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MSPs Elevate Cyber Security Hygiene for Businesses in Time of Crisis

MSPs can help businesses with cyber hygiene basics; here are 5 ways to minimize threats with foundational cybersecurity.

4 Min Read
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With the rapid, unfortunate spread of COVID-19, we are constantly reminded of the tried-and-true “hygiene best practices” we can all employ to prevent additional infections. One of the things that has crossed my mind, as well as the minds of many of my colleagues, has been, “Gee, shouldn’t we be doing that already?” People are continuously shocked that we have to be reminded to wash our hands–a basic function we all previously thought we did so well.

And that got me thinking: From a cyber security standpoint, do we practice proper “cyber security hygiene?” How can MSPs help businesses master cyber security hygiene basics, especially as employers get creative with work-from-home arrangements?

Here are five things to consider when protecting customer data and brand reputation:

  1. Monitor email attachments: While email scams are certainly not exclusive to the COVID-19 pandemic, it behooves us to be extra scrupulous when we receive any email that looks even the slightest bit suspicious. Often these suspicious emails come with attachments. A simple rule of thumb we can all follow is: Unless a sender told you, in advance, “Hey, I’m going to send you this attachment,” you should avoid opening any attachment you receive in an email without investigating it first. Think about it: Would you open a suspicious package you were not expecting if it was mailed to your front door?

  2. Guard against social engineering within email correspondence: I know … we’ve all been there. Some wealthy prince in some far-away place, who is worth $40 quadrillion, has selected you—yes, you–to be the courier in an elaborate scheme to ex filtrate said riches from the grasp of some evil government entity … and you just want to help. Don’t! I know this should be an “It goes without saying” warning, but replying to suspicious emails is risky. Avoid communicating with unrecognized email addresses, regardless of how realistic the email seems. Also, be sure to avoid clicking on links or buttons in unfamiliar emails.

  3. Assess Wi-Fi connectivity: We want to be connected to the internet every second of every day. We’ve all done it: We’ve settled into our favorite coffee shop’s couch to do an hour or two of work. Predictably, we all did the same thing first: connected to the business’s Wi-Fi. But is it really the business’ Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi spoofing is an easy-to-set-up way for hackers to trick unsuspecting users into thinking they’re tapping into a reputable Wi-Fi connection when they’re really connecting to a malicious device. Hackers can then get all the data they want from these users. Wi-Fi security is paramount, especially for guests at quick serve restaurants and multi-unit businesses looking to create an engaging environment for patrons.

  4. Use multi-factor authentication: It takes only a few seconds to set up, but this simple practice is critical. If an email account, or app on your phone, or anything you log into offers multi-factor authentication, take advantage of it. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) relies on a simple principle: “something you know” and “something you have.” The “something you know” are your user credentials (name and password). The “something you have” is usually your mobile device. It’s difficult for hackers to get hold of the latter, so ensuring you have MFA set up gives you an additional strong layer of security. MFA is especially important to MSPs who are part of a global supply chain and hold reams of sensitive data on hundreds, if not thousands, of customers.

  5. Apply updates and patches: While they can get a touch annoying, patches and updates exist for a reason. Software makers routinely release updates and patches to mitigate identified vulnerabilities, and it’s on us to ensure we accept, and install, them. This type of “hygiene” can save your customers a lot of headaches in the long run.

Final Thoughts

While most, if not all, of the best practices named above seem like “common sense”–just as it’s surprising that we must be reminded of how to properly wash our hands–it’s good to revisit them from time to time. The right partner can ensure your customers’ data, critical accounts and technical well being are safe and secure as the world gets smaller and hackers get smarter. Netsurion provides comprehensive cybersecurity designed for SMBs–delivered by MSPs.

Michael Ohanian is vice president of product management, SIEM, Netsurion.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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