7 Critical Ways MSPs Can Improve Cybersecurity
What you don’t know can, and will, hurt you. Cybersecurity is now at the forefront of business IT needs. If you ignore it, it won’t go away, and even worse, your customers will look elsewhere to get the services they need if you’re not providing them. It’s time to face the music. I recently sat down to chat with Chris Loehr, Executive Vice President of Solis Security, who specializes in cybersecurity incident response.
Chris has experience conducting forensic work on cyberattacks. He works with MSPs day in and day out and sees first-hand the mistakes commonly made all the time. Here are the tips he shared with us on how to wise up about cybersecurity:
1. Know Your Power
Your tools, specifically your remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool, are extremely powerful. While it can be used for the purpose it was intended, allowing you to work on multiple machines at the same time, it can also be used maliciously to attack several companies at once. This makes MSPs an ideal target for attackers to gain access to an entire database in a relatively short amount of time vs. attacking companies individually. And unfortunately, in some cases, businesses never recover. You need to ensure that your RMM is secure.
2. Don’t Blindly Trust Your Providers
You should hold yourself responsible and perform due diligence on your key vendors/service providers. Your customers trust you. The vendors you work with are an extension of you and the services you provide. Ensuring that your vendors are doing the right things makes it easier for you to also do right by your customers. You need to educate your customers on what threats could impact them, what you do or do not cover, and provide the appropriate solutions. In doing so, you can be the trusted service provider they believe you are. And in the long run, this level of earned trust translates directly to customer retention.
3. Invest the Time to Truly Know Your Customers
When disaster strikes should not be the time that you’re learning about your customers and their operations. You need to know ahead of time what the critical applications/files are that need to be backed up. They might not be the obvious applications. Too often after disaster strikes, you find out you didn’t back up something essential to the customers’ business because you didn’t know about it or its importance. A business impact assessment (BIA) should be performed annually for each monthly recurring revenue (MRR) customer.
4. Give Your Best Customers Some Love
When disaster strikes, the best customers usually will be the most upset and most willing to pursue legal action. Even though everything appears to be going great, you don’t know what may be happening behind the scenes. Having crucial conversations with decision makers is key to your ongoing success. Ensure these conversations include topics around cybersecurity to help protect them, as well as yourself.
5. Don’t Be Cybersecurity Insurance Ignorant
Cybersecurity coverage is not the same as an auto insurance or health insurance policy. Filing a claim does not make your premiums go up. Be especially careful when deciding what coverages to waive. To get lower premiums, companies sometimes waive cyberextortion coverage. However, this type of coverage pays for a ransom, should you be in a situation to require one. Even though you might have enough money in the bank to pay it, keep in mind that you are still responsible for operational expenses as well (like payroll).
Doing a risk assessment is helpful to understand where you and your customers stand and in the future could also become a tool for the insurance industry to help underwrite policies.
6. Realize That Your Contracts Aren’t a Magic Shield
This is the biggest weakness of many MSPs. Anyone can sue you regardless of your contract. You need to know when certain scenarios will negate your liability limitations. Often, MSPs rely on only one attorney to assist in creating their contracts. It’s always best to have a second option. We highly advise getting a litigation attorney to look at your contracts. Also, take into consideration different state laws if you operate in more than one state and how that impacts your contracts.
7. Prepare for a Disaster
As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” Not planning for a disaster could quite literally put you out of business or set you back a couple of years. Your backup solution is the ultimate piece that will save your business. It has to be more than rock solid. Test it and test it again. Backing up data is the first step but being able to restore from the back up is the true measure of success. The worst-case scenario is to have to tell your customer that you lost all the files that were previously backed up. A one size fits all backup solution might not work for each customer.
John Ford is chief information security officer at ConnectWise. Read more ConnectWise guest blogs here.