Preparing Your MSP for Security: Tips from an Expert

On a recent episode of MSP Radio, Joe and I sat down with Brian Downey, Senior Director of Product Management at Continuum, and mastermind about all things cyber security. Following the news of our acquisition of CARVIR and adding a suite of products to Continuum Security, Brian joined us to talk more about the security space and how MSPs can take advantage of the emerging cyber security category.

Keep reading for our key takeaways and tidbits of advice from Brian, and listen to the full episode below!

Cyber Security Then and Now

To set the stage for the modern threat landscape, Brian began by explaining how cyber security has evolved over the years, why security is such a complicated space, and why MSPs need to be paying attention now more than ever.

“One of the more interesting places in all of IT today is security. It’s so fast-moving; we’re seeing different types of attacks—the term cryptojacking, for example—and new attacks that are staying one step ahead of everyone, and it’s creating huge challenges for both the larger-scale enterprises as well as the smaller SMBs.

I think a lot of this is compounded by the fact that [security] is now so much more mainstream. Whether it’s through the election and politics and such, or it’s through some personal experiences people are having where, now all of a sudden, they’ve had money taken out of their account. You can almost compare it to when people stole credit card numbers a while back, getting to a point where people were worried about sharing something as basic as a credit card number. And now, you’re seeing that same sensitivity when it comes to dealing with cyber-types of technologies.

So, the good with that is there’s a heightened sense of sensitivity and awareness. The challenge, though, for MSPs is how do you actually deal with that? How do you go in and try to start accomplishing new things with security? How do you lead your clients to the next level and be able to get them to invest in security? Frankly, it’s a hard enough trying to get someone to invest behind anything, especially something that they feel maybe has been done in the past. They might feel, ‘hey, I thought you were there to secure me?’

So, we’re seeing that landscape changing here as well. I think MSPs need to be comfortable having that conversation now with their clients around how things have changed, and because they’ve changed is the reason why we have new technologies. We want to bring new things to your portfolio so you can start being that thought-leader with them and help them with that question, because it is on the mind of every client that I’m talking to. They know they have the need for increased security, and they’re kind of hungry at this point for someone to help them through it.”

“There’s No Silver Bullet to Security, and That’s What Makes It so Hard.”

Brian then goes on to discuss some of the major security challenges facing MSPs, including that threats are ever evolving and there’s no way to be 100 percent secure. However, he does provide advice on how you can overcome these specific challenges.

"You can start by making sure that you have your arms around some of the foundational stuff. Whether it’s user training, whether it’s all these things that have become the basic, time-tested way to address security.

It’s kind of like if you’re worried about someone breaking into your house. The first step is to just locking your doors. Don’t invest in alarms, don’t invest in a security system. Just lock your doors—that’s the first thing you should be doing. 

From there, it starts getting into developing a strategy, both for yourself and for your clients. What are the right pieces of the equation that you need to start adding to provide the right level of security for your clients? And then having really open conversations with clients—making sure that they’re aware of where risks are, what risks they have heightened urgency for, and what are the things that you can provide to help prevent those. It’s an open communication process and effectively building that strategy. Those are the next immediate steps that MSPs need to take to deal with this landscape.”

Want more advice from Brian? Listen to the full episode below:

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