As more small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) become aware of cybersecurity risks, they’re turning to trusted managed service providers (MSPs) for advice and assistance. While MSPs are not the same as managed security service providers (MSSPs), cybersecurity still represents a huge area of growth in the industry.
Many of the services MSPs traditionally offer—such as endpoint monitoring, patching, password management, and 24/7 support—are important parts of a strong cybersecurity posture. By expanding into what we call an MSP+ model, MSPs can provide even more support to help keep their clients, and themselves, secure.
One of the core services any MSP offers is remote monitoring, usually via a remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool. RMM tools have many benefits for MSPs, and RMM can solve break-fix problems. These tools are not only essential to the daily operations of any MSP, but they also bring cybersecurity benefits to clients.
In this post, we’ll cover how to make your RMM a part of your journey to an MSP+ approach with these core functions.
Keep a Close Eye on Endpoints
Organizations own dozens if not hundreds of endpoints—from laptops to mobile phones to servers and more. Each one of these endpoints represents a possible entry point for a hacker to get into corporate systems, install malware, and cause damage.
By remotely monitoring and keeping a close eye on these endpoints, MSPs can support cybersecurity efforts. From network activity to software, remote monitoring with an integrated RMM offers MSPs a 360 degree view of everything happening to a company’s endpoints.
An integrated RMM can also send alerts if security problems are detected. For example, imagine there is an attempt late at night to install malicious software on a client’s machine that is typically only used between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. With endpoint awareness, an RMM can see what was installed, when it was installed, which user account installed the software, and alert the MSP to the unusual behavior.
This is especially important in today’s remote work environment, where organizations must protect devices across varying internet connections, and where employees may be using personal devices such as smartphones for work.
Patch Up Security Holes—and Fast
From major players like Microsoft and Cisco to third-party programs like Apple iTunes, software can be a weak point in an organization’s security defense. When users operate on out of date operating systems or programs, hackers can exploit known vulnerabilities—which is why patch management is so important.
MSPs can help fortify defenses with timely software patching. Remote monitoring via an RMM allows MSPs to keep an eye on endpoints, monitor for software updates, and deploy patches quickly.
Even better, a good RMM will come with scripts for patching automation, which ensures that important patches are never missed. Plus, automated patch management makes technicians’ jobs easier and gives them back time in the day to focus on more pressing IT challenges.
Diagnose and Fix Problems Sooner
You can only fix things you know are broken. Without ongoing monitoring, MSPs and their customers can’t identify problems until there’s a major emergency, like a system outage or total failure. In terms of cybersecurity, this could mean operating with a major vulnerability—and finding out there’s an issue only after a hacker installs ransomware or an employee infects an entire corporate network via a phishing scam.
Remote monitoring empowers MSPs to catch problems while they’re still small and fix them before they can balloon into catastrophe. So, if and when that employee clicks a link or installs software via a phishing email, you can catch the problem and remediate the situation quickly—all from your desk.
See the Full Picture
When it comes to IT and cybersecurity, context matters. If organizations are operating in silos of chaos, it’s easy to miss warning signs and cybersecurity problems.
With the right RMM and integrations, remote monitoring provides MSPs with a watchtower to oversee the entire lay of the land. A dashboard can keep track of a client’s environments, devices, licenses, users, and more. For example, a bird's eye view can reveal if a certain user is downloading unauthorized software, which could present dangers, or if there’s an extra laptop on the network that shouldn’t be there.
RMMs: The Frontline of Security
At the end of the day, ongoing cybersecurity defense requires vigilance. With access to customer systems, tools and technology to keep IT up to date, and additional resources like a SOC at their fingertips, MSPs are well-positioned to help SMBs defend against cyberattackers. It all starts with 24/7 remote monitoring, which can identify numerous risks, shore up areas of vulnerability, and provide a frontline defense against hackers.