time to resolve ticket: Provides insight into SOC
- Number of escalations: A high number could signify understaffing or need for additional training.
- Number of incidents resolved: This signifies how effective the SOC is in mitigating threats.
- Customer satisfaction: Gauges the SOC’s success from the client's perspective, vital for long-term partnership and improvement.
- Average labor hours per ticket: This helps in labor optimization and resource allocation.
Incorporating these metrics into a comprehensive cybersecurity board report not only offers a panoramic view of an organization's cybersecurity landscape but also serves as a strategic tool for decision-makers. It enables them to make informed choices, prioritize resource allocation, and proactively address potential vulnerabilities.
As cybersecurity continues to evolve, organizations can build adaptive and effective strategies on this stable foundation of metrics.
We cannot overstate the value of a well-crafted cybersecurity board report plan. It's not just about presenting data; it's about providing insights that empower informed decisions. Let's delve into the best practices you should employ in your cybersecurity incident report.
Building a client-friendly reporting plan
When it comes to client-facing reports, utility is paramount. These reports are more than just documents; they're tools that empower clients to confidently navigate the complexities of cybersecurity.
- Normalization: As we mentioned earlier, you don’t want clients to get analysis paralysis while reading your report. An effective executive summary can go a long way in terms of putting your data in proper context and giving clients full understanding of where they have gaps and how you can help fill them through products and services.
- Empower with informed decisions: Reports should enable clients to understand the significance of data, transforming numbers into actionable insights. This empowers them to make informed decisions regarding their security strategies.
- Visual appeal and clarity: Information overload is a real concern. Craft reports that are visually engaging and comprehensible. Use charts, infographics, and other visual aids to simplify complex information.
- Speak to all audiences: Your reports must bridge the gap between technical and non-technical minds. Ensure that even a non-technical reader can grasp the essentials without sacrificing depth for the experts.
- Tailor to each client: Recognize that every client is unique. Customize your reports to match their specific needs, preferences, and pain points.
- Craft effective QBRs: Regularly scheduled quarterly business reviews (QBRs) further enhance client rapport. These sessions offer an opportunity to discuss the finer points of the report, answer questions, and strategize collaboratively.
Successful cybersecurity board report plan goes beyond raw data. It's about fostering a collaborative partnership between your expertise and your clients' needs. By providing clear insights, actionable guidance, and personalized attention, you transform reporting into a catalyst for growth, preparedness, and shared success.
Focus on risk and impact
Crafting an effective cybersecurity report goes beyond a data summary; it serves as a strategic tool for safeguarding your organization. The key lies in spotlighting metrics that directly relate to risk and impact.
For example, you could include metrics like “Risk Exposure Index” or “Potential Business Impact Score” to quantify and dimensionalize risk and its subsequent fallout.
To make these metrics resonate powerfully with stakeholders, present them within the framework of your overarching security strategy. Not only do these metrics offer a granular understanding of vulnerabilities, but they also help to gauge the effectiveness of remedial measures, serving as vital guideposts for future decision-making. For example, a crown jewels analysis (CJA) is a type of cybersecurity process that helps determine the most critical assets of an organization, the “crown jewels” as it were. Equipped with this knowledge, MSPs can create cybersecurity strategies that focus on these critical assets before everything else.
This approach transcends mere documentation. It elevates your report from a static snapshot into a dynamic tool, driving informed responses to emerging security challenges.
Finding automation opportunities
Reporting, while crucial, often demands considerable time and effort. Streamlining this process through automation offers a more efficient way forward.
As a start, when it comes to streamlining reporting, consider automating data collection from multiple security tools and platforms into a centralized dashboard. Another avenue is auto-generating reports based on predefined templates and metrics, which not only saves time but also enhances report consistency. Another automation opportunity is the dissemination of these reports to relevant stakeholders, ensuring timely communication.
Embracing automation not only frees up valuable resources but also ensures that your reporting remains timely, accurate, and insightful, contributing to a more robust cybersecurity strategy. Business intelligence platforms like BrightGauge offer automation features that simplify client reporting. This can help you access, group, and simplify data that is often hidden or scattered across multiple tables or databases, making it challenging to report on effectively.
Aligning reports with compliance requirements
Navigating the landscape of cybersecurity reporting requires more than just data—it demands a meticulous alignment with compliance measures and cybersecurity analytics. Here's your roadmap to effectively harmonize these elements:
- Implement compliance metrics as KPIs: Transform compliance from an obligation to a key performance indicator. Utilize metrics like the percentage of checked security controls against total controls prescribed in PCI DSS to monitor real-time compliance and make data-backed decisions. For example, a dashboard might display real-time tracking of an "SSL Certificate Compliance" metric, showing that 98% of servers are in compliance with SSL requirements, alerting the team to focus on the remaining 2%.
- Customize reports to client-specific regulations: Make each report a personalized compliance toolkit for your clients. Identify the distinct compliance obligations for each client and integrate these into tailored reports, offering them a targeted view of their regulatory standing. As an example, for a healthcare client, include a HIPAA-specific section in the report that provides a scorecard on data encryption and patient data access controls.
- Furnish reports as compliance artifacts: Turn your reports into verified records that stand up to regulatory scrutiny. Incorporate elements like change logs, timestamps, and executive summaries in reports to offer concrete evidence of regulatory adherence. For instance, the end of the report could include an auditable change log, stamped with the time and date of each modification, to serve as a legal document during audits.
Integrating compliance metrics isn't just about fulfilling requirements; it's about linking cybersecurity practices and regulatory obligations. Ideally, your reports resonate with both clients and regulatory bodies, ensuring a secure and compliant environment.
Real-time reporting for incident response
Cybersecurity reporting extends beyond scheduled check-ins; it serves as a dynamic tool that addresses both immediate internal needs and the ongoing requirements of your clients. Here's how to infuse real-time reporting into your arsenal, turning it into a potent instrument for incident response and effectiveness demonstration:
- Immediate insights for internal needs: Reporting isn't just a show-and-tell for clients. It's a resource that empowers your team with real-time insights, enabling rapid response to emerging security incidents.
- Empowerment through real-time reporting: Your teams can integrate real-time reporting capabilities. This ensures that you stay ahead of threats and can act swiftly when security incidents arise.
- Instant incident updates for clients: Real-time reporting bridges the gap between your expertise and your clients' peace of mind. Keep them informed with immediate incident response updates, fostering transparency and trust.
- Showcasing effectiveness in real-time: Real-time reporting isn't just about reacting—it's also about showcasing your proactive effectiveness. Demonstrate your agility in tackling incidents, building confidence in your cybersecurity measures.
Real-time reporting is a multidimensional tool. It empowers internal incident response, nurtures client relationships through transparency, and showcases your prowess in navigating the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape. Make real-time reporting your strategic advantage, ensuring you're always at the forefront of cybersecurity readiness. For more information on incident response, check out our webinar, Why You Need an Incident Response Plan and How to Create One.
While a cybersecurity report offers valuable insights, its true worth comes from driving actionable improvements. Here’s how MSPs can leverage these analytics to enact real change:
- Insight-to-action transformation: A report isn't just a data dump; it's a roadmap for improvement. Actionable insights should inform concrete next steps to enhance cybersecurity measures.
- Data-driven customization: Use analytics to tailor your services, benefiting both individual clients and your overarching cybersecurity strategy.
- Dynamic strategy updates: Leverage both the report findings and client feedback for ongoing strategy refinement. This ensures your services remain adaptable and consistently improve.
Along with your internal reports, you can look to authoritative outside sources to guide your strategies. Comprehensive resources like our Ultimate Operations Guide for MSP Cybersecurity can help position your MSP at the forefront of cybersecurity excellence.
Operating a successful and resilient cybersecurity practice requires best-in-class software and adaptive solutions. The ConnectWise cybersecurity suite features 24/7 threat detection monitoring, incident response and security risk assessment tools to help keep your clients protected from threats. Our software is designed to integrate seamlessly with business intelligence reporting platforms like BrightGauge, simplifying your path from insights to action. Start your on-demand demo today or explore all of our cybersecurity demos and trials to see which cybersecurity solution fits your needs.