Guest Column | March 28, 2017

7 Ways To Be Your Clients' Safety Net

Safety Net

By Jeff Bishop, General Manager, ConnectWise Control

If we’re being honest, completely removing security threats would probably take a return to pen and paper. However, you’d be losing out on a ridiculous amount of efficiency and visibility would be a thing of the past. Since your customers rely on mobile devices, cloud services, and automation, it’s up to you to find ways to reduce risks and minimize impact.

Find your way with seven focus areas that help keep your clients as safe as possible.

1.Education Is The Foundation

You have to start from the beginning to get things done right. By building a solid foundation of security education you’ll get the job done, but handing out a 50-page whitepaper isn’t going to cut it. Find an engaging way to let your clients know what’s out there, and keep consistently sending the message. Repetition is key.

Action tip: Offer trainings, send out emails, and get on the phone (or in person) to share reminders and security alerts to keep clients in the know.

2.Build Your Playbook

New clients don’t know what to expect from your onboarding process, so how will they know whether a phone call asking for their password is legitimate or a scam? It’s your job to make sure they know what you will or won’t ask by phone or email, and what email addresses are safe to respond to with company or system information.

Action tip: Set clear guidelines for what you do and what you don’t, so that your clients always know who to trust and when to suspect foul play. Make it clear how they can report suspect activity.

3.Master Password Security

Keeping your clients up to date on password best practices can feel like a big job. Your customers don’t like to keep changing things, and without a technique to create them or a system to manage them, customers resort to a recycled copy of that same tired password just to save hassle. Keep it simple for them, and for you, with a few easy ways to improve password security:

  • Use a six- to eight-character password with uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication if it’s an option.
  • Use different passwords for each site, computer, or application
    • Can’t manage different passwords for everything? At least be sure you’ve got something different on your most important systems than what you’re using on your gaming forums or your kids’ school parent portal.
  • Implement and enforce a password change strategy.
  • Get password management software to help you remember all those differences.
  • Implement a system users can remember. Find a technique that helps them when it’s time to change passwords.

4.Patch It Up

Staying up to date with patching can feel like a hassle, but help your clients remember those patch updates aren’t just random whims. They’re a first line of protection for clients’ valuable data. Keep antivirus and firewall solutions up to date to help keep patching effective.

Action tip: Lessen the hassle by scheduling and automating your patching, and keep a close eye on security updates.

5.Lock It Down

VPNs, firewalls, and antivirus software are an absolute necessity to keep your clients safe. Make sure your clients have them enabled, scheduled to run, and everyone understands their value. Transparency is the key to building lasting trust and keeping customers bought in on the value of your services.

Action tip: Make the value clear by showing your clients what got caught in the protection systems, or how many times a weird IP address tried to access their systems. This will make it clear how much is at risk.

6.Cloud Apps And Backups

So what if a virus does make it through or someone installs ransomware that puts the system at risk? It’s bound to happen at some point, so now your focus is on limiting exposure and educating your customers on an action plan.

Action tip: Rely on cloud services to help you easily backup systems so that you can wipe, restore, and be back up and running in minutes. Take an extra step to make sure they know who and how to contact if something looks out of place.

7.Use The Right Tools

You have a responsibility to help keep clients safe, and you can do that by making sure your tools are prepared to support the effort. Look for things like two-factor authentication, role-based permissions, and encrypted connections. And don’t forget that mobile protections are equally important.

Final action tip: Put together a simple flier for clients to post in the office and an action plan to review things face-to-face every quarter. Help spread the word that no one should be calling for sensitive information, money transfers from Nigerian princes aren’t real, and connecting a USB stick that arrived in the mail isn’t a good idea. Some quick tips to share with your clients include:

  • don’t click on links in emails
  • hover over links to see where they are going
  • look carefully at the reply to email address
  • don’t join a remote support session unless it’s with someone you trust
  • enable file extensions in windows
  • don’t install toolbars with software installs

For more ideas about how to help your clients keep their data safe, subscribe to the ConnectWise Blog.