How MSPs Avoid Being a Third-Party Threat
Recent media coverage of high profile cyber attacks has not given third party vendors the best reputation lately. In numerous cases, hackers were able to obtain login credentials from third party users and install malicious malware that cost the enterprises they had partnered with hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
Not only that, the failures on the part of these third party vendors cost these enterprises their reputation, making it hard to fully bounce back from such a large-scale breach. A recent study found that for 76 percent of the investigated breaches, third party members were the root cause of a vulnerability that hackers were ultimately able to exploit. Breaches could even give hackers access to cloud-based file sharing.
So as an MSP with legitimate access to a client’s network, how can you ensure that you aren’t a threat to your partner’s critical information? And how can you make them feel comfortable partnering with you?
Define policies between enterprise, vendor and MSP. Nothing facilitates a good business relationship more than good communication and clear-cut, policies on accountability, boundaries, and expectations. Both parties should make sure that policies are strictly enforced and understood to avoid finger-pointing and gaps in security.
After specific language detailing what information MSPs are allowed to access and use is stated, they should then understand how they will be analyzed, monitored and documented for mitigation. When a MSPs is open to regular performance reviews and monitoring, the level of trust and confidence on the business relationship increases significantly.
Define internal policies between among the MSPs. Nothing is more frustrating than when you are blamed for someone else’s inappropriate behaviors. Even if you aren’t behaving maliciously inside a company server, a fellow MSP could be partaking in deceptive acts or practices that lead to data loss.
Effective risk assessment plans should be put in place to determine whether everyone is participating in MSP best practices. Guidelines should be set that enforce safe password use, disclosure policies, monitoring, and revoking access once a job is done. Get rid of data that you no longer need, partake in good computer hygiene, and limit access where it is needed and assign a ticket number to distinguish one employee from the other. Random reviews to see if MSPs are adhering to their own policies can keep employees from straying from the rules.
Stay up-to-date. The threat landscape is always changing and attackers are also shifting their tactics as they become more advanced, determined, and educated on how to spot vulnerabilities. Although it’s a job that never ends, staying in the loop about new technology and software will help you stay resilient.
Always complete software updates, firewalls, fixes and security patches and secure all devices connected to the Internet, including your router. External devices can contain viruses and malware. Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system can protect you against these threats.
Be vigilant and aware. In fear of getting blamed, MSPs might not want to report spotted unusual activity, but they absolutely should. You could be helping to prevent a massive breach for all you know. Being vigilant and mindful about the information you are receiving and giving away is extremely important. Cyber criminals are paying attention to everything from password recovery hints to extraneous information they are receiving about you in order to craft targeted, highly deceitful phishing attacks.
Awareness, education and proper resources are the keys to staying secure online. By being a second set of eyes, MSPs can improve the security of their clients, not just maintain it, while keeping their data and reputation secure as well. What else can MSPs do to ensure they’re not a high risk to partner with? Leave a comment in the section below.