Managed Security Services

Managed Security Services

“The Internet of Things is the biggest game changer for the future of security,” emphasizes David Bennett, vice president of Worldwide Consumer and SMB Sales at Webroot. “We have to figure out how to deal with smart TVs, printers, thermostats and household appliances, all with Internet connectivity, which all represent potential security exposures.”

Simply put, the days of waiting for an attack to happen, mitigating its impact and then cleaning up the mess afterward are gone. Nor is it practical to just lock the virtual door with a firewall and hope nothing gets in–the stakes are too high. The goal instead must be to predict potential exposure, and that requires comprehensive efforts to gather threat intelligence. According to Bennett, such efforts should be:

  • Real time: Because the velocity and volume of threats increases on a daily basis, the technologies used to protect systems must be updated by the minute. The ability to adjust to the nature and type of new threats as they appear is key. Data should be aggregated from sources globally and delivered as actionable information to the security professional.
  • Contextual: Data must be parsed through sophisticated computer analytics to ensure humans can make decisions based on actionable intelligence. An analyst has to be given data with pre-connected dots in order to act quickly. There’s little time for onsite security professionals to analyze reams of data when they suspect an attack is underway. By the time they figure out what’s going on, the damage is done.
  • Big data-driven: It’s not enough for a company to understand only what’s happening in its own environment; an attack on one of its competitors or peers could mean it’s next. To analyze complex threat patterns, threat intelligence technology must be cloud-based and should aggregate activities from across companies and across geographies.
    “Security professionals of the future must act like intelligence officers or analysts,” Bennett notes. “They have to consume information that’s already been parsed for them, and make decisions based on that intelligence. Success will depend on how they are fed the data. How is it presented? Is it relevant? Have the irrelevant data points already been removed? Only then will they be able to make decisions in time to prevent breaches.”

What This Means for MSPs

MSP services are particularly valuable to SMBs that lack the internal resources needed to effectively manage complex systems, or for any customers seeking to defer capital expenses in favor of leveraging their operational budgets. As such, cybersecurity is a perfect discipline to utilize the managed services model. “The biggest untapped opportunity for our partners today is providing security as a managed service,” observes Bennett. “Users are overwhelmed and just not capable of keeping on top of the rapid changes in the nature of threats.”

MSPs that offer managed security services address one of the major problems users face today: the lack of access to talented security professionals. Especially for SMB customers, finding and competing for talent with larger firms can be daunting. “Hiring and retaining the right personnel should not be a vulnerability in and of itself,” says Bennett. “Users who leverage managed security services remain protected through transitions in their IT staff and lower the risk of losing institutional knowledge critical to their security procedures. In addition, managed security services represents one of the largest and most profitable growth opportunities today for solution providers.”

MSPs that include Webroot SecureAnywhere Business Endpoint Protection solutions as part of their service offerings to clients are ideally positioned to take full advantage of these growth opportunities. In effect, Webroot technology gives MSPs their own dedicated security firm to monitor their customers’ environments. As Bennett explains, “We don’t just collect data—we scrub it, make correlations globally, and pass on exactly what our customers need to reduce exposures. It’s a big data approach to security, and it’s the only effective means to combat the ever-changing threats companies face.”


Veeam : Your Cloud backup customization option

Cloud backup is a viable option for many use cases, including but not limited to storage, critical workload management, disaster recovery and much more. And as we have covered in our previous concerns related to this series, it can also be made secure, reasonably priced, and migration can be simplified. We found one of the major cloud concerns in last year’s end user survey to be customization. Let’s dive into where customization and the cloud meet.

How customizable is the cloud?

In order to get the most out of their cloud investment, businesses need to be able to tailor the cloud to their exact needs. And even though cloud customization seems to be a concern, there is a general consensus in the IT community that the cloud is customizable. And when you consider the premise of AWS, Azure and other IaaS offerings that allow you to customize services specifically to your needs from day zero, it’s easy to see why. The cloud and customization seems to go hand-in-hand in some respects. Customization is a key component when it comes to the ability to configure cloud security. Being able to customize your cloud environment to meet exact compliance needs depending on what industry you are in, or in which region or country your data resides, makes customization a vital capability within cloud.

Supreme scalability of cloud

Talking about cloud customization would not be possible without also mentioning the flexibility and scalability that come with utilizing cloud over on-premises. If operations are conducted on-premises, then scaling up typically means buying new servers, and will require time and resources to deploy. The cloud offers pay-as-you go models and scaling happens instantly with no manual labor required. If there is a peak in activity, cloud resources can be added and scaled back down when business activity returns to normal. This ability to rapidly scale up or down through cloud can give a business true operational agility.

Customizing your backup data moving to the cloud

When depending on the data management software you use, you can enable a highly customized approach when it comes to handling data moving to the cloud. Veeam offers ultimate flexibility when it comes to the frequency, granularity and ease of backing up data to the cloud, helping you meet 15 minute RPOs which then impact RTOs. What’s great is the products used for backup and replication in Veeam can also be used as a migration tool to make the task of moving to cloud easier than it seemed at first. Let’s go over existing Veeam Cloud backup offerings and new ones to see how they can be utilized to customize various aspects of cloud backup needs.

Veeam and cloud customization

First and foremost: Backup and replication. The two functions used in virtually any environment to ensure the safety and redundancy of your data. You can send your data off site with Veeam Cloud Connect to a disaster recovery site or you can create an exact duplicate of your production environment that will have 15 minutes between them. And you can use these same options to get your data into the cloud, be it a cloud repository for storing backups or a secondary site via DRaaS, all within a single Veeam Backup & Replication console.

Since Veeam Cloud Connect operates through the network, we’ve made sure that we provide an encrypted traffic and built-in WAN acceleration to optimize every bit of data that is sent over. WAN acceleration minimizes the amount of data sent, excluding blocks that were already processed and can be taken from the cache on site. That comes really handy during migrations since you may be processing a lot of similar machines and files. This acceleration is included in Azure proxy as well as other optimizations that help reduce network traffic usage.

Additionally, you can use Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure to gain an extra level of recoverability. First setup and pre-allocate Azure services, then simply restore to any point of time for your machine in a couple of clicks. What’s really cool is that you’re not limited to restoring only virtual workloads, but can migrate physical machines as well!

The Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows (beta version soon available), and the now available Veeam Agent for Linux will help you create backups of your physical servers so that you can store them on the Veeam repositories for further management, restores and migration, should you ever need to convert your physical workloads to the virtual and cloud. Not only does Veeam provide multiple means for getting data to the cloud, but you can also backup your Microsoft Office 365 data and migrate it to your local Exchange servers and vice versa with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365! Many companies have moved their email infrastructure to the cloud, so Veeam provides an ability to have a backup plan in case something happens on the cloud side. That way you’ll always be able to retrieve deleted items and get access to your email infrastructure.

All these instruments are directly controlled by you, and most of them can be obtained with a service provider to take the management off your plate. When working with a provider, it is important to inquire into what can be customized or configured in order to ensure the cloud environment is able to meet your specific needs. This makes working with a cloud service provider a very valuable asset. As they can give you expert advice, reduce any complications and set expectations when it comes to cloud environments and their ability to be customized.

This article was provided by our service partner: Veeam

How Mobile Device Management Can Reduce Mobile Security Risks

Today’s modern workplace is home to users who carry their work and personal lives in their pockets. From smartphones to tablets, mobile devices keep us connected and always working. Users can work from anywhere, but that means opening the door to security threats if mobile devices aren’t properly protected. Mobile Device Management is service that help provide that protection.

The Bad News

Mobile security risks are real, and they are expanding every day. Public Wi-Fi networks open the door to hackers who can take advantage of security holes and access confidential company information stored on mobile devices. If a mobile device becomes infected with malware, the malware could spread through the entire network.

The portability of mobile devices means a greater risk for loss and theft. When unprotected devices disappear, they put access to sensitive business information in unauthorized hands. No business wants to worry about the repercussions of outside access to proprietary information. Just picture the headlines: CEO’s Lost iPhone Leads to Customer Data Breach.

The Good News

Mobile device management (MDM) solutions can help protect against the threats that are out there. Mobile Device Management helps you make sure critical information is protected no matter how your clients’ employees access it.

MDM gives you the ability to enforce minimum security requirements on mobile devices that access your client networks, which helps protect against data compromise. Lost devices can be found with geo-location tracking. If they don’t turn up, the devices can be remotely wiped to protect data with a just a few mouse clicks. Security settings can be adapted to require passcodes, set a time before auto-lock, auto-wipe devices after a maximum number of failed login attempts, and more.

The point is, MDM keeps your clients’ networks better protected. The extra layer of data security gives your clients peace of mind and helps you maintain your role as a trusted advisor. With that in mind, what do you need to look for in an MDM solution?

If you really want to get the most from your MDM solution, look for one that’s going to work easily with your existing solutions. Integration with your remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform and other automation solutions will save you time in setup and implementation, and will enable your technicians to manage mobile devices through the same interface through which they’re already managing your clients’ computers.

In short, the right MDM solution means you’ll be better able to protect vital data from mobile security risks while keeping your clients’ users connected to the information they need to do their jobs.

Now you know what MDM can do to keep your clients safe from mobile threats. Check back next week for tips to help you explain the benefits of Mobile Device Management to your clients and make the sale.

This article was provided by our service partner Labtech.


Set Up Extensions on a Cloud Based FreePBX

One of the best things about modern VoIP systems is how flexible they are when it comes to how you deploy them. You can use them on an appliance, virtualized, or on a cloud-based service like Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure. Each configuration has a slightly different technique to making everything work, and one of the first challenges is registering extensions. For this post, we’ll focus on the general concepts of setting up extensions for a cloud based (hosted) solution with FreePBX.
If you’ve never heard of FreePBX, and you’re in the market for a new VoIP system, you should start doing a little research ( and also call VoIP Supply). To be brief, it’s a turn-key PBX solution that uses Asterisk, a free SIP based VoIP platform. Sangoma, the makers of FreePBX have created a web user interface for Asterisk to simplify configuration. They’ve also added an entire security architecture, and have added a lot of features above and beyond what pure Asterisk (no user interface) provides, such as Endpoint Manager, which is a way to centrally configure and manage IP Phones.

FreePBX isn’t the only product out there to do this, there’s quite a few out there actually, but FreePBX has really raised the bar in the past few years and has become a very series solution for the enterprise. Don’t let the word “Free” in FreePBX lead you to think it’s a cheaply created system.



There’s a huge benefit to hosting a VoIP system in the cloud, you have to deal with very little NAT. Why is that good? SIP and NAT generally do not cooperate with each other. It’s very common for SIP header information to be incorrect without a device such as a session border controller (SBC), or a SIP application layer gateway (SIP ALG). When deploying a system on premise, you will always need to port forward SIP (UDP 5060) and RTP ( UDP 10,000-20,000) at a minimum. Also, you’ll need to make sure these ports are open on your firewall. This helps direct SIP traffic to your phone system, similarly as if you had a web or mail server.

Of course, there are security concerns when exposing SIP directly to the internet, and the same concerns apply for a hosted system, but when dealing with a cloud solution, you are generally given a 1:1 (one to one) NAT from your external IP address to the VoIP system’s internal IP. A 1:1 NAT ensures all traffic is sent to the system without any additional rules. Some cloud services place an external IP address directly on your server, increasing simplicity.

If you’re reading this, and are becoming increasingly concerned, you’re not wrong. If you’re in the technology field, you’ve probably been taught that exposing any server directly to the internet is wrong, bad, horrible, and stupid. Generally speaking, that’s all correct, but luckily many cloud service providers will offer the ability to create access control lists to place in front of your server, like the one below from Microsoft Azure.

Cloud service Microsoft Azure

This gives you the ability to control access to specified ports, source, and destination IP addresses. Additionally, FreePBX has built in intrusion detection (Fail2Ban), and a responsive firewall, allowing you to further restrict access to ports and services. Is this hack proof? No, of course not. Nothing is hack proof, but I have run my personal FreePBX, exposed directly to the internet, with zero successful attacks. No, that’s not a challenge, and you can’t have my IP address. You can, however, have some of the would-be hacker’s IP’s (see below).

freepbx hackers ip



If you’d like to learn about the firewall that FreePBX has put together, go here. I’m not suggesting, that this is just as good as placing an on-prem VoIP system behind a hardware firewall, but the results so far are that it works very well. Using a cloud solution will always be at your own risk, so do plenty of testing and take whatever measures needed to secure your system (disclaimer).



One of my favorite feature of a cloud based system is that all extensions are essentially remote extensions. This means you can place a phone anywhere in the world, in theory, with an internet connection, and place calls as if you were sitting in the office, or at home. There are some variables to this configuration, mainly restrictions on whatever network your phone is connected to, but generally speaking, it’s a useful and user-friendly solution. Now, for the rest of the article, I will assume that you know how to create an extension on FreePBX and have basic familiarity.

The first thing I typically do when deploying a new VoIP system is to define all of the network information for SIP. This is important for both cloud systems, and on-prem, Specifically, you need to tell FreePBX what networks are local, and which are not. To accomplish this, proceed to Settings > Asterisk SIP Settings, and define your external address, and local networks.




Next, if you have your firewall turned on and you should make sure SIP is accessible. You’ll notice in the below image that the “Other” zone is selected, meaning I have defined specific networks that are allowed under Zones> Networks. To allow all SIP traffic, you can select “External,” but you would be better off enabling the Responsive Firewall, which rate limits all SIP registration attempts and will ban a host if a registration fails a handful of times.



Also, something to pay attention to: Make sure you use the right port number. By default, PJSIP is enabled, and in use in FreePBX on port 5060 UDP. I will generally turn off PJSIP and re-assign 5060 USP to Chan SIIP. This can be adjusted under Settings > SIP Settings > Chen SIP Settings, and PJSIP Settings.



Once the ports are re-assigned, you MUST reboot your system, or in the command line, run ‘fwconsole restart.’ I also like to tell FreePBX to use only Chan SIP. To do that, go to Settings > Advanced Settings > SIP Channel Driver = Chan SIP. PJSIP is perfectly funcitonal, but for now, I recommend you stick with CHAN SIP as PJSIP is still underdevelopment.

We should also assign the global device NAT setting to “Yes”. This will be the option used wheneber you create a new extension. Without making this the global default, you will have to make this change manually in each extension, when you’ll likely forget to do, and your remote extension will not register. This setting lets FreePBX know that it can expect the IP phone or endpoint to be external and likely behind a NAT firewall. To change this global setting, go to Settings > Advanced Settings > Device Settings > SIP NAT = Yes.



Lastly, make sure your extensions are using SIP, if you haven’t turned off PJSIP. You can convert extensions from one channel driver to the other within an extension’s settings.

SIP type


At this point, you should be able to register your remote extensions to your cloud based FreePBX system. If you are running into trouble, run through these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Check the firewall – Allowing SIP? Are you being blocked?
  2. Check Fail2Ban (Admin > System Admin > Intrusion Detection) Are you banned?
  3. Check that your networks are properly defined in SIP Settings
  4. Verify you are registering to the proper port
  5. Make sure the extension is using the proper protocol
  6. Debug the registration attempt in the command line – Authentication problem?

I hope this article sheds some light on the topic of cloud based VoIP systems, and how to set up extensions for that system. I also hope this saves you a few hours in troubleshooting if you are not well versed in FreePBX configuration. As a friendly reminder, before you make any changes to your production system, take a backup, or snapshot, and always test your changes.