Securing Cloud Environments: Why MSPs Must Act Now
According to IDG’s Enterprise Cloud Computing Survey, 2016, 70 percent of all organizations now have at least one application in the cloud. The survey predicts that by 2018, less than half of all applications and platforms will preside on premises. Additionally, an average of 28 percent of survey respondents’ IT budgets are dedicated to cloud computing this year.
Your MSP business must respond to the migration to cloud computing with new offerings and services, and one of the biggest issues you must address is how you handle security.
Make Sure Your Security Offerings Are Cloud-Ready
Whether your client is using a public cloud, a private cloud, or a hybrid of both on-premises and cloud computing, their data, applications, and intellectual property can be stored or in transit between a number of servers and data centers. Security solutions you relied on in the past are most likely not the right choice to protect your clients’ systems and data in the cloud. Additionally, industries such as healthcare and finance that have regulatory guidelines for cloud use will need specific solutions to comply with those regulations.
MSPs should take these steps to secure customers that are migrating to the cloud:
- Invest in security solutions that run both on-premises and in the cloud. IT infrastructure will extend from physical, virtual, and cloud environments. Securing this evolving environment will likely be more difficult for your clients to manage without help. MSPs that provide managed security across a business’ entire infrastructure will be poised to grow.
- Optimize performance both on-premises and in the cloud. A common objection you’re likely to hear from customers is that they don’t want to sacrifice performance to get security. Make sure you continue to deliver network reliability and availability through solutions that are designed to meet the demands of each client’s system.
- Take measures to prevent advanced threats like malware and zero-day attacks. Cyberattacks constantly evolve and change. Antivirus or anti-malware software alone is not enough to protect your clients from hacking and potential data loss. Security is best addressed with a layered approach that includes a firewall, threat detection, antivirus, and intrusion detection system/intrusion prevention system (IDS/IPS).
- Protect email and private networks. Don’t overlook any part of a client’s infrastructure — a vulnerability in any part of the network can provide an opportunity for a hacker to infiltrate the entire system.
Provide Security Services
As more of your managed services clients move to the cloud, you should consider adding security services to your offerings. Security services can ease the burden for your clients, especially those without in-house IT resources, and help them become more comfortable and confident with their new cloud infrastructure.
Similar to other managed services, Security-as-a-Service requires establishing an agreement with a client for services such as endpoint security, identity and access management (IAM), intrusion detection/intrusion prevention, and security information and event management (SIEM). The client pays a budget-friendly monthly OPEX fee rather than a large upfront capital expense for a slate of security solutions. Investing in state-of-the-industry solutions that automate monitoring, reporting, and other time-consuming functions will help your business by minimizing the need for labor and maximizing revenue.
You can also add services such as:
- Conduct audits to help your clients understand the path of data and security when data is stored or in transit. If security risks or vulnerabilities are discovered, prioritize and correct them.
- Assist your clients with the development of security policies and best practices, and offer training for their employees.
- Security measures for physical infrastructure. Don’t forget to put physical access controls in place to limit access to infrastructure, as well as to protect it from natural disasters such as fires, floods, and power failure.
- Security and backup and disaster recovery go hand in hand. Tie BDR into security solutions as a way to restore data and ensure business continuity if systems are breached.
With the growth of cloud computing adoption, MSPs need to adapt their businesses to respond to their clients’ changing needs. Evaluate how well you secure your clients’ IT infrastructure, whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud, and look for ways to provide enhanced services that will not only make your clients’ systems and applications more secure, but can help you grow your business.