Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are finally ready to shift to the cloud. In fact, 86% of MSPs are adopting the cloud at some level. The primary driver is an 18% increase in process efficiency. However, the shift to the cloud has required many MSPs to reevaluate their security strategy since securing the cloud is a whole new ball game. The good news is bolstering cloud security doesn’t have to be overly complicated. So, let’s discuss how to build out your cloud security offering as an MSP.
Key Components to Include in Your Cloud Security Offering
Over the last few years, hackers have realized the easiest way around an organization’s security is to exploit the weakest link: the human factor. After all, in this day and age, a user’s identity is the key to accessing company data. Poor security choices in combination with cunning threat actors have made the user identity the number one attack vector, so it’s crucial for MSPs to offer tools that can strengthen identity security. Ideally, an MSP’s toolset provides the ability to enforce MFA on applications and systems, complex passwords, and SSH key authentication wherever possible. MSPs should also leverage a central, authoritative identity provider that enables centralized control over user access to all IT resources including systems, applications, networks, and file storage. This makes it quick and simple to make a change like updating a user’s compromised password, for example, and have that change proliferate across all of the user’s IT resources. An identity provider that integrates with all IT resources also makes it possible to eliminate shadow IT. MSP admins can finally have the control they need to ensure their clients are secure, and more importantly, that their client’s data is secure.
Identities may be the number one attack vector, but almost all of a user’s work is completed using their system. Yes, systems are an on-prem tool, but they often hold passwords and keys to confidential company data that is in the cloud. Hence, system security needs to be part of an MSP’s cloud security offering as well. Agent-based system management solutions are particularly ideal for MSPs as it allows them to remotely and quickly enforce security policies and execute tasks. It’s also highly recommended that MSPs secure their client’s systems using the following: full disk encryption, data loss prevention, patch management, firewalls, access control, anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-phishing software, and system MFA if possible.
Another important vector to protect is network access, and these days, most organizations are leveraging wireless networks. One of the most common methods to secure access to the network is to use a shared SSID and passphrase that every employee uses to access the WiFi. However, this is not only insecure but it’s also inefficient. Users who no longer need access to the company network are often still able to gain entrance (think contractors, guests, or ex-employees). When the passphrase is changed, every employee will have to enter in the new one whenever their current WiFi session expires.
Alternatively, MSPs could include cloud RADIUS as part of their cloud security offering. This enables client’s users to leverage their own unique credentials to access the network. This significantly increases security and efficiency. An MSP admin will know precisely who has access to the network and who doesn’t. When a user no longer needs access, an MSP IT admin can deprovision that one user without disrupting the whole office.
Application Access Security
Next, MSPs should take a look at their application security. Again, a central identity management solution is paramount, and it needs to be able to support all of the applications used in an environment. Otherwise some applications will remain outside an MSP’s control, making it easy for users to disregard best security practices in favor of convenience. Additionally, when a user leaves, MSPs will have no way to make sure the user no longer has access to company data. So, one of the biggests steps MSPs can take in increasing application security is to utilize an identity provider that can support on-prem and web-based applications. Since MFA could have prevented about 80% of breaches that have occurred, MFA shouldn’t just be part of identity and system security, but should also be included in the authentication process for accessing applications.
All of the security measures aforementioned are rather difficult to implement if the right directory service is not in place. Since a directory service is the hub for authenticating and authorizing users to their resources, there are a few crucial components that it needs in order to work effectively for most modern IT organizations.
One, MSPs would be wise to choose a directory service that can natively support all of their clients’ IT resources regardless of location, platform, protocol, and provider. Doing so will reduce the headache in ensuring user identities are secure and that access to systems, WiFi, applications, and file storage is secure. Next, identity security features like MFA, password complexity management, and SSH key management should be built in the identity provider platform, making it easy to centrally enforce these. Finally, a directory service for the cloud era should also be utilizing the most advanced security methods available. For example, it should hash and salt any credentials stored within its services, use data-at-rest encryption, and much more.
The directory services market has been stagnant for a long time, so it wouldn’t be surprising if there were doubts about a directory service existing with all of these capabilities, much less delivered from the cloud. The good news is an entirely cloud-based directory service has recently emerged that can help you build out your cloud security offering as an MSP in the fashion discussed in this post. It’s called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.
How to Build Out Your Cloud Security Offering as an MSP with JumpCloud
JumpCloud is changing the game when it comes to identity management in the cloud era. Our cloud-based directory service enables organizations to completely eliminate their on-prem IAM hardware and software, and it supports virtually all IT resources. Systems (Mac, Linux, and Windows), LDAP and SAML based applications, file storage, and wired and WiFi networks are some of the resources MSPs can integrate with JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service. JumpCloud’s independent approach enables organizations to elevate their cloud security offering without sacrificing ease of use and speed.
Centralized User Management
JumpCloud simplifies implementing strong identity security across all of your clients. You’ll be able to enforce complex passwords and the use of MFA and SSH key authentication (where applicable) across an entire environment, for every client, from one pane of glass. What’s more, the recently released Multi-Tenant Portal provides a centralized location to manage all of your clients using JumpCloud Not only does this improve efficiency, but MSPs can easily secure and control all resources used to create work product.
Cross-platform System Management
JumpCloud also offers deep system management capabilities for Linux, Mac, and Windows systems. MSPs can use Policies to remotely dictate system behavior in bulk or on an individual basis. All MSPs have to do is point and click to set policies like whether or not users have access to system settings or whether or not full disk encryption is enabled. MSPs also have the option to manage systems using JumpCloud Commands. MSPs who know how to write scripts can use this function to remotely execute tasks across any number of systems including system OS updates and other patches. Additionally, MSPs can lock down Mac and Linux systems even further by leveraging JumpCloud’s system MFA.
Next, MSPs can use JumpCloud RADIUS-as-a-Service to bolster and optimize their clients’ WiFi security. The best part is, MSPs don’t have to concern themselves with all the work that comes with managing a RADIUS server. Instead, JumpCloud takes care of the security, maintenance, and configuration. MSPs and their clients can enjoy a secure wireless network. Additionally, not only do users each gain their own unique credentials to access the WiFi network, but their credentials will also be the same ones they use to access their systems, apps, and file storage.
In addition to identity, system and WiFi security, JumpCloud can help MSPs with application access security as well. MSPs can increase security for applications that are accessed via the user portal by implementing MFA on the user portal. Additionally, MSPs no longer have to chase down what users have access to. Instead, every application is tied to a single identity. This means MSPs can have full control over the applications users are leveraging while clients can rest assured that users are securely deprovisioned from all IT resources when the time comes.
JumpCloud takes security very seriously, and has taken many steps to ensure your data is well-protected and managed. Among these steps are the following: all data is encrypted at rest and in flight; any passwords managed in JumpCloud are one-way hashed and salted; access to data is only provided to key personnel with a documented and verified business need; JumpCloud regularly participates in training, patching, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and third-party security audits. These are just some of JumpCloud’s security layers, and you can find out more about JumpCloud Security here.
Building out your cloud security offering as an MSP doesn’t have to be difficult or cumbersome when your strategy includes an effective cloud identity management solution. A comprehensive cloud directory service for the modern era will not make you choose between security or speed. Instead, it will enhance your cloud security offering, while maximizing efficiency gains and increasing the value that you can deliver to your clients.
Discover More About the JumpCloud Partner Program
If you are interested in learning more about how to build out your cloud security offering as an MSP using JumpCloud, consider registering for our weekly introductory webinar. The video playlist above is also a great place to gain familiarity with the JumpCloud Partner Program, learn about the Multi-Tenant Portal, and hear from our MSP customers. If you’re ready to become a JumpCloud partner, start by filling out our short application.