Best practices to protect data, devices, and people

Arne Uppheim 11 Apr 2018

Best practices to follow for SMBs and MSPs.

We’ve discussed why SMBs are such attractive targets to cybercriminals, and what the key vulnerabilities are, but let’s talk now about how to protect these attack surfaces. Once an MSP identifies all the physical and virtual computing devices in their SMB client’s organization, the next step is to secure all the data, as well as the devices, and to put measures in place to protect the SMB’s people.

Safeguarding Data

Data growth is not only affecting enterprises; SMBs are managing a growing amount of data too. Whether they store this data in the cloud, on premise, or on devices it is important to have the appropriate protection in place so you can secure it and recover it in case of a disaster or cyberattack.

  • Content filtering—By blocking access to malicious websites and online distractions, you help keep your clients’ employees safe and productive during their work hours.
  • Email encryption—With the help of end-to-end encryption, the content of your clients’ emails can only be read by the sender and the receiver.
  • Data loss prevention—A data loss prevention solution prevents end users from sharing sensitive data outside the company network by regulating what data they can transfer.
  • Backup and disaster recovery—It is important to have a solid backup and disaster recovery solution in place that can restore operations quickly and easily, at the push of a button.

Securing Devices

The number of devices SMBs use is growing, which is resulting in more gateways for cybercriminals to carry out attacks. Along with continuous monitoring, the following security services will ensure that their devices are protected.

  • Antivirus—One of the most important ways to defend devices within your client’s business is by installing and monitoring antivirus software on all devices, from PCs to mobile phones.
  • Patch management—All software applications and operating systems come with risks and vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can be resolved by installing patches provided by the suppliers and by keeping software up to date at all times.
  • Regular vulnerability scans—A simple vulnerability scan should include the status of antivirus software, password management policies, and software updates.
  • Web server hardening—Proper hardening ensures default configurations are changed and that certain services and displays are disabled.

Protecting People

Admittedly, this component is the hardest to control, but it is vital all the same as 37% of security breaches are attributed to human error. Creating a culture of cybersecurity is essential so that everyone understands that they play a role in the company’s protection. This starts with:

  • Secure authentication—User IDs are an important weak link within every organizational security policy and cybercriminals steal over 1 billion passwords annually. It helps to install a password manager that generates random, strong passwords for each login environment and allows for Single Sign On.
  • Secure remote working—To ensure that employees have a secure connection to company data and applications when working from home or on public Wi-Fi, it is important to provide them with a VPN connection to their company network that encrypts all traffic.
  • Defining enforceable processes and policies—Sit down with your client to define their business processes and security policies. All of the answers should be documented and made available to employees to help them understand that every individual has a vital role in keeping the business safe.
  • Providing security awareness and training—It is crucial to educate your client’s employees on how to defend themselves, for example by creating strong passwords and recognizing phishing emails. Knowledge is key when it comes to cybersecurity, so it is important to provide regular training.

Now is the time to offer these services as an extension of your existing portfolios. By identifying and efficiently delivering the right combination of security services for small and medium business budgets, you can differentiate your business, add new value and revenue, and most importantly, build lasting partnerships with your clients.

Download our whitepaper on the 3 Essential Components of a Managed Security Service for SMBs to learn more about  these solutions.

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