Losing or having sensitive customer information stolen can have disastrous consequences for a managed services provider (MSP). If your company is subject to a data breach and client credentials are stolen, you could find yourself legally and financially liable. A breach can also be damaging to your reputation, potentially leading to a loss of revenue, reduced customer loyalty, and lower customer retention rates. You may even find that talented staff members decide to leave your organization, or suppliers are reluctant to work with you in the future.
Fortunately, there are steps your MSP can take to safeguard customer data. The following rules for storing credentials can help you establish a robust security strategy capable of protecting your company and your customers in a long-term capacity.
What constitutes sensitive client data?
Sensitive client data can be any number of things, but it generally refers to any customer information that MSPs are tasked with protecting as well as the credentials used to access them. This might include credit card information, medical records, financial reports, and personal details (i.e., home address, phone number, and email address).
MSPs are prime targets for cyberattackers because they usually store confidential information for multiple customers. In many cases, if an individual with malicious intent manages to hack an MSP’s system, they may be able to gain access to the details of hundreds of individuals or businesses, which makes a cyberattack on an MSP particularly lucrative. To help avoid falling victim to such an attack, here are a few key rules for how to best protect credentials and safeguard data.
4 rules to keep in mind when storing credentials
1. Limit access
One of the most effective ways of storing credentials and sensitive material is by operating around the principle of least privilege. This restricts data to a need-to-know basis. In other words, if an employee doesn’t strictly require access to do their job, they are not afforded it.
Employees with malicious intentions are not the only threats—lax security protocols, negligent employees, and/or overworked employees may also be responsible for compromised data. Regardless of how the data is lost, it will likely have a significant impact on your company. Limiting the number of employees and systems that can access sensitive data is the easiest way to protect it.
2. Establish centralized password management
Password protection is a common stumbling block for many companies. This is often due to companies not implementing a strong password policy or not effectively enforcing their existing one. Employees using simple passwords, the same ones for multiple systems, or reusing old ones can create vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can potentially access.
In addition to establishing a strong password policy, it is recommended that MSPs implement a centralized password management system. Password management solutions can help MSPs keep track of passwords, ensuring they are complying with policies and updated as needed to maximize security.
3. Enable antivirus
Managed antivirus protection is an important security measure for safeguarding customer data. An antivirus software solution helps prevent, detect, and remove harmful programs from your devices and workstations. Without it, your system is at risk of falling victim to any number of threats, both known and unknown. While there is a large number of existing malware that could infect a device, new threats are constantly emerging. As such, leveraging an antivirus solution that is able to detect both existing and emerging threats is a key part of storing credentials safely and securely.
4. Stay updated
Many recent security hacks have exploited security holes already known to the targeted company. For example, the WannaCry ransomware attack targeted a security system vulnerability that Windows had patched two months prior. However, because so many users postponed their security updates, they were left unprotected. MSPs that keep their programs current with robust patch management are far less likely to experience a breach than companies that postpone updates.
Secure credential storage with Passportal
If client data protection is important to your MSP—as it should be—then looking for credential storage that is designed to be should be a priority. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through a cloud-based password vault like N-able™ Passportal™ . This tool is a robust password management solution built specifically for MSPs, delivering reporting, auditing, password change automation, privileged client documentation management capabilities, and more.
This solution helps you implement password management best practices, storing credentials in an encrypted password vault. The vault is controlled by role-based permissions and multifactor authentication, helping you adhere to a least-privilege policy with ease. Passportal offers enterprise-grade security built-in from the ground up, making it the ideal solution for storing credentials.
In addition to enhanced security, Passportal offers efficiency. This tool is designed to streamline your technicians’ workload by giving them straightforward access to the client knowledge they need, all via a powerful web-based console. To learn more about how Passportal helps you securely store client credentials, you can access a demo here.