7 Cybersecurity Practices Every MSP Should Have

Both the digital and entrepreneurial worlds have been rapidly increasing over the years. Today, there are over 30 million organizations worldwide that have under 1,000 employees. And while that’s a benefit to communities and countries alike, these businesses are also vulnerable to the digitalized attacks that are now commonplace. As a result, many businesses turn to MSPs to leverage their IT departments.

Because of these changes in industries, MSPs have grown significantly over the years and are currently handling large volumes of client data. While MSPs are rising to the challenge, they are also faced with many malicious actors that can undermine the MSP itself and the clients that they are protecting.

To stay ahead and mitigate the damages, an MSP should adopt several best practices. Ensuring each of these practices are in place and enforced can allow MSPs guaranteeing the optimal security for their systems, and clients’ valuable data.

Why Are MSPs Targeted By Hackers?

Before delving into practices, it’s important to understand why MSPs are targeted rather than business owners. In most circumstances, hackers will attack business owners as they often lack resources – financially and physically – to oppose hackers. Any business that recognizes this will therefore outsource their IT services and infrastructures to MSPs.

This behaviour is predictable to experienced hackers. They know MSPs are now the gatekeepers to crucial information and sensitive data of hundreds of businesses. MSPs are a vault or a treasure trove of information that hackers can get access to. All they need to do is break in.

Best Practices For MSPs

In order to avoid the worst-case scenario, MSPs are responsible for bolstering their line of defence against attackers. How that looks like is by following these seven practices.

Using Email Authentication Protocols

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are popular email authentication protocols and for good reason – they make it easier for MSPs to monitor servers’ vulnerabilities. Through strict protocols, users can avoid opening emails leading to malicious websites or get caught in phishing scams. These protocols detect spoof emails that contain phishing links or malware and keep systems safe.

Using Mock Phishing Campaigns For Employees

Phishing scams are on the rise now more than ever with a 600% increase of them since COVID-19. Even with authentication protocols in place, phishing emails can still slip through the cracks. Combined with the fact most data breaches result in human errors, MSPs can mitigate these through regular and routine training of employees.

Simple awareness training can help, but mock phishing campaigns for staff can also ensure that social engineering attempts are stopped.

Timely Cybersecurity Audits

An MSP should be conducting routine audits for clients, but it’s also important to provide one for the MSP itself. Established MSPs will often hire third parties to conduct these audits on occasion. These audits are helpful as they can reveal things that many people can miss such as an employee having access to a system that they no longer need. Or a terminated employee still having roles in systems. Putting together these audits will ensure that clients’ data is secure.

Log Monitoring

Regular log monitoring is about looking at logs for possible glitches. Looking at records can lead to someone detecting traffic inflows from malicious sources. This practice also assists in threat patterns in which MSPs can deploy to block gaps. MSPs use robust SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) tools to ensure this. Using these tools makes it easy to scan through a large portion of data and focus on specific issues.

Proactive Threat Detection

MSPs do not have the luxury of being reactive when danger happens. Even with all of these measures in place, threats still occur, and damage can be done. MSPs can use various tools to ensure they remain proactive and address issues before they do any harm. These tools include:

  • EDR (endpoint detection response)
  • Intrusion detection systems
  • And firewalls

Firewalls should be the first deployed system as they are able to protect clients, while controlling and monitoring traffic that aligns with security norms. However, MSPs can incorporate next-generation firewalls that aim to bolster email security with antivirus scanning. Having a firewall can help to mitigate a lot of intrusions, however the other systems should be implemented behind the firewall to catch any strays that slip through.

ESET, one of the top performing antimalware/antivirus products for MSPs and businesses alike, can be purchased here.

Practicing Vulnerability Monitoring

One of the duties of IT is to constantly test systems for vulnerabilities. As an MSP, it’s important that they do the same as well. Looking for potential exploits before hackers can result in an MSP seeking solutions and patching vulnerabilities before they cause problems. How MSPs can do that is through testing and scanning the environment for possible flaws that would enable zero-day attacks. In practice, MSPs should:

  • Update systems regularly
  • Change default passwords
  • Enhance configurations

Securing Remote Access Tools

Lastly, MSPs should address the threats of ransomware. Even though it’s not as common as phishing scams, ransomware can cause far more damage to companies and MSPs alike. Some strategies MSPs can use are:

  • Deploying IP Restrictions: Guarantees that local networks only allow employees access to those networks. Additionally, those employees have access to the systems they need to do their work.
  • Using MFA: Multi-factor Authentication prevents intruders from getting into networks through only compromised credentials.
  • Updating RMM Software: Third-party vendors need to constantly update their own systems which MSPs can pass down those updates to clients and themselves.
  • Secure RDP: Remote Desktop Protocol refers to the native remote administration tool in Windows. Many ransomware attacks in the past have been successful through this tool. Securing the RDP will mitigate that entry point for hackers.

An MSP Must Be Protected

To ensure safety, MSPs should have these measures in place. Furthermore, an MSP creating offsite backups can provide a higher level of security and assure faster responses to threats and recovery than before.

As an MSP owner, it’s important to be picky about the software that’s being used and owners should be scanning for vulnerabilities themselves. Beyond this, an MSP having an incident response plan in place can ensure employees and clients remain calm during incidents.

In the end, MSPs can’t prevent every single attack, but putting these measures in place can bolster the countermeasures for any potential threat. A plan is better than having no plan at all.

About MSP Corp

MSP Corp understands you’ve worked hard to build your business and you want to protect it. With a mission to be a world-class business partner for MSP owners across Canada, we actively seek to acquire and partner with owners looking to secure the value of the business they have built and provide a seamless exit process that ensures business continuity and employee and client stability.

Contact us today to learn more about selling your business and maximizing its value.