Cybersecurity best practices for MSPs

Cybersecurity best practices for MSPs

90% of managed service providers (MSPs) suffer successful cyberattacks. It means that MSPs must adapt swiftly to protect their clients' diverse environments in this evolving landscape. 

This article explores best practices in cybersecurity, offering guidance for effective security management. Here, we delve into the challenges and strategies that define today's cybersecurity landscape for MSPs.

The cybersecurity landscape for MSPs

MSPs are up against a constantly changing threat landscape in 2023. They also face challenges in protecting diverse customer setups.

Cybersecurity landscape for MSPs

Cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated. Techniques like ransomware, phishing, and social engineering are more common, posing challenges for MSPs.

Adding to these problems, MSPs now manage an increasing number of endpoints, networks, and cloud environments. This growth in attack surfaces makes client systems more vulnerable to infiltration.

Moreover, standardizing security best practices is also a significant hurdle for MSPs. They serve clients with different security maturity levels, leading to complex setups. 

MSPs often need deeper insight into their clients' internal systems. This lack of visibility can make identifying and fixing security issues challenging. Handling multiple clients, they rely on direct, clear alerts rather than checking each client's performance individually.

Resource and talent constraints are another significant issue for MSPs. Balancing growing cybersecurity demands with limited resources is a constant challenge.

Finally, training and education for MSP staff can be inadequate. This makes it hard for them to recognize and react to new cyber threats effectively. To sum up, MSPs must stay flexible and resourceful to handle these complex security challenges.

In 2023 and 2024, MSPs face new trends from the rise of remote work and cloud adoption. These trends expand their responsibilities and make it more difficult to secure diverse client environments. Cyber threats like ransomware and zero-day attacks are increasingly targeting businesses. As IT and operational technology (OT) systems come together and the need for cybersecurity skills and tools increases, we clearly need better protection strategies.

The trends for MSPs

As MSPs navigate these trends, the importance of staying ahead with up-to-date technologies and skilled professionals becomes clear.

Cybersecurity breaches in MSPs

Cybersecurity breaches

1. November 2023 CTS cyberattack impacted UK law firms: in November 2023, CTS, a prominent MSP for law firms in the UK, experienced a severe cyberattack, causing service outages for many law businesses. The details of the attack, including the extent of impact and data access, remained undisclosed.

2. BOLDMOVE malware targeted European Government and African MSP: in October 2022, a China-nexus threat actor used BOLDMOVE malware to exploit a Fortinet FortiOS SSL-VPN vulnerability. The primary targets were a European government and an African MSP.

3. Kaseya's data breach affected the global MSP supply chain: in 2021, Kaseya suffered a supply chain ransomware attack via a vulnerability in its VSA software. This attack affected MSPs and their clients globally, showing the extensive impact of supply chain vulnerabilities. The FBI briefly described it as a supply chain ransomware attack. The ransomware, disguised as a fake software update, spread rapidly, encrypting not only MSPs' systems but also their clients.

MSP best practices for cybersecurity

In the dynamic world of cybersecurity, MSPs play a vital role in protecting clients' IT infrastructure and data. MSPs need a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to maintain their reputation and effectively safeguard clients. This strategy should include proactive measures, continuous monitoring, and swift incident response.

MSP best practices for cybersecurity

It's also vital for MSPs to educate their clients about cybersecurity. Often, they might not understand the significance of cybersecurity services or fully recognize the risks of cyberattacks. That’s why, part of an MSP's job is to help clients understand cybersecurity better and encourage them to be proactive about it.

Strong IAM implementation

Implementing strong identity and access management (IAM) solutions is crucial. It ensures that only authorized individuals access sensitive systems and data. MSPs should use multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts, limit access rights, and regularly review permissions.

Regular vulnerability scanning

Vulnerability scanning is key to identifying potential weaknesses in business software and systems. Timely patching addresses these vulnerabilities, reducing breach risks. Hence, MSPs need to establish and maintain a routine for regular scanning and patching to keep all business systems updated.

Data loss prevention

Data loss prevention (DLP) tools are essential in monitoring and controlling data flows. Just like their name hints, these tools prevent unintentional or intentional data leaks. MSPs should use DLP methods to protect sensitive information like personal data and intellectual property.

Enhanced endpoint security

Endpoints, such as computers and mobile devices, are common cyberattack targets. MSPs must implement security strategies that include antivirus, anti-malware, and patch management. Central management of these services ensures consistent protection across all devices.

Cybersecurity employee training

Educating employees about cybersecurity best practices is crucial. It helps prevent human errors, a major cause of data breaches. MSPs should regularly train their staff on phishing, password security, and social engineering. Plus, creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness in the workplace is key for ongoing protection.

Network segmentation and micro-segmentation

Network segmentation involves dividing networks into smaller, distinct sections. Going a step further, micro-segmentation focuses on isolating individual devices or applications. Both play a crucial role in today's cybersecurity landscape. By implementing network segmentation solutions, MSPs can effectively minimize the impact and reach of cyber attacks, enhancing overall network security.

Incident response planning

Having an incident response plan is crucial for MSPs. These plans detail actions to take during a cyberattack. MSPs should develop, test, and refine these plans to ensure effective response and mitigation of security incidents.

Security posture assessment

Regularly assessing the MSP cybersecurity posture is about evaluating and improving current security measures. MSPs should conduct these assessments routinely to stay ahead of new threats and update their security strategies as needed.

Collaboration with expert cybersecurity firms

MSPs gain significant advantages by partnering with specialized cybersecurity firms. These companies offer expert guidance and support with complex security projects, other services, and training and resources for MSP staff.

Scalability and flexibility in cybersecurity

As managed service providers (MSPs) grow and take on more clients, scaling their cybersecurity practices becomes a key focus. They must balance security measures with efficiency, ensuring their security infrastructure meets increasing business demands. 

How to scale MSP cybersecurity

Here are essential strategies for MSPs to scale their cybersecurity effectively:

  • Embrace SaaS-based security solutions: cloud-based security strategies adapt to the MSPs' growing needs. They eliminate the need for physical infrastructure, easing deployment and maintenance.

  • Establish clear security roles and responsibilities: clearly defining roles ensures effective task distribution and accountability in cybersecurity. It helps maintain security standards as the managed service provider grows.

  • Continuously monitor and adapt: in real-time, continuous monitoring tools detect and address threats. This proactive stance keeps MSPs ahead of emerging cyber threats.

  • Regularly assess and refine security policies: regular assessments of security posture help identify improvement areas. Adapting policies and procedures keep pace with evolving threats and best practices.

How NordLayer can assist MSPs in cybersecurity

If MSPs need a trustworthy cybersecurity partner, NordLayer is a great option. It provides a full range of solutions to protect networks and cloud resources. NordLayer is also easy to use and effective, helping businesses stay safe from online threats. It enhances cybersecurity for MSPs with these key methods:

  1. Network & resource access management: NordLayer applies Zero Trust principles for secure access to cloud and on-premise resources. It ensures fast access through encrypted tunnels and network segmentation, allowing authorized users exclusive access.

  2. Internet access security: the platform uses advanced encryption to protect data exchanges. It safeguards business data, supports global operations, and maintains privacy. Additionally, it blocks harmful websites and offers web content filtering.

  3. Compliance management: NordLayer helps MSPs meet compliance standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS. It offers high-level IT security management and ensures data processing compliance, which is particularly beneficial for healthcare providers.

  4. Simplicity & flexibility: the platform’s clear interface makes adding teams from around the world easy. The Service Management Portal streamlines client onboarding and team organization for MSPs. The platform adjusts to suit each company's or team's specific requirements.

Case study: TEKRiSQ

TEKRiSQ, a unique managed service provider, performs rapid risk assessments and delivers quick solutions. NordLayer's simple onboarding process for secure remote network access aligns well with their business and service objectives. Even for non-technical users, the setup is easy and takes only a few seconds.

TEKRiSQ values NordLayer for its activity reporting, which is essential for monitoring client system usage. This feature helps enforce service use when necessary. Additionally, NordLayer's extra security layers, like dedicated IP for network protection, are vital yet often unnoticed by clients. These measures enhance business security beyond standard firewalls or VPNs.

Would you like to deliver superior, quickly deployable, and user-friendly strategies to your clients? Join us as a NordLayer partner.

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