What is the most efficient way for managed service providers to keep their clients’ data safe and sound? The short answer is that they use various types of software, apps, and programs to not only prevent threats but to deal with the ones that do end up sneaking in. In general, there are about a dozen common methods that MSPs employ to safeguard data and networks.
Keep in mind that from the managed-service provider’s perspective, it’s essential not only to protect client files and systems but to protect their own. Of all the latest iterations of cybercrime, perhaps ransomware is the most pernicious. The subject is best understood in two related but distinct steps, which are examining the many ways that service providers guard client information and exploring the prevention and eradication of ransomware attacks.
How MSPs Keep Client Networks and Data Secure?
There are dozens of top-notch software solutions that MSPs use to safeguard their own and their client’s data. These MSP tools for security include proprietary programs and packages that get the job done and are geared to suit a company’s unique size, age, and data risks. Speaking in generic terms, these tools fall into the following categories:
- Having endpoint detection and response software: As opposed to an antivirus, which works to prevent threats from entering a system, EDR deals with detecting a threat that makes its way in and responding to it, preferably by destroying it completely and removing all traces of it from the server or individual machine. A competent EDR program can detect suspicious activity, investigate incidents, search for specific data, hunt for threats, and stop the damage from continuing to occur even after it has begun.
- Strict Access Control: AC is about making sure that only designated, approved personnel have access to various parts of the network, and is most often accomplished via security policies. Typically, only devices and users who are known to the system are actually allowed in.
- Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus Systems: Many common viruses and malware threats can delete huge groups of files, alter entries, introduce corrupt programs into the drive, and lead to all sorts of detrimental mischief within the system. Anti-virus and anti-malware agents work to prevent these threats from entering at all.
- Security for Mobile Devices: It’s not enough to secure company machines in order to keep files safe. MSPs also work to implement comprehensive measures to keep employees’ mobile devices as well, which help from allowing threats to enter into a large corporate system.
- Prevention of DDoS: Distributed Denial of Service is a newer form of attack that works by overloading computer networks and forcing them to shut down and/or crash entirely. Tools that prevent DDoS attacks usually operate by checking all entering traffic and filtering out the negative impacts.
- Comprehensive Security for Email: Email is a common entry point for malicious attacks and arrives in the form of unusual links, scam offers, malware, phishing, and more that can easily be clicked on and cause infiltration into the system. Security solutions work to filter out non-essential email messages.
- Effective Firewalls: These gatekeepers can be an excellent first line of defense against attacks and hacks by enclosing a network and protecting it from the entire internet environment.
- Segmented Networks: This technique is borrowed from an effective fire-prevention method that works to segment buildings into sealed sections so that a threat to one area is not a threat to the entire environment.
- Strong SIEM: Security information and event management utilize historical files and real-time monitoring to gain a big-picture view of all security threats and compare incoming data to see what has a high probability of being dangerous.
- Comprehensive Web Security: This tool protects multiple web gateways and limits, to some extent, that amount of internet access workers have.
- App Security: Apps are like email in a way because they are all open to their own set of unique threats and potential lines of attack for hackers.
- Analytics for Behavior Parameters: It’s important for each security system to define what constitutes abnormal activity. Only then can various components of the safety net screen out potentially malicious entrants.
- DLP: There are dozens of data-loss prevention (DLP) techniques, all of which are designed to prevent workers from exposing sensitive corporate information, files, data, messages, photographs, and passwords.
Facing and Preventing Ransomware
When hackers and cyber attackers gain access to your company’s valuable files and systems, they sometimes act boldly and offer to sell them back to you for a price. This ransom, of sorts, is similar to the cash demands of kidnappers. It’s both illegal and hard to eliminate completely. Just think of how many law enforcement agencies and citizen groups work around the clock to safeguard children from nefarious criminals. And with all that, including a special FBI department dedicated to nothing more than the thwarting of kidnapping, the crime still happens.
In the world of sensitive business information, corporate secrets, and proprietary formulas, the stakes are nearly as high, even though human lives are seldom at stake. However, consider some of the more prominent ransomware attacks that successfully extorted billions of dollars from corporations. The threat is real and is one of the main reasons that ransomware protection is a top priority for managed-service providers everywhere. What are MSPs doing to avoid letting their clients or themselves fall victim to an attack? Here are some of the most common strategies currently in use:
- Educating managers and other company personnel
- Backing up valuable files and information on a regular basis
- Taking the time to learn how protective systems work
- Being willing to spend funds wisely on services and products that safeguard networks
- Keep a close eye on everyone’s use of email to prevent unwarranted disclosure of company information
- Be willing to restrict certain file types to limited numbers of employees on a need-to-know basis
- Use MFA, multi-factor-authentication as a layered strategy to keeping files safe
- Regularly remove, inspect, and disable inactive accounts from your system because these can be entryways for malicious programs to enter the system