Guest Column | November 3, 2016

3 Best Practices For Securing Customer Data At Multiple Locations

Chris Crellin Intronis

By Chris Crellin, Senior Director, Product Management for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda

For customers operating from a single location, protecting data, applications, and IT infrastructure can be fairly simple and straightforward. Yet, when a customer has multiple locations, branch offices, or remote workers, data protection and cybersecurity can begin to pose a significant challenge — one savvy MSPs can expertly address when they put the right tools in place and adopt the following best practices for ensuring data security at multiple locations.

Secure Each Location With A Firewall

Threats to cybersecurity are everywhere, and firewalls are the customer’s first line of defense. A next-generation firewall, for example, offers capabilities such as advanced threat detection which provides greater protection against zero-day attacks, ransomware, and other existing and emerging cyber threats.

Customers may also require a VPN, especially if some or all of their system resources are located on premise. When all resources are in the cloud, a VPN isn’t as crucial because employees are accessing their data and applications through the cloud instead of the customer’s internal network.

It’s also important to remember that, regardless of whether your customer is leveraging a firewall, a VPN, or both, security features should be kept up to date. This includes the firewall, intrusion protection, e-mail security, and VPN capabilities — all which come standard in a true next-generation firewall.

Protect And Educate Remote Employees

It is important employees accessing data and applications remotely via the cloud from a branch, home office, or on the road benefit from the same level of protection as those working on premise. Furthermore, it’s essential you keep an eye out for devices that aren’t completely under your control and may be accessing the same network.

Start by making sure all devices connecting to the customer’s network, including smart phones and tablets, are protected by mobile device management (MDM) software. Next, educate your customer’s employees on how to use these devices safely. Be sure to clearly identify approved websites and applications, as well as those they shouldn’t be accessing when connected to the corporate network. Other factors to consider include password management, the types of devices that will be supported, and whether the device can be remotely wiped if lost or stolen. This is where BYOD policies come into play, and they should be comprehensive enough to include any and all necessary rules and precautions employees should be adhering to.

One final consideration is the regular review of the security standards associated with cloud applications. Work with your customers to identify standards they want their employees to follow. This includes password policies that can help prevent breaches that could expose the business to data loss or theft.

Backup Locally

Keep in mind that remote and branch offices require the same level of protection as the main office. As such, data and applications should be backed up locally and in the cloud to ensure maximum protection and promote a quick restore in the event that data is lost or stolen.

Furthermore, it is also important to back up mobile devices and applications used by the customer’s employees. When users are working from a phone or tablet, it has been shown they are less likely to investigate e-mail attachments or links. This false sense of security can leave their devices — and the customer’s network — vulnerable to malware and other viruses. By backing up apps on employees’ mobile devices, you can provide your customers with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if one or more of their devices is compromised, critical data and information can quickly be restored.

For MSPs with customers operating at more than one location or who have employees that work remotely, utilizing these best practices is essential to protecting data, applications, and IT infrastructure. While it may seem challenging at first, once you develop a plan of action you will gain the confidence needed to not only protect your current customers but grow your business by taking on new ones with similar needs and requirements.

Chris Crellin is Senior Director of Product Management for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for leading product strategy and management.