There Is No Such Thing as Cyberattack Immunity
The cybersecurity landscape is always evolving, and MSPs are finding themselves under attack. To threat actors, you are the perfect jumping board to a wealth of networks in a variety of industries. Instead of targeting a single network or device, they can target many. Just one successful compromise means they can access everything you can. In a single breach, ransomware could quickly encrypt all your clients’ servers and networks before you even know what’s happening.
Like any other organization, MSPs are not immune to cyberattack. So, staying agile and building a proactive defense is critical in protecting your client’s operations. Safeguarding your own network first means you can focus on serving your client’s needs.
Take the Target Off Your Back
As more threat actors target the MSP market, setting up a solid defense for your IT systems is crucial. MSPs that design a thorough security strategy and invest in a well-thought-out security stack have a real competitive edge over ones that operate under vulnerable circumstances. In fact, organizations often switch providers after their MSPs fail to protect them from cyberattacks. Take the target off your back and protect your organization and your customers’ businesses.
Fighting the threat of cyberattack is an uphill endeavor, but with the right best practices in place, you can level up your security posture and stay out of the crosshairs.
Top 7 Cybersecurity Best Practices
1– Don’t Slack on Basic Cyber Hygiene
Set your business up for success by adopting tried and true cybersecurity hygiene practices. Paired with consistency, they can help ensure the safety of your and your client’s data. This is especially true for the IT world as even one breach could be detrimental to your operations. Here are some examples of cyber hygiene best practices you can implement to strengthen your in-house security:
- Keep your software up to date. Ensure that patching and upgrade activities are completed particularly for firewall and VPN appliances.
- Establish app-based multi-factor authentication (MFA/2FA) for all devices and RMM tools.
- Remove internet-exposed remote desktop services (RDP) services.
- Practice stringent password management including password complexity, rotation, and expiry.
- Fortify physical and environmental security as well as technical. Lock up devices not in use and protect hard drives through encryption.
- Run regular vulnerability assessments against all systems on your network.
Basic IT best practices such as these are critical to keeping you safe against many varieties of cyberthreats.
2– Promote Cybersecurity Awareness & Education
Security is everyone’s responsibility, but your clients will be looking to you as a resource on cybersecurity expertise and best practices. Help them document clear cybersecurity policies fitting for their business and then set out to educate them on how to embrace it. Taking time to provide regular cybersecurity awareness campaigns and training allows employees to:
- Better understand their responsibility for cybersecurity within their day-to-day tasks.
- Realize that cybersecurity affects their own safety at work, not just the interests of their company.
- Become mindful that they could unknowingly pass on or expose sensitive information if not trained and prepared.
- Continue to work safely and efficiently from remote locations.
- Stay vigilant against social engineering tactics, phishing emails, and malicious links and attachments.
Fostering general awareness is the first line of defense. Clients who are aware of their role in maintaining IT security can better protect their business in the long-term. As you continue to mentor your clients, they become more knowledgeable in upkeeping their cybersecurity standards and can help detect subtle changes in behaviors and trends.
3 – Implement a Security Stack with Active Monitoring
Building and maintaining a security stack is one of the most crucial responsibilities IT admins hold. This can be quite an exercise in balance. Employing many diverse cybersecurity tools means you have better end-to-end coverage, but your stack becomes complex and unmanageable – a major security flaw in its own right. After seeing what works in the industry, here is our recommendation for a baseline security stack:
- 24/7 Managed Detection & Response (MDR)
- Anti-virus & Anti-malware Solutions
- Compliance Audits
- DNS Protection
- Email Security
- Firewall / VPN / UTM
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
- Secure Remote Access
Having an effective and streamlined security stack focused on active monitoring is how you can get ahead of potential threat actors. By having security professionals monitor your network for suspicious activity, you can catch on to potentially malicious behavior from the onset. Organizations that can react quickly to the first sign of detection win the unfair fight against advanced cyberthreats.
4 – Establish Regular Backups
Having full backups is integral to any cybersecurity toolkit. In the event of a disaster or emergency, having backups guards you from ransomware attacks in which threat actors attempt to leverage your sensitive data for extortion fees. Key aspects of backup and disaster recovery (BDR) include:
- Scheduling regular backups that are offline and cloud-based.
- Ensuring backups are organized and frequently reviewed.
- Protected with passwords and encryption.
By storing your critical data in offline backups, cloud backups, or on external storage devices that cannot be accessed from a potentially compromised network, you can safely access your data with little to no interruptions to your operations. Backup data must not be accessible for modification or deletion from the primary network.
5 – Implement Strict Account Management
Do not make it easy for threat actors to exploit your user accounts and move laterally in your networks. Nip their actions in the bud by implementing a principle of Zero Trust. This principle works by eliminating the concept of trust from the inherent architecture of your operations. Zero Trust:
- Requires each user and machine authenticate before granting access and need-to-know permissions.
- Segments networks so threat actors can be more easily detained before they further their foothold within your systems.
- Minimalizes exposure of your network’s most sensitive or critical data.
We recommend that you map out the user roles needed to sustain your operations and then attribute the specific permissions each role needs to perform their associated tasks. Perform regular internal reviews of your accounts to revoke excessive permissions or deactivate accounts no longer in use.
6 – Manage IoT Security
We live in the age of internet/cloud-connected devices and ‘smart’ gadgets, buildings, and vehicles. While the Internet of Things (IoT) industry continues to grow, security remains the highest concern. Since IoT devices are often connected to corporate and private networks, personally identifiable information is on the line. If you have IoT devices as part of your workspace, consider the following:
- New ‘smart’ technology is exciting, but safety comes first.
- The nature of IoT devices is to access sensitive information. With surveillance comes all the complications associated with privacy and regulatory laws.
- IoT devices are all part of your business network and thus, potential access points for threat actors.
As we migrate gradually to virtual workforces/spaces and remote access, securing IoT devices will continue to be a challenge for many organizations. Our recommendation is to enforce a structured environment with the proper controls in place so that these hi-tech devices offer more protection than security threats.
7 – Get True MDR for Immediate Incident Response
Cyberthreats are only becoming more sophisticated. As threat actors evolve and fine-tune their methods of attack, you will need to establish efficient incident response measures. The key elements of cybersecurity incident management are:
- Plan & Prepare: Establishing a legitimate MDR service, security awareness, and applying cybersecurity best practices.
- Detect & Report: Monitoring security systems and detecting potential events.
- Assess & Decide: Identifying security incidences in their earliest stage and triaging.
- Respond & Contain: Detaining and eradicating the threat. Preparing to analyze the threat forensically.
- Post-incident Actions: Gathering evidence, preparing post-incident reports, creating lessons learned and continuous improvement processes, and delegating tasks to recover operations (if needed).
During a breach, response time means the difference between business continuity and utter catastrophe. Preparing for a cybersecurity event starts with having an experienced MDR team detect the earliest signs of breach and detaining threats immediately.
Why MSPs Choose Blackpoint
The best end-to-end security is a combination of prevention through cybersecurity best practices and investing in a true Managed Detection & Response (MDR) service that monitors account activity and behavior in real-time. Trust our decades of extensive knowledge in real-world defensive and offensive tactics and contact us to safeguard your business today.