Remote monitoring and management tools, more commonly known as RMMs, offer an efficient way to secure your business’s systems. RMMs help you keep tabs on hardware and software systems, detect unusual activity, and prevent costly security breaches.
However, RMMs also pose a cybersecurity risk. The operations you have access to as a managed service provider (MSP) could be a prime target for mishaps and malicious breaches. So, adopting a series of RMM best practices can help ensure your remote access protocols are as secure as possible.
- Prioritize patch testing
- Keep your software up-to-date
- Take security seriously
- Check reports regularly
- Take your RMM to the next level
Also read: Top Security Products & Services for MSPs
Prioritize patch testing
Every MSP has its own way of navigating remote access and patch deployment. If you’re new to the MSP scene, try experimenting with a standard set of protocols. Once you find a process that works, re-evaluate it periodically to look for any potential weaknesses.
An example of your basic patch management process could be:
- Run standard rediscovery on all systems, and determine risk levels based on patch category.
- Set a routine to automate patch deployment, prioritizing security patches over performance patches.
- Test your patches to ensure there are no bugs.
- Examine your processes and patch data to determine if there is any room for improvement next time.
Patch testing is a crucial component of this process, even if it’s overlooked by some IT departments and MSPs.
“One of the best practices for MSPs is to test patches before you deploy them,” said Max Benz, founder and CEO of remote-job.net. “This way, you can ensure that the patch does not cause any negative effects on your clients’ systems.”
Having set, organized protocols is incredibly important for efficiency and error detection in patch management.
Keep your software up-to-date
As an MSP, chances are you’re using a lot of software tools on a daily basis. It’s often overlooked, but one of the biggest things you can do to bolster your system security is to ensure all of your software is up to date and bug-free. Subscribe to email updates and newsletters to ensure you’re using the latest, most secure versions of software available.
Take security seriously
In addition to updating software, you should adopt publicly trusted CA signed certificates and use multi-factor authentication (MFA) with all of your logins. Configuring firewalls to allow only necessary traffic is another important tip. This might take a bit of time to set up in the beginning, but it’ll be well worth it long-term.
Although it seems obvious, be sure to avoid using generic usernames and passwords. And above all, protect your login credentials with an encrypted password manager. Under no circumstances should your team be resetting passwords over the phone, sharing user accounts, or asking other users for access information.
Implementing anti-spoofing measures, fully patching all of your computers, and using VLANs to separate traffic will also take you a long way.
Read more security tips: 10 Basic Cybersecurity Practices Every Small Business Owner Should Know
Check reports regularly
When you monitor system reports frequently, you’ll gain a better overview of your processes and be able to detect inefficiencies more rapidly. Most RMM solutions allow you to customize your reports with different details and update frequencies. This will ensure you always have access to the right information at the right time.
Sharing these reports about patch management history, category, and resolution times with your clients is also a must. MSP-client partnerships are built on trust, so it’s important to keep your clients in the loop as you construct long-term relationships.
Take your RMM to the next level
In 2019, 62% of small and medium-sized enterprises reported lacking the in-house IT know-how to effectively handle cybersecurity concerns. And each day small businesses outsource more and more of their tech-related work. It’s up to MSPs like you to help fill in the gaps.
Adopting good RMM practices from the start is key to building a solid company reputation and gaining more confidence in your work. As an MSP, your willingness to adapt while delivering consistent service and maintaining transparency will certainly make you a more reliable partner in the eyes of your clients.