While technology improves our lives in so many ways, it certainly isn’t free from drawbacks. And one of the biggest drawbacks is the risk of cyberattacks—a risk that’s escalating every day.
To reduce the increasing risk of cyberattacks—to your customers and your MSP business—it’s essential to put protocols in place to strengthen your internal security (we often refer to this as ‘getting your house in order’) and protect your clients. The truth is, your customers automatically assume that security is integrated into the price of their contract. That means you need to educate them on the subject, or risk falling short of their (potentially unrealistic) expectations.
What’s more, this is a prime opportunity to offer additional services—and increase revenue.
“You don’t want to deliver security services and not have the client invest in those services,” explains George Mach, Founder and CEO of Apex IT Group. “It would impact your MSP in a negative way.”
In our Path to Success Security Spotlight, I sat down with George Mach to discuss how you can define, identify, and reduce your level of risk, and boost revenue as a result. Here are just a few of our tips.
Understand Your Risk
The first step to reducing risk and providing Security-as-a-Service is understanding the current state of your MSP’s security.
“If you don’t know your own gaps or have good security hygiene in your own MSP, it’s really hard to deliver world-class security services to your client,” Mach says.
As an MSP, you have access to a wealth of sensitive information about your clients, including their passwords, addresses, and names. As such, it’s crucial that your MSP is fully protected. Even the smallest data breach could cause your clients to lose trust in you—damaging your reputation and costing you their business.
Trust, Train & Protect Your House
To protect your MSP (and by extension, your clients), Mach recommends following three simple steps.
First, make sure that you only hire trustworthy people. Of course, it isn’t always easy to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but there are a few measures you can take to safeguard your organization against harmful presences. During the hiring process, this could include conducting a background check and verifying a candidate’s education and employment history. You can also consider creating new onboarding policies and asking employees to sign agreements that go on file, holding them accountable to specific standards.
Secondly, it’s important to train everyone at your organization about how to detect potential scammers—including staff in non-technical positions. As part of this training, you may also want to conduct a security skills assessment and record that it has taken place. That way, should the worst happen and a client decides to sue following a security breach, you can prove the measures your company took to try and prevent it—helping protect your reputation.
“The goal is to be in a defensible position if something were to happen,” Mach says.
Thirdly, it’s essential to enforce technical, physical, and administrative controls at your organization. Firewalls and endpoint protection are a must. Investing in swipe cards or biometric scanners can also help you strengthen your protection by helping you identify every person who enters your building. And to reduce your legal risk, don’t overlook the importance of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) and business associate agreements (BAAs).
By following these protocols, your company can turn secure protection into a competitive advantage. But that’s only possible if you communicate it properly to your clients.
Throughout conversations with your clients, it’s crucial to gain an understanding of their security priorities and the metrics they use to determine their success. Once you’ve identified these factors, you can establish risk thresholds that are closely aligned with your client’s risk tolerance.
Benchmarking your clients’ level of risk against industry standards and using a weighted scoring system to rank it from high to low can make it easier to communicate the value of your services to them—and the impact you’ll have on their business.
Measure Risk Reduction—Then Market It
You can use two approaches to measure risk reduction.
The quantitative approach, which is more technical, considers a server’s asset value, its exposure factor (which takes into account how often the server is left unattended and whether that server is in a protected environment), and the loss expectancy, which is related to the rate of occurrence of various risks. Taking all these factors into account, you can more accurately price your services—and your clients can make a more informed decision about whether to live with the risk or do something to mitigate it.
The qualitative approach is less complex. It uses available data to calculate the likelihood of a risk. You can then suggest countermeasures to ensure protection.
Whichever approach you choose, explaining your findings and suggested solutions in layman’s terms and backing up your claims with evidence helps to build trust with your clients.
It’s this trust that will persuade clients to invest in your security service—and remain satisfied customers for years to come.
This article was provided by our service partner : Connectwise
https://www.netcal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Padlock-with-Hole-in-it-877x432.jpg432877Conal Mullanhttps://www.netcal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/netcal_logo2.gifConal Mullan2019-08-15 09:40:452019-08-15 09:40:46How MSPs Can Reduce Their Security Risk
It’s time to use the internet to your security advantage. Did you know more than 91% of malware uses DNS to gain command and control, exfiltrate data, or redirect web traffic?
But when internet requests are resolved by a recursive DNS service, they become the perfect place to check for and block malicious or inappropriate domains and IPs. DNS is one of the most valuable sources of data within an organization. It should be mined regularly and cross-referenced against threat intelligence. It’s easier to do than you might think. Security teams that are not monitoring DNS for indications of compromise are missing an important opportunity.
Don’t believe us? New analysis shows widespread DNS protection could save organizations as much as $200 billion in losses every year. Check out the full report The Economic Value of DNS Security,” recently published by the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA). According to their findings, DNS firewalls could prevent between $19 billion and $37 billion in annual losses in the US and between $150 billion and $200 billion in losses globally. That’s a lot of bang for your buck. If organizations around the globe were to make this simple addition to their security stack, the savings could add up into billions of dollars. Translation: an easy way to prevent one-third of total losses due to cybercrime.
About Cisco Umbrella
Cisco Umbrella uses the internet’s infrastructure to stop threats over all ports and protocols before it reaches your endpoints or network. Using statistical and machine learning models to uncover both known and emerging threats, Umbrella proactively blocks connections to malicious destinations at the DNS and IP layers. And because DNS is a protocol used by all devices that connect to the internet, you simply point your DNS to the Umbrella global network, and any device that joins your network is protected. So when your users roam, your network stays secure.
https://www.netcal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019-07-29_0850.png256691Conal Mullanhttps://www.netcal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/netcal_logo2.gifConal Mullan2019-07-29 08:56:402019-07-29 08:56:41DNS Security – Your New Secret Weapon in The Fight Against Cybercrime
Let’s consider the ‘build, buy, partner’ framework for security services, which offers three very different approaches you could take. There is no absolute right or wrong way, only what is best for your business. Explore the pros and cons of each so you can determine the right way for you.
Utilizing this approach means you create/develop the solution with the resources you own, control, or contract to.
You have the requisite skill sets and resources to do it
You can offer security faster, cheaper, and at lower risk
This is a strategic competence you own or want to own
There is strategic knowledge or critical intellectual property to protect
You are fully committed throughout the company
Most product control
Most profit opportunity
Longest time to market
High development cost
The Challenge: Hiring security resources to monitor 24/7 (emphasis on 24/7)
According to PayScale, the average salary for a cybersecurity analyst is $75,924. How much revenue would you need to earn to bring on just one analyst? Security talent is a hot commodity. Even if you can hire them, keeping them on will be a challenge when you’re fighting bigger businesses or one that specializes in cybersecurity who will pay more and offer more benefits.
This approach could also be referred to as ‘acquiring’ where you are seeking to acquire another company that specializes in a particular area (for example cybersecurity or physical security) to get the missing skill set you’re looking for under your umbrella.
Let’s take a look at the requirements needed for this approach courtesy of Strategy of Things.
When to consider this approach:
You don’t have the skills or resources to build, maintain, and support security
There is some or all of a solution in the marketplace and no need to reinvent the wheel
Someone can do it faster, better, and cheaper
You want to focus limited resources in other areas that make more sense
Time is critical, and you want to get to market faster
There is a solution in the marketplace that gives you mostly what you want
Shortened time to market
Acquiring skill sets
Can be costly to acquire
Integration takes time
The Challenge: The MSP M&A market is hot, AND it’s a seller’s market Jim Schleckser, CEO, Inc. CEO Project and author of Great CEOs Are Lazy states in an article on Inc.com, “Many acquisitions fail to live up to their financial or performance expectations because the acquiring company hasn’t done its proper homework.” Take the time to do some serious research on how to take advantage of a seller’s market and find the expertise you need for M&A success. We have a couple of webinars to help you get started:
Strategy of Things gives us insight into this approach. Cybersecurity is a specialized field that many vendors cannot address on their own and must buy or license for their solution.
The company allies itself with a complementary solution or service provider to integrate and offer a joint solution. This option enables both companies to enter a market neither can alone, access to specialized knowledge neither has, and a faster time to market.
Companies consider this approach when neither party has the full offering to get to market on their own.
Shortest time to market
Each party brings specialized knowledge or capabilities, including technology, market access, and credibility
It lowers the cost, time, and risk to pursue new opportunities
Opportunity to learn the skill set before building something of your own
Shared gross margins
Many vendors today offer a lot more flexibility today to make partnering an easy choice. A great example is Perch Security threat detection and response.
No matter where you are in your security journey, Perch enables you to choose your level of involvement:
Fully managed by Perch SOC
If you’re more of a ‘hands-off, I trust you to do your thing’ type of person/company, then you have the freedom to sit back and relax while the Perch team does their thing. They’ll only involve you when absolutely necessary and equip you with the tools to look good in front of the customer while they do all the heavy lifting.
Mostly managed by Perch SOC, your team reviewing or jumping in on specific issues
If you want to be aware on a high level of what’s going on in the world of threat detection but not to the level of fully geeking out, then this level of involvement is right up your alley and 100% possible with the Perch team. Get updates on the things you care about without being inundated with the things you don’t.
Fully manage alerts yourself
If you want to geek out on threat reports side by side with the Perch flock, you’re more than welcome to. If you have a person on your team that’s interested in security but not able to dedicate 100% of their time to it, feel free to carve out a portion of their daily responsibilities to working hand-in-hand with the Perch team. Should things change along the way, and you need more or less involvement, you’re free to leverage the Perch team as needed.
Security isn’t solved by one single tool. It’s an ongoing journey that requires continuous assessment and refinement. Everyone has to start somewhere, but keep in mind that the starting line for you might look different than the starting line for someone else, and that’s okay. Carefully review the options at your disposal and determine which path is best for you.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu
This article was provided by our service partner Connectwise
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Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a vCenter Server update and a patch? Or between an upgrade and a migration? Why don’t some vCenter Server versions align? Keep reading for the answers!
The first thing you should understand is vCenter Server versioning. When reviewing your vCenter Server version’s you may see many different references to versions or builds.
One of the first places you will notice a version identifier, is in our release notes. Here you will see the product version listed as vCenter Server 6.7 Update 2a and the build number listed as 13643870.
Once you have upgraded or deployed your vCenter Server you will see version identifiers such as 18.104.22.168000 listed in the VMware Appliance Management Interface (VAMI). You will also see a build number, such as 13643870.
If you review the version information within your vSphere Client you will see the version listed as 6.7.0 and the build as 13639324.
The reason you will see differing versions among these places are because the release notes show the vCenter Server build and full release name, in the VAMI it will show the vCenter Server Appliance version in addition to the build and in the vSphere Client it will show the vCenter Server version and the build of the vSphere Client.
KB2143838 is a great resource that will explain the breakdown of versioning and builds for all vCenter Server versions.
Now that we have explained the way versioning works, let’s jump into the different scenarios where VMware will increment a version.
vCenter Server Updates and Patches
What is a vCenter Server Update and how does It differ from a patch?
A vCenter Server Update is one that applies to the vCenter Server application. An update can include new features, bug fixes or updates for additional functionality. vCenter Server updates will have a dedicated set of release notes and will be hosted on the my.vmware.com download portal.
A vCenter Server patch is more much streamlined as these are associated with operating system and security level updates. There are no application related changes, and these can target Photon OS, the Postgres DB, Java versions and any other supporting Linux libraries on the vCenter Server Appliance.
A vCenter Server patch also has no dedicated release notes as these are part of the rolled up VMware vCenter Server Appliance Photon OS Security Patches. Patches are also not stored on the my.vmware.com download portal but on the alternate VMware Patch Portal. It is also very important to note as listed in the release notes, these should not be used for any deployment or upgrade. The only reason the vCenter Server ISO’s are hosted on the VMware Patch Portal is to be used to restore your vCenter Server Appliance if using the built-in File-Based Backup. Patches can also only be applied within one and the same update release. So for example if you are currently on 6.7 Update 1 you would not be able to patch directly to 6.7 Update 2b , you would first update to 6.7 Update 2a and then patch to 6.7 Update 2b.
Now that we have explained the differences between a vCenter Server update and patch we can review the differences between an upgrade and migration.
vCenter Server Upgrades and Migrations
In its simplest form a vCenter Server Upgrade is defined as doing a major version change between vCenter Server Appliance versions. If you are running the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 in your environment and move to vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 this would be considered an upgrade.
A vCenter Server migration is defined as doing a major version change between vCenter Server for Windows and the vCenter Server Appliance. If you are running vCenter Server for Windows 6.5 and move to the vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 this would be considered a migration. It is not supported to do a migration between the same major version as it consists of both a change of platform and an upgrade together.
In vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 an upgrade or migration of the vCenter Server is not completed in place. During the upgrade process a brand new appliance of the newer version is deployed, and based on the settings defined the data is exported from the old version and imported into the new one retaining the same FQDN, IP, Certs and UUIDs.
A back-in-time upgrade restriction is when you are unable to upgrade from one 6.5 release to another 6.7 release. For example, Upgrade from vSphere 6.5 Update 2d to vSphere 6.7 Update 1 is not supported due to the back-in-time nature of vSphere 6.7 Update 1. vSphere 6.5 Update 2d contains code and security fixes that are not in vSphere 6.7 Update 1 and might cause regression. When performing vCenter Server upgrades and migrations it’s also very important to pay attention to unsupported upgrade paths which are normally restricted due to being a back-in-time upgrade. It is also important to note that just because two releases might have the same release date, does not mean that they will be compatible. The best resource to review supported upgrade paths will be in the vCenter Server Release Notes section titled Upgrade Notes for this Release.
Versioning of a complex product can be difficult, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of what these numbers mean. If you have any questions feel free to post a comment below or check out any of the resources linked.
This article was provided by our service partner : Vmware
https://www.netcal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/download.jpg225225Conal Mullanhttps://www.netcal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/netcal_logo2.gifConal Mullan2019-07-16 11:26:512019-07-16 11:26:51Decoding the vCenter Server Lifecycle: Update and Versioning Explained
This article gives a short overview of how to create a Microsoft Windows Failover Cluster (WFC) with Windows Server 2019 or 2016. The result will be a two-node cluster with one shared disk and a cluster compute resource (computer object in Active Directory).
It does not matter whether you use physical or virtual machines, just make sure your technology is suitable for Windows clusters. Before you start, make sure you meet the following prerequisites:
Two Windows 2019 machines with the latest updates installed. The machines have at least two network interfaces: one for production traffic, one for cluster traffic. In my example, there are three network interfaces (one additional for iSCSI traffic). I prefer static IP addresses, but you can also use DHCP.
Join both servers to your Microsoft Active Directory domain and make sure that both servers see the shared storage device available in disk management. Don’t bring the disk online yet.
The next step before we can really start is to add the “Failover clustering” feature (Server Manager > add roles and features).
Reboot your server if required. As an alternative, you can also use the following PowerShell command:
After a successful installation, the Failover Cluster Manager appears in the start menu in the Windows Administrative Tools.
After you installed the Failover-Clustering feature, you can bring the shared disk online and format it on one of the servers. Don’t change anything on the second server. On the second server, the disk stays offline.
After a refresh of the disk management, you can see something similar to this:
Server 1 Disk Management (disk status online)
Server 2 Disk Management (disk status offline)
Failover Cluster readiness check
Before we create the cluster, we need to make sure that everything is set up properly. Start the Failover Cluster Manager from the start menu and scroll down to the management section and click Validate Configuration.
Select the two servers for validation.
Run all tests. There is also a description of which solutions Microsoft supports.
After you made sure that every applicable test passed with the status “successful,” you can create the cluster by using the checkbox Create the cluster now using the validated nodes, or you can do that later. If you have errors or warnings, you can use the detailed report by clicking on View Report.
Create the cluster
If you choose to create the cluster by clicking on Create Cluster in the Failover Cluster Manager, you will be prompted again to select the cluster nodes. If you use the Create the cluster now using the validated nodes checkbox from the cluster validation wizard, then you will skip that step. The next relevant step is to create the Access Point for Administering the Cluster. This will be the virtual object that clients will communicate with later. It is a computer object in Active Directory.
The wizard asks for the Cluster Name and IP address configuration.
As a last step, confirm everything and wait for the cluster to be created.
The wizard will add the shared disk automatically to the cluster per default. If you did not configure it yet, then it is also possible afterwards.
As a result, you can see a new Active Directory computer object named WFC2019.
You can ping the new computer to check whether it is online (if you allow ping on the Windows firewall).
As an alternative, you can create the cluster also with PowerShell. The following command will also add all eligible storage automatically:
You can see the result in the Failover Cluster Manager in the Nodes and Storage > Disks sections.
The picture shows that the disk is currently used as a quorum. As we want to use that disk for data, we need to configure the quorum manually. From the cluster context menu, choose More Actions > Configure Cluster Quorum Settings.
Here, we want to select the quorum witness manually.
Currently, the cluster is using the disk configured earlier as a disk witness. Alternative options are the file share witness or an Azure storage account as witness. We will use the file share witness in this example. There is a step-by-step how-to on the Microsoft website for the cloud witness. I always recommend configuring a quorum witness for proper operations. So, the last option is not really an option for production.
Just point to the path and finish the wizard.
After that, the shared disk is available for use for data.
Congratulations, you have set up a Microsoft failover cluster with one shared disk.
Next steps and backup
One of the next steps would be to add a role to the cluster, which is out of scope of this article. As soon as the cluster contains data, it is also time to think about backing up the cluster. Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows can back up Windows failover clusters with shared disks. We also recommend doing backups of the “entire system” of the cluster. This also backs up the operating systems of the cluster members. This helps to speed up restore of a failed cluster node, as you don’t need to search for drivers, etc. in case of a restore.
This article was provided by our service partner : Veeam
https://www.netcal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019-07-08_0944.png221901Conal Mullanhttps://www.netcal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/netcal_logo2.gifConal Mullan2019-07-08 09:44:592019-07-08 09:45:00How to create a Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2019