Managed Service Providers

After the Hack: Tips for Damage Control

According to the Identity Theft Research Center, in 2017 alone, nearly 158 million social security numbers were stolen as a result of 1579 data breaches. Once a cybercriminal has access to your personal info, they can open credit cards, take out loans that quickly...

Cyber News Rundown: Russia Bans Telegram

The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask. Russia Blocks Millions of IPs to Halt Use of...

Re-Thinking ‘Patch and Pray’

When WannaCry ransomware spread throughout the world last year by exploiting vulnerabilities for which there were patches, we security “pundits” stepped up the call to patch, as we always do. In a post on LinkedIn Greg Thompson, Vice President of Global Operational...

Use Caution with Free-to-Play Mobile Games

Who doesn’t like a good mobile game? Especially a free one! They allow you to blow off steam while fine-tuning your skills, competing with others or maybe even winning bragging rights among friends. Free games can be fun to play, yet there are some common-sense...

Re-Thinking ‘Patch and Pray’

Reading Time: ~3 min.

When WannaCry ransomware spread throughout the world last year by exploiting vulnerabilities for which there were patches, we security “pundits” stepped up the call to patch, as we always do. In a post on LinkedIn Greg Thompson, Vice President of Global Operational Risk & Governance at Scotiabank expressed his frustration with the status quo.

Greg isn’t wrong. Deploying patches in an enterprise department requires extensive testing prior to roll out. However, most of us can patch pretty quickly after an announced patch is made available. And we should do it!

There is a much larger issue here, though. A vulnerability can be known to attackers but not to the general public. Managing and controlling vulnerabilities means that we need to prevent the successful exploitation of a vulnerability from doing serious harm. We also need to prevent exploits from arriving at a victim’s machine as a layer of defense. We need a layered approach that does not include a single point of failure–patching.

A Layered Approach

First off, implementing a security awareness training program can help prevent successful phishing attacks from occurring in the first place. The 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report indicated that 66% of data breaches started with a malicious attachment in an email—i.e. phishing. Properly trained employees are far less likely to open attachments or click on links from phishing email. I like to say that the most effective antimalware product is the one used by the best educated employees.

In order to help prevent malware from getting to the users to begin with, we use reputation systems. If almost everything coming from http://www.yyy.zzz is malicious, we can block the entire domain. If much of everything coming from an IP address in a legitimate domain is bad, then we can block the IP address. URLs can be blocked based upon a number of attributes, including the actual structure of the URL. Some malware will make it past any reputation system, and past users. This is where controlling and managing vulnerabilities comes into play.

The vulnerability itself does no damage. The exploit does no damage. It is the payload that causes all of the harm. If we can contain the effects of the payload then we are rethinking how we control and manage vulnerabilities. We no longer have to allow patches (still essential) to be a single point of failure.

Outside of offering detection and blocking of malicious files, it is important to stop execution of malware at runtime by monitoring what it’s trying to do. We also log each action the malware performs. When a piece of malware does get past runtime blocking, we can roll back all of the systems changes. This is important. Simply removing malware can result in system instability. Precision rollback can be the difference between business continuity and costly downtime.

Some malware will nevertheless make it onto a system and successfully execute. It’s at this point we observe what the payload is about to do. For example, malware that tries to steal usernames and passwords is identified by the Webroot ID shield. There are behaviors that virtually all keyloggers use, and Webroot ID Shield is able to intercept the request for credentials and returns no data at all. Webroot needn’t have seen the file previously to be able to protect against it. Even when the user is tricked into entering their credentials, the trojan will not receive them.

There is one essential final step. You need to have offline data backups. The damage ransomware does is no different than the damage done by a hard drive crash. Typically, cloud storage is the easiest way to automate and maintain secure backups of your data.

Greg is right. We can no longer allow patches to be a single point of failure. But patching is still a critical part of your defensive strategy. New technology augments patching, it does not replace it and will not for the foreseeable future.

What do you think about patch and pray? Join our discussion in the Webroot Community or in the comments below!

More Automation. More #MSProfits.

Reading Time: ~2 min.

Savvy MSPs know that automation improves efficiency and strengthens their bottom line. In a nutshell, automation enables an MSP to reduce the amount of time its technicians spend handling routine or repetitive tasks, thus cutting costs for service delivery and freeing those techs to devote more attention to activities that generate more revenue.

Enabling Creativity Spurs Growth

It’s no secret that computers are more efficient than humans when it comes to performing repetitive work, while humans deliver superior results in situations that require creativity, critical thinking, and decision making. Part of the reason automation is so effective is because it enables MSPs to take advantage of these fundamental truths.

Freeing up your technicians for more appropriate endeavors presents benefits beyond simple cost savings. It also gives you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from other MSPs and position your business for future growth by finally enabling your technicians to see the forest for the trees.

When an MSP’s technicians are mired in routine administration and maintenance responsibilities—such as deploying security upgrades, performing regular disk cleanup, or managing tickets—there’s no time to step back and evaluate the overarching IT challenges that affect that particular client. And that means missed business opportunities.

More Time for Personalization

Proactively identifying a client’s IT challenges will help that client improve their business operations. This will not only differentiate you from other MSPs, it will also establish a foundation of trust upon which you can build long-term relationships with your customers; which, of course, is key to generating recurring, predictable revenue.

But an MSP can only design creative solutions to its clients’ business and IT challenges if its team has the time to identify those challenges. They need the bandwidth to consciously and continuously review each client’s business operations and craft powerful and personalized solutions.

Automation can solve that problem. Not only does it free up your IT team to focus on the specific issues each client faces, it also allows you to deliver a more comprehensive range of services individually tailored to those clients.

Today’s combination of automated and dynamic cloud services let you choose from an array of solutions for each of your clients, while still ensuring management is automated for maximum efficiency. The net result? You’ll boost your profitability by increasing customer satisfaction and long-term patronage, all while significantly reducing your management and operational costs.

Learn More… and Enter for a Chance to Win!

The Webroot #MSProfits Program is dedicated to helping MSPs boost their profitability by automating their business operations. Learn more about the benefits of automation, and enter for a chance to win a sophisticated home technology package.

Talking DNS Protection with ConnectWise

Reading Time: ~3 min.

It’s been an exciting week for our partner ConnectWise – they started offering customers Webroot SecureAnywhere DNS Protection. To get insight into why this matters, I sat down with George Anderson, Webroot’s product marketing director for business solutions, and Gavin Gamber, vice president of Channel Sales and Alliances at ConnectWise.


Can we start with the basics? What is DNS?

George: DNS stands for Domain Name System. The Basic job of DNS is to turn a human-friendly domain name like webroot.com into an Internet Protocol (IP) address like 66.35.53.194. Computers use IP addresses to identify each other. When a user accesses an external website or downloads files, their computer uses a DNS server to look up the domain name and then directs the user to that website.

Ok, kind of like a phone directory for the internet. That helps me understand the power DNS can hold.

George: That’s right. DNS is a powerful part of making the internet work. It also can be an equally powerful avenue for protecting a business. According to our data, many infections are generated through web browsing. Implementing web filtering security at the DNS layer can have a very significant impact on infection rates.

Wow. The internet is a big, beautiful, and scary place.

George: It can be. Using the internet is a high-risk activity for every business, regardless of size. Sometimes good sites can contain bad content. Users can fall victim to drive-by ransomware, employees can click on malvertising, and the list goes on.

Can you give us an example of what security at the DNS layer can stop?

Gavin: Let’s say, for example, you work with medical clients. Most of the end users are protected, but when guests come onto the network there is no way to monitor their web traffic. Since you don’t control the device, you don’t have any antivirus protecting the guest’s endpoint. With DNS filtering, you can protect the network and prevent guests from knowingly or unknowingly going to harmful or sensitive websites.

George: Using a web filtering solution at the DNS layer lets businesses do a few things. First, it creates policies for web usage that can be applied globally or by client. An MSP can decide, for example, whether to block certain content or social media sites. Second, it filters URLs for security risks, preventing infections by automatically sifting out known malicious websites. Finally, it allows a partner to monitor overall web usage and its security risk posture. What’s really different is that this all happens outside the network at the domain layer, so most infections are stopped at the earliest possible stage.

In a nutshell?

George: DNS Protection allows organizations to configure their router or firewall to point to Webroot’s secure DNS resolver servers for granular web filtering. Then, partners simply configure an acceptable internet usage policy. By doing so, they can block malicious URLs, restricted content, social media, or streaming sites they don’t want employees perusing at work.

ConnectWise, what are you hearing from partners about web filtering and its need?

Gavin: This is just one more layer of end user security that is typically time and labor intensive to set up. Our partners and their clients want to mitigate all attack vectors whether they manage all the devices on the network or not. As security risks persist, this is a must-have tool.

So what will all this mean for our ConnectWise partners?

George: First and foremost, it’s simple and easy for ConnectWise partners to deploy and manage. The new DNS Protection service has been fully integrated into the same Global Site Manager (GSM) console they use today for Webroot’s endpoint security. It also benefits from the same pillars of Webroot’s other security services.

  • No hardware or software to install
  • Includes robust reporting options for easy management
  • Direct benefits from Webroot BrightCloud Web Classification Service
ConnectWise, why are you excited for this new product?

Gavin: When we first saw Webroot SecureAnywhere DNS we were blown away by the ease of use and straightforward deployment. Our initial reaction was that our partners would find this incredibly valuable. Additionally, this really leverages the threat intelligence that Webroot has collected over the years and gives that control to our partners in a very powerful and consumable product.


Thank you, both. Glad we could chat all things web filtering.

Interested in learning more? We have additional resources. You also can discover everything Webroot is doing with ConnectWise at Automation Nation, June 19-21 in Orlando, FL. Visit us at booth #201, where you can see a demo of DNS Protection.

Integration Holds the Keys to the Castle

Reading Time: ~2 min.

Talks of integration are often met with audible sighs of displeasure. It’s a lot of work. You have to combine various platforms, software, and the list goes on. At Webroot, we decided to take some of the pain out of this process by partnering with Kaseya to deliver a fully integrated endpoint security solution for its customers.

Kaseya, a provider of complete IT management solutions for managed service providers (MSPs) and mid-sized businesses, was looking for ways to reduce complexity and steer its customers in the right security direction.

Charlie Tomeo, vice president of worldwide business sales at Webroot, sat down to answer a few questions about why we chose to integrate.


Webroot: Integration is practically a buzzword today. I think I just ‘integrated’ my winter and spring wardrobes. What does integration mean for Kaseya customers?

Charlie Tomeo: Integrating Webroot status and monitoring into VSA reduces management complexity by presenting this new information into the familiar tools they already use today. This gives technicians a single pane of glass and makes it easier to follow security best practice standards, which increases protection and security for their customers.

That makes sense. I’ve heard complexity is a “hackers best friend,” so any streamlining is good in my book. What can users expect in the module?

The Webroot SecureAnywhere® endpoint product is the easiest solution to deploy and maintain on the market, but our Kaseya module makes it even easier for VSA users through an intuitive, straightforward GUI-driven install/uninstall. Deployment hierarchy can mirror your Kaseya groups with Webroot groups or sites. Once deployed, the combined deployment and status dashboard gives you that single pane of glass view to manage Webroot protection within the VSA dashboard.

Day-to-day management suddenly gets easy with customized alerts that flow directly into Kaseya, creating tickets and executive dashboard reports quickly summarize infection history and endpoints under protection.

What if I’m reading this and thinking, I don’t need that, my customers are too small to have to worry about security threats. What advice would you provide?

Study after study shows that small customers are just as at-risk as any other organization. But providing enterprise level security protection to small customers is expensive without an MSP that uses a system of streamlined processes. These partners provide an affordable solution to their customers without compromising security or margins. Using the Webroot integration inside the Kaseya VSA allows the MSP to manage their Webroot agents and streamline numerous management tasks, like alerting, reporting, deployment, and updates.


That’s a wrap. To learn more or start a free trial of the Webroot Kaseya Module, visit http://wbrt.io/WebrootKaseya .

Your 6-Step MSP Guide for Stopping Ransomware

Reading Time: ~2 min.

 

While a lot of the hype around ransomware paints it as daunting and virtually impossible to combat, there are several very straightforward steps for managed service providers to dramatically reduce the risk that their clients’ will fall victim to ransomware.

  1. Proven endpoint security backed by industry-leading threat intelligence.

    Security shouldn’t just spot and quarantine threats that have already infiltrated a system. It should prevent threats from infecting the endpoint in the first place. Be sure to select a solution that protects web browsing in real time, secures system settings, controls outbound traffic, provides proactive anti-phishing, and continuously monitors and reports on individual endpoints.

  2. Get your house in order with backup and business continuity.

    If any of your clients do become ransomware victims, the only real course of action is to restore their data as quickly as possible to minimize business downtime. These days, there are a fair number of automated, on-premises and cloud-based business continuity solutions that will back up data and get your clients’ business back on track after a breach.

  3. Implement strong Windows policies. 

    As part of your ransomware defense strategy, you can use Windows policies to block certain paths and file extensions from running. If you need varying levels of access, you can set up policies in groups. Some useful policies include blocking executables in temp or temp+appdata and the creation of startup entries. For instance, .SCR, .PIF, and .CPL file types should not be run in the following in users’ temp, program data, or desktop directories.

  4. Block volume shadow copy service. 

    Windows uses the VSS copy service to create local copies of files. CryptoLocker and other ransomware variants will encrypt this area because it holds VSS copies for the local (C:) drive. By setting Windows policies to block access to the service, you can help stop ransomware like CryptoLocker from erasing local drive file backups. Make sure that policies point to the VSSAdmin executable. Attempts to access or stop the service will be blocked.

  5. Get rid of macros and autorun. 

    Numerous kinds of ransomware use macros to infect systems, but you can easily disable them in the Trust Center of every version of Microsoft Office. You can also enable individual macros, if they’re necessary for a particular task, while disabling all others. Additionally, autorun might be a handy feature, but many types of malware use it to propagate. As an example, a USB stick uses autorun, but so do Visual Basic Script (VBS) malware and worms. As a general rule, we recommend disabling autorun.

  6. Keep clients in the know about ransomware. 

    It’s no secret that human error is a large part of successful cybercrime. As long as staff members remain relatively unaware and undereducated about the risks of the internet, malware will continue to be a viable business. Make sure clients understand the basics and what to watch out for so they stay safe both at home and in the office.

The first step to securing endpoints against ransomware is deploying a next-generation security solution. Take a free 30-day Webroot trial, no risk, no obligation to buy. In less than five minutes you can install Webroot SecureAnywhere® Business Endpoint Protection with Global Site Manager and see first-hand how it delivers superior malware protection while lowering your costs and boosting your bottom line—without conflicting with your existing security.

 

 

Maximizing MSP Profits with Cybersecurity Partnerships

Reading Time: ~2 min.

 

Managed service providers are tasked with serving a broad range of markets, from construction to healthcare; accounting to legal; staffing firms to manufacturing; media and advertising to technology. But the day-to-day MSP challenges, even across so many diverse verticals, remain the same. Let’s break it down: modern technology changes fast and keeps gaining momentum, so how do you stay current and relevant? Providing quality goods and services gets complicated and pricey fast; how do you give your customers the value they expect without your own margins taking a hit? As the managed services sector continues to grow, how do you differentiate yourself from the competition?

Let’s switch gears a little and talk about cybersecurity. It’s no surprise that MSPs often think of endpoint protection as a “necessary evil.” MSPs have to supply endpoint cybersecurity services that satisfy their clients’ demands, but most solutions involve time-consuming infection remediation, awful system performance, mountains of malware-related downtime, not to mention the resulting customer frustration.

Staying Relevant and Seizing Opportunity

Because SMBs typically lack the internal resources needed to effectively manage complex systems, cybersecurity is an ideal avenue for putting the managed services model to use. Faced with modern threats and the hassles of traditional endpoint protection products, most users feel overwhelmed by security awareness and management, so offering next-generation protection that’s easy to manage, won’t conflict with other software, and won’t slow users down as it keeps them safe is an excellent way to stay relevant and build customer loyalty.

The High Cost of Living

As you well know, providing services isn’t sustainable if your solutions don’t amplify your profitability. But you can drive down operational costs by selecting an endpoint cybersecurity vendor that uses a cloud-based architecture and requires no infrastructure investment, thereby enabling faster deployment and less intensive management. If the vendor offers highly responsive support, automatic remediation, and low resource usage, you can improve customer satisfaction while reducing time spent repairing systems—without having to skimp on quality.

Looking to the Future

When choosing a cybersecurity partnership, be sure to look for a vendor whose solutions foster predictable, recurring revenue to help quantify future revenue for business decisions, and who provides marketing resources and sales enablement to boost MSP margins. And keep your options open—find a partner who offers flexible billing to lower your overhead and enable easy scalability (and won’t lock you into a contract you’re unhappy with in the long run.) Finally, pick a partner with a strong reputation, so you can leverage their proven protection to increase your customer loyalty and generate more referrals.

Proving the Point

Ultimately, these tips are just hearsay. Until you can properly vet a solution in a real-world environment, it’s hard to determine what will and won’t work for your business. Try to find solutions you can trial easily, and look to industry experts and your peers for their experiences and advice.

Read this case study to find out how SWAT Systems, an MSP managing over 3,300 endpoints, drastically improved their customer satisfaction, reduced time spent remediating infections by 75%, and increased profitability an average of 10-20%—just by switching cybersecurity vendors.

Or, take a free, no-risk, no-conflict 30-day trial of Webroot SecureAnywhere Business Endpoint Protection with the Global Site Manager to see the solution SWAT Systems chose in action.