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7 Things Every MSSP Needs to Train and Develop Employees

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By: Tatianna Harris

March 2, 2021

What should a workforce development platform include for MSSPs and security teams?

The workforce is the single most important asset any organization will ever have. Logically, that means retaining and developing it should be a top priority.

For Managed Security Services Providers (MSSPs), building and retaining a highly motivated and engaged workforce comes with unique challenges. Long hours, combined with the need to be available to clients around the clock, place an enormous burden on teams. At the same time, the cybersecurity skills shortage places further pressure on MSSPs to compel their employees to stay with the company.

These goals can only be achieved through a culture of continuous learning, and that is where workforce management platforms come in. Workforce development goes beyond onboarding and training to focus on long-term success, with a clear emphasis on the professional goals and needs of employees, rather than the mere needs of the business.

Why MSSPs should think beyond onboarding and training

In a sector as dynamic as cybersecurity, MSSPs are in the business of learning. Their teams must adapt to a constantly evolving environment composed of new regulations, certifications, cyberthreats, and client demands.

The traditional approach to onboarding and training is little more than an administrative check-the-box set of tasks handled by HR teams. By contrast, a proactive and adaptive approach can fill the skills gaps and keep employees motivated with customized career paths.

Especially in times of uncertainty and volatility, employees demand career development and stability, and they are likely to seek alternative opportunities if those demands cannot be met where they are. By approaching team onboarding and training as part of an overarching career development strategy, organizations will invoke a sense of loyalty, motivation, and engagement to increase employee satisfaction and retention.

Transform your onboarding program by following these 5 best practices.

Choosing the right workforce development platform, or learning management system (LMS), can help MSSPs retain and grow their workforces in a way that seminars or workshops cannot realize.

1. Assessments for gauging core competencies

Before MSSPs can embark on workforce development, they need to know where their teams stand, in terms of a competency baseline. Comprehensive online assessments keep managers up to speed with compliance certifications while giving them the means to measure the knowledge, skills, and abilities of their employees. With the added benefit of virtual labs and skills-focused assessments, managers will be better equipped to determine the capabilities of their employees for handling real-world scenarios. Given the nuances of cybersecurity, this is a far more effective approach to gauging core competencies than relying solely on traditional, knowledge-based assessments.

2. Reporting and analytics for identifying top talent

While assessments make it possible to establish baseline requirements for certain job roles, a workforce development platform should go much deeper into measuring performance. With reporting and analytics dashboards, managers can track more than just failures and passes. They can gain insights that allow them to identify hidden talents and opportunities. Also, by closely monitoring the performance of their employees, managers can uncover weaknesses and cultivate core competencies. For example, a simple assessment or virtual lab could reveal hidden skills that might open up new career progression opportunities for employees.

3. Ability to align development to industry standards

Online learning has grown enormously popular in recent years, especially since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, LMS are now plentiful, ranging from those with a very broad approach to those tailored to the needs of specific industries and standards. Choosing a one-size-fits-all solution is not likely to deliver the value and specificity that MSSPs need to develop their workforces. For example, there are roles within the MSSP environment that require certifications, like CISSP or CISA; therefore, it makes sense to choose a solution that helps employees prepare for those certifications.

4. Customizable learning paths for filling skills gaps

No one wants to be locked into a dead-end job doing something that does not interest them. At the same time, every business has specific needs and skills gaps. Thus, it is important to find the right mix of the professional goals of employees and the operational goals of the business. Choosing a platform that provides customizable learning paths helps ease this burden. Employees can focus on mission-critical skills and knowledge wherever they are, and learn about the areas that interest them most, at their own pace.

5. Hands-on training experiences for real-world skills

Although knowledge serves as a crucial foundation for the exercise of skills, the unpredictable nature of cybersecurity demands a more hands-on approach. Simply learning by a singular method, is not enough. After all, cybersecurity teams routinely deal with threats that have never been seen before, requiring them to tackle these threats with a degree of intuition and experience. Things like simulated social engineering attacks and hands-on virtual labs can help prepare employees for these unknowns. This is why it is essential to choose a solution that goes beyond traditional learning to incorporate adaptive training and development.

6. Dedicated mentors and professional networking

A workforce development platform should not be considered a set-and-forget solution. More than ever, it is important to accommodate and promote strong teamwork. Aside from learning job-ready skills and gaining hands-on experience, teams should have consistent access to personalized guidance and support. This includes having a dedicated account manager and the opportunity to work with subject-matter experts who can provide direction. To that end, there is much more to a robust workforce development solution than a static set of text-based resources. Since onboarding, training, and workforce development are integral to the long-term success of any organization, the entire process can only be enabled by a solution that supports the optimal blend of people, processes, and technology.

7. High availability across distributed workforces

Online learning platforms have several advantages over traditional mediums, like in-person workshops and seminars. In today’s world of remote work, the biggest benefit is that they are able to address the needs of geographically distributed workforces. As more service providers adjust to the continuance of remote work, they also need to ensure teams can continue learning, regardless of their location. A remote work-friendly development solution should provide browser-based assessments, virtual labs, and a way for managers to track the progress of their teams. It should support the widest possible range of learning and working styles to accommodate the increasingly varied needs of today’s workforces.

Cybrary is a workforce development platform that goes beyond training alone to deliver hands-on skills development, customizable career paths, and certification preparation. Our solution helps MSPs and MSSPs upskill their teams and supercharge employee experiences. Contact us today to schedule your interactive walkthrough.

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