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How to Build a Security Practice Within Your MSP

[SECURITY | 4 MIN READ] Managed services providers looking to build their businesses should invest in their own cybersecurity just as much as their customers’.

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As a managed services provider (MSP), it’s up to you to deliver effective and reliable digital solutions to your customers as they look to grow their businesses. However, as businesses invest in third parties to manage key parts of their IT infrastructure, a growing number of them are looking for their MSPs to take the helm of their cybersecurity policy. Research even suggests that this trend will drive the managed security services provider (MSSP) market to surpass $47 billion by 2023.

Accordingly, MSPs looking to deliver cybersecurity services to their customers should consider what they can do to lay the groundwork to increase their security offerings. From keying into each customer’s specific concerns to familiarizing themselves with the unique data security requirements of heavily regulated industries, you’ll need to be prepared to take your customers’ particular security requirements into account.

However, it’s no longer enough for MSPs to focus on keeping their customers’ digital environments secure. The Department of Homeland Security released an alert in 2018 warning the cyber safety community that bad actors have started targeting MSPs, particularly in the information technology, energy, healthcare, communications, and manufacturing sectors. By breaching the defenses of MSPs, DHS explained that cybercriminals can gain easy access to multiple customer networks in one fell swoop.

This means MSPs need to be just as invested in their own cybersecurity as that of their customers. By building an effective internal cybersecurity practice within your MSP, you’ll be better positioned to deliver effective protection for those who trust you with their own cybersecurity needs.

What is a managed security services provider?

Where an MSP provides a wide range of digital services and tools to businesses so they don’t have to bring them in-house, an MSSP delivers cybersecurity services in particular. As companies become more and more concerned about the rising cost of data breaches and decide to invest further in their cybersecurity, a growing number of MSPs are looking to add MSSP offerings to their product line.

Typically, MSSPs provide services such as firewall protection, intrusion monitoring, VPN offerings, and antivirus services. Some companies may even look to their MSSPs to handle patch management, system upgrades, and other infrastructural changes pertinent to cybersecurity. Depending on their client base, MSSPs can offer services specifically suited to sectors governed by HIPAA, GDPR, and more. And as security becomes more of a concern for companies of all sizes, the role of MSPs and MSSPs will begin to overlap more than ever.

Just as companies are investing in off-site cloud solutions for key portions of their businesses, a growing number are turning to MSPs to handle their secure IT. With the average cost of an SMB data breach approaching $55,000, working with an external partner with security expertise is well worth it to prevent these costs and loss of data.

This is particularly true in the SMB market. While cybersecurity is of the utmost importance with the growing reliance on digital technology in the workplace, having cybersecurity professionals in-house can be cost prohibitive. By partnering with an MSP (or MSSP), these businesses can get the kind of cybersecurity protection typically reserved for dedicated in-house enterprise IT teams.

How to prioritize internal security as a service provider

MSPs planning to offer managed security services should be sure their own cybersecurity strategies have been successfully implemented as they begin working with customers. By staying on top of your own digital environment and successfully warding off potential threats, you’ll be better able to protect customers from bad actors looking to access their networks through your own infrastructure.

To do so, MSPs should standardize cybersecurity best practices internally. For example, staying on top of patches and ensuring your software and hardware are completely up-to-date is a must—as is investing in comprehensive endpoint protection. You should also make an effort to train employees against phishing schemes and social engineering attacks that tempt them with seemingly harmless links. Finally, it’s important to prioritize credential management for both you and your customers.

By taking the necessary precautions to keep your own digital environment secure and investing in the tools required to manage permissions and passwords, you can help reduce the chances that cybercriminals successfully breach your network or your customers’ networks. Thankfully, SolarWinds Passportal can help. With Passportal, MSPs can secure networks with cloud-based, integrated, and automated password protection, helping to ensure hackers are stopped before they can even get started.

 

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