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7 Must-Have Solutions to Prevent Data Loss in a WFH World

Author: Matt Scully, channel chief, Mailprotector

The business world is a much different place than it was a year ago. Unfortunately, many organizations continue to avoid the reality that some things may never return to the “old norm” and keep putting off making decisions around changes to their work environment and IT infrastructure. The move to work from home (WFH) environments is real and presents a unique opportunity for many organizations − even the SMB!

MSPs are working hard to encourage and empower their clients in these situations with cost-effective solutions that lessen business leaders’ angst, boost productivity, and simplify the management of complex IT systems. Workspaces and technology may continue to change, but the value proposition of experienced tech professionals will remain strong and surely rise in this new WFH world.

Cybersecurity is the key differentiator. Those who work from home are rarely as protected from cyberthreats as employees operating inside the corporate firewall. As last-minute state and local workplace shutdowns forced companies to incorporate temporary computer setups, many MSPs, IT departments, and other tech professionals had to compromise somewhat on the defensive side.

Imagine trying to secure numerous systems consisting of personal devices and home networks in 72 hours or less? In some cases, that is the exact situation MSPs found themselves in with time and resource shortages preventing them from locking down everything following standard cybersecurity protocols. Of course, providers typically flagged and implemented tighter controls on those systems and all the other WFH environments in the days, weeks, and months that followed.

Next Steps

Complacency may be the biggest concern for businesses and MSPs today. While it may be months before the pandemic and its ensuing social distancing restrictions lift, organizations and their employees could easily fall into a “status quo” arrangement with work environments and IT user habits. Putting tech investments on hold while waiting out the current crisis could be very detrimental to existing cybersecurity postures.

The great news is MSPs can be the first line of offense for building an effective defense. You have the knowledge, skills, and tools to protect businesses with WFH policies. Regardless of whether your clients commit long-term to a completely remote workforce setup, or simply allow some employees to work from alternate locations, they need your help.

Many business experts suggest that right now is the perfect time for SMBs to rethink and revise to create leaner and meaner (more efficient) operations. That helps explain why MSPs that deliver proven WFH-enabling security solutions to support the remote option are in high demand. How does that stack look for your firm?

1. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): These are the best solutions to ensure secure access to systems and files for employees outside the corporate firewall. VPNs encrypt all traffic, which is critical for those working from home or who frequently travel and log into critical business systems using suspect internet connections.

2. Network/endpoint protection: Every remote worker is an at-risk connection to the business Endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions operate outside the corporate network to stop malware infiltrations and allow MSPs to initiate immediate response actions.

3. Email security: One of the most valued business communications methods is also a significant target of cybercriminals. Not only do remote workers need adequate layers of email security to help prevent incoming attacks from messages laden with malware and phishing schemes, but their employers need to limit what goes out. Email filtering keeps secure data from leaking via email.

4. Secure File Share: Many employees regularly need to share financial and other types of private or sensitive information with co-workers or third parties. In a distributed work environment, those activities can be extremely risky, no matter what their mode of communication. MSPs should provide all their clients, whether in the office or a WFH environment, with the capability of sending large files securely using a secure link or other forms of encryption.

5. Cybersecurity training: With a distributed workforce, more risk determination and decision-making gets put in the hands of remote employees. The lack of corporate perimeters is also allowing malicious actors to take full advantage of the situation using pandemic-related messages as a basis for cyberattacks. Those distractions and the lack of physical supervision are serious concerns for those in charge of remote workers, which is every end-user should be undergoing constant cybersecurity training.

6. Password management and MFA: Whether in a WFH environment or traditional office workplace with access to multiple cloud solutions, credential controls are essential for securing your client’s digital crown jewels. Multi-factor authentication (MFA and 2FA) may include biometric solutions such as facial or fingerprint verification or smartphone/email validation. When combined with a digital password management platform, end-users can securely access their essential business systems like email and CRMs from virtually anywhere.

7. Business Continuity/Backup: Some people believe working from home is the ultimate disaster recovery plan. However, distributing the workforce increases the likelihood of lost data without an effective backup solution and a business continuity plan in place. That includes data and applications on every workstation – including business-related information stored on personal devices. That latter part can get tricky for MSPs who must balance end-user privacy concerns and company needs.

MSPs Can Own the New Work Paradigm

The WFH movement is not going away. If anything, many expect businesses to double down on remote work options to improve efficiency and expand their hiring options. MSPs can aid their clients in these transitions by designing and providing healthy cybersecurity practices to support WFH environments.

Whether setting up and managing your clients’ entire networks and employee ecosystem or co-managing one or more parts of the infrastructure with internal IT teams, remote workforces can be a blessing to your business. Is your MSP up to the challenge?

Use your cybersecurity expertise as a foothold in the WFH movement. Those capabilities create a differentiator that can help you attract new clients, increase recurring revenue, and boost customer satisfaction levels and retention.


Author Matt Scully is channel chief at Mailprotector. Read more guest blogs from Mailprotector here.

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1 Comment

Comment

    Karl Scott:

    Great article, Matt. Thank you for the insights. One item of note is the shift to improve remote access using zero trust solutions. Don’t want to drop buzz words, but organizations such as Zscaler and Palo Alto (and many others) offer solutions to restrict access to resources (applications, servers etc.) including lateral movement. This helps to manage threats such as ransomware and propagation of malware from infected devices connected via VPN. MSPs should look to the zero trust model to reduce remote access risk.

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