Now’s the time to upgrade customer security

Leverage security-centric tools to protect remote workers from opportunistic cybercriminals

by Scott Bennett, Senior Director, MSP Sales, Barracuda MSP

Scott Bennett, Senior Director, MSP Sales at Barracuda MSP

With most of the world sheltering in place, and almost all non-essential businesses and facilities shut down, some people are finding they have more spare time on their hands. While some are using this time to reconnect with family, others are attending to home improvement projects they’ve been putting off. They are re-organizing closets and record collections, learning to knit, playing board games, and checking off books on their “to be read” lists.

For VARs and MSPs, however, things have not necessarily slowed down – clients need your help now more than ever as they deal with the logistics of managing employees that have been forced into remote work scenarios. 

So, while you may not have time to clean out your closet, you should consider upgrading your security offerings during the pandemic to help drive new business. Leveraging security-centric tools will not only provide new revenue streams, it will also help your clients adjust to the “new normal” of working from home in a highly volatile business environment.

Those offerings can include a variety of different tools:

  • Email security is essential no matter where you’re working. However, working from home may make employees less vigilant in evaluating potential phishing emails, and more vulnerable to bad actors trying to take advantage of the pandemic. Tools like Barracuda Sentinel leverage artificial intelligence to analyze email communication patterns and look for anomalies within those patterns. User training and simulation tools can also help educate employees and keep them sharp, even when they may be distracted at home.
  • Cloud and hosted applications are certainly getting a workout during the current crisis. The fact that VAR and MSP employees are also working remotely has made monitoring and management even more complex. Fortunately, there are solutions that help protect cloud-based applications, while also making it easier to support new clients – such as Barracuda’s Web Application Firewall-as-a-Service, which can protect your applications from hackers,  bot and DDoS attacks. Further, with a large number of businesses sending their workforces home, employees must have access to data that sits inside of their corporate network. Barracuda’s CloudGen Firewall can ensure employees have what they need to access their corporate resources by offering remote access options through secure tunnels.
  • Remote monitoring and management helps to ensure the health and safety of employees and clients by reducing the need for on-site help if there’s a failure. With Barracuda Managed Workplace, you can monitor and manage all of your customers’ networks, regardless of where their employees are working from, through a central dashboard. Also, through continuous monitoring and alerting based on service plan policies, you can automate routine tasks, support prompt remediation and deliver multi-layered security services seamlessly for a wide variety of applications and device types. 

While client needs will vary, security can drive new customers and more revenue, while at that same time keeping people and companies safe from bad actors. This topic is top of mind right now, and the guidance and support you provide clients and prospects will help build your company brand, your reputation, and put you in a better position to close more business. 

This is especially important now, as cybercriminals are taking advantage of the chaos created by COVID-19 to increase their attacks. Several health and government agencies have experienced increased attacks, and research from Barracuda Networks found a 667% increase in phishing emails, since February, that leverage coronavirus to fool recipients. 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has also noted an increase in attacks, and published guidance to help employees work from home safely.

Focus on Employees

A key part of supporting clients’ rapidly shifting security needs will be providing ways to enable remote employees to take better control of their security responsibilities. While it’s vital to implement solutions that help protect employees who may be duped into clicking phishing links or attachments, it’s also imperative to educate and empower employees to make smart choices.

Password vulnerability is an ongoing problem. There are tools available like Okta, KeePass, and OneLogin that can provide single sign-on features and password management. Users need to be reminded of the value of a strong password, but they also need tools that ensure their sophisticated (i.e., hard to remember) passwords don’t become an obstacle to productivity.

Additionally, there are tools available that can help prevent users from recycling passwords, for example, or that can provide alerts related to their login credentials. 

Help your clients identify and deploy the right type of password protection to help ensure their employees can easily comply with company policies without compromising password integrity. 

Current events are presenting VARs and MSPs with challenges and opportunities. Upgrading your security offerings to meet your clients’ evolving needs should be at the top of your pandemic to-do list.

Scott Bennett is Senior Director of MSP Sales for Barracuda MSP, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, and he plays a key role in the development and growth of partner relationships.