The #1 Way MSPs Can Secure Their Customers

Written by Brandon White on September 8, 2020

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Managed service providers (MSPs) play an important role for their customers — not only do they manage their clients’ IT infrastructure across networks, applications, and devices but they are responsible for keeping their customer’s information secure. 

Due to this great responsibility, MSPs are constantly looking for new ways to protect their customers. But what is the best approach? With hundreds of security tools available today, everything from penetration testing to password auditing to vulnerability scanning, it is easy to be confused on where to start. 

Is anti-virus protection the number one thing that MSPs can do? Or, should MSPs focus on firewall and intrusion detection solutions? Maybe a customer’s remote monitoring and management (RMM) solution has security features built in or there is an endpoint management solution in place? This may be controversial to some because of the sheer number of security tools and approaches in the market, but the truth is that all of these solutions are valuable for MSPs but none of these approaches may be the best way to secure their customers. 

Continue to read this article to learn about today’s biggest security threat and the number one way MSPs can secure their customers.

Today’s #1 Security Threat 

Since the first detection of a computer virus in the early 1970s, cybersecurity threats, and their defenses, have evolved overtime. Viruses and malware no longer pose as major of a threat as they used to (although they still are a threat and we, of course, recommend having anti-virus and anti-malware software installed). These such treats focused on attacking one single computer device. Now, threats have grown to be more complex to target multiple devices and/or multiple networks. 

This leads us to today’s biggest security threat: identity compromises

One theory to support this shift in security threats is that most people implement anti-virus and anti-malware software and many other foundational security solutions such as firewalls. Installing this software on clients’ devices is standard for MSPs. However, the more likely reason we are seeing a rise in identity compromises is that hackers can get “the keys to the kingdom” from a digital perspective far quicker and easier by obtaining somebody’s credentials. Sophisticated hackers are now focused on obtaining the right personal or login credentials to access these “keys.”

How do hackers go about this? The easiest path to obtaining credentials is to trick end users into giving them to you. A variant of social engineering, phishing and spear phishing is the modern path to this breach. Hackers send out hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of phishing emails that ask recipients to reset their passwords or login to their accounts across Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and other popular software services. Unfortunately these types of email scams are an effective way for hackers to get your customers’ personal information. 

Most hackers don’t want to waste their time port knocking or checking for outdated software that they can compromise. Hackers can simply send end users clever emails hoping to get the credentials to their G Suite or Microsoft 365 email account, or better yet, the corporate bank account. 

Most MSPs know that this is a vulnerability for their clients, but it is a challenging problem to solve. There are existing anti-phishing solutions that focus on effectively “cleaning” email or training end users. However, both of these solutions fall short. And when it comes to securing your customers, the consequences are high because one minor mistake can lead to a breach.

So what can MSPs do to effectively secure their customers? 

The #1 Way MSPs Can Secure Customers

Hands down, the best way for MSPs to combat customer security threats is with a cloud directory platform. A cloud directory platform enables end-users to change their credentials (such as passwords) via native apps on their computers, not on a public-facing website. 

Identity compromising attacks, either through social engineering or phishing, have one commonality — they require end users to provide their personal credentials on an external website. In order to prevent these security threats, MSPs must employ approaches that eliminate the action of end users setting or changing their credentials on public sites. 

This new approach is exactly what we are pioneering at JumpCloud with our cloud directory platform

Security is at the forefront of what we are building at JumpCloud. By accessing native apps on macOS and Windows machines, end users simply change their passwords on their own machine — not on a website that could be malicious. This means there is no email link to click on or malicious website to visit. End users just update their password on their machine and it is securely propagated to the services that need to be updated, for example, G Suite, Microsoft 365, their systems and servers, LDAP and RADIUS, and more.

Why MSPs Should Use a Cloud Directory Platform

Customer security. As we have discussed, cyberthreats have evolved over the decades and breaches occur daily. This means MSPs need to be focused on protecting the digital assets of their customers. Protecting customer identities is imperative for MSPs to manage their customers successfully. 

This is accomplished by tightly controlling user access to resources, one-way hashing and salting passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication wherever possible, and JumpCloud’s patented anti-phishing technology prevents the most popular form of identity compromises.

In addition to security benefits, a cloud directory platform is the modern adaptation of traditional Microsoft Active Directory (AD) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). It is a cloud-based service optimized to authenticate, authorize, and manage user access to IT resources across virtually any device type, on any operating system, with any IT or Web-based applications located on-premise or in the cloud.

As a simplified, yet more powerful and economical approach to a user directory, a cloud directory platform changes the game for MSPs. 

Secure Your Customers Now

Are you an MSP looking to keep your customer secure? JumpCloud is here to help! Start by getting a demo of our cloud directory platform today.

Brandon White

Brandon is an enthusiast, solutionist, and JumpCloud’s Technical Evangelist, active in journalism and IT in cities across the US for over 25 years. Pick his brain on Slack in the JumpCloud Lounge:

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