Mitigate Baron SameEdit (CVE-2021-3156) vulnerability

How MSPs Can Protect Customers Data from Getting into the Wrong Hands

By Ed Trainor

Organizations are increasingly moving to a complete managed services environment for applications and user data. This is not to say that everything is a managed service today, but it is trending that way. Think about your data center for a moment – some applications/data/services in-house likely in a private cloud environment, some applications/data/services outsourced to a managed service provider, and some likely in the public cloud. Call it a hybrid environment, call it a hybrid cloud, call it whatever you like but the trend is to more of this type of configuration.

Why? It makes sense, that’s why. Organizations should be thinking about their infrastructure in a managed services mindset. It makes perfect sense to keep sensitive or government regulated data in-house in a private cloud, outsource things like file/print/email to the public cloud (for example), and have a managed service provider worry about critical business applications (like databases and CRM). As we move to a new normal in a COVID-19 world we also need to think about our bandwidth to manage additional services like those that support all these folks that are now working from home. And, let’s not forget that you are likely still in some form of a Digital Transformation effort that includes some set of services that need to be worried about as well.

Enter the Managed Service Provider

Datto, Inc., the leading global provider of cloud-based software and technology solutions delivered through managed service providers (MSPs) has recently published a report on the results of a survey on the state of the MSP market in 2020, three very interesting highlights include:

  • Cloud Migrations Accelerate: The survey found that 57% of MSPs expect the use of on-premises servers for critical applications to decline over the next three years. Worldwide stay-at-home orders have dramatically increased demand for cloud and IT for many businesses.
  • Managed Services Revenue Mix: The two most consistent drivers of MSP growth include generating a higher portion of total revenue from managed services, and setting specific revenue and growth goals
  • MSP Cybersecurity Challenges, Opportunities: Cybersecurity continues to be a pain point, with 34% of MSPs citing this as a top concern (compared to 30% in 2019).

Security and MSPs

One of the most daunting aspects of outsourcing applications from your environment is security. How can you ensure security at the levels that you provided in-house? How do MSPs ensure that security is robust enough that organizations will trust them with hosting critical applications? Let’s look at an example to illustrate:

A key aspect to consider is inputs versus outputs. Attackers spend an enormous amount of time looking for an input mechanism to compromise systems.

Thus, the first steps for an MSP is to audit and look for input than can be compromised.

The model can look something like this:

The attacker’s intent is to reverse the flow. As an attacker I want to send information out of the system, or stop you from accessing your own information.

MSPS must consider and deploy an agent that monitors a system can be setup to receive no data, thus it cannot be hacked, an agent that can be configured can receive data that coopts its operation. The goal is to minimize inputs.

Another aspect for MSP security in this model is to monitor for change in billings, usage or logins. Closely monitoring and reporting on these metrics allows MSPs to establish triggers that notify and enable action if customer data is compromised.

MSP’s Ensure Customer Data Security with Polymorphing

So how can you ensure that the MSPs you are talking to are making the best efforts to secure your users data? Ensure that they are:

Making their Linux servers more secure with Polymorphing: Memory-based attacks take aim at specific function locations, CPU registers and other targets. Polymorphing randomly changes all of these targeting details at the binary level. Polymorphing takes source code and runs it through a polymorphic compiler, changing register usage, function locations, import tables and other targets. This produces individually unique binaries that are semantically equivalent to the source. Polymorphing applies the compiler to the totality of the Linux stack.

MSPs can protect customers’ data from getting into the wrong hands with Polymorphing.

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