Chris Swagler | July 28th, 2022

Improved internal security practices are necessary given the numerous cyberattacks targeting Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Fortunately, there are many ways in which MSPs can secure their business operations. MSPs have emphasized to their clients how important it is to implement cybersecurity measures safeguarding critical operations and data. However, when MSPs are solely concerned with their clients, they occasionally forget about internal security. One example of this is an MSP out of Connecticut that experienced a data breach back in 2019.

Following the data breach, New England Systems Inc. (NSI) hired a security company to review its internal processes. The audit resulted in a joint venture and various improvements. NSI and the security company merged to form a cohesive organization that works with MSPs to ensure the security of their data and systems. The goal of the joint security assessments is to find vulnerabilities MSPs frequently overlook, including whether former employees or clients still have access to an MSP’s systems. Getting MSPs on board, however, can be challenging.

MSPs have numerous options for enhancing their internal security. Here are a few cybersecurity measures MSPs can take.

Adopt a Cybersecurity Framework

Internal security improvement can be guided by an established framework. NSI decided to adhere to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework out of all the frameworks that were offered. NIST had been used by NSI to conduct vulnerability assessments for clients prior to its breach, however, it had not been used internally. To determine who had access to what, there wasn’t much of an internal framework. A comprehensive pre-breach security assessment is required to harden this framework and must include asset inventory and efficiency checks.

Develop An Incident Response (IR) Plan

It is important to create a training program with the help of the security company to teach sales and engineering teams how to respond to cybersecurity issues. One consideration is designating certain employees as “incident commanders” who serve as the focal point for the incident response process. They follow the same standard procedures for years and continue to emphasize based on incidents. Threat actors want access to the business-critical data available through MSPs and work continuously to get it. Building a rigorous IR plan ensures the proper systems, resources, and communication channels are in place so your team, not the threat actors, remains in control. An efficient and strong IR plan will lessen the likelihood of experiencing devastating losses because of an incident.

Evaluate Security Tools and Skills

Maintaining an optimal cybersecurity posture requires a certain stack of tools and an experienced team. It can be easy for an MSP to accumulate dozens of security software systems thinking it equates to a stronger defense; this is not necessarily the case. Whatever security tools are in place, every MSP should employ a Security Operations Center (SOC) staff of certified engineers who are managing and monitoring these tools, as well as all network activity, on a 24x7x365 basis. While there is no panacea to the problem of ransomware, MSPs should certainly consult with cybersecurity professionals to ensure the staff and tools are in place to lessen the chances and impact of an attack.

One of the largest hurdles in adopting new cybersecurity measures is getting employees to change their behaviors. It takes a lot of time to develop new habits. Even though it may be an inconvenience, doing so is necessary.

It’s also important for managed service providers and their clients to remain alert to the current threat landscape and implement measures to improve internal security infrastructure. At SpearTip, we help MSPs upsell their security offerings by incorporating our pre-breach risk services into their current catalog. Our certified engineers have extensive experience responding to thousands of security incidents to improve their clients’ operational, procedural, and technical control gaps based on security standards. SpearTip offers an all-in-one cybersecurity solution that allows MSPs to focus on their clients’ core IT objectives while providing protection against malicious threats. ShadowSpear, our cutting-edge detection and response platform, is built to assist MSPs in protecting their clients and detecting sophisticated unknown and advanced threats with comprehensive insights through visualizations.

If your company is experiencing a breach, call our Security Operations Centers at 833.997.7327 to speak directly with an engineer.