Data is one of the most important assets that a company owns, regardless of the size of the organization. Despite its importance, not all companies are equipped to secure data according to industry best practices. Managed service providers (MSPs) can play an invaluable role in supporting businesses through the process of implementing strong data protection measures. In many cases, it is small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that are most in need of this kind of support from their MSP.
To simplify the process for MSPs focused on helping their SMB clients secure data, there are five standard steps to follow when developing a holistic data protection strategy: customize, plan, secure, comply, and centralize.
1. Customize: Even though many aspects of a data security strategy are consistent across companies, each customer has unique characteristics and concerns that must be considered. Understand who the customer is and know the answer to questions such as:
- What is their industry?
- What are their most important assets?
- What regulations are important to them?
The answers to these questions should help shape the entire process.
2. Plan: Once an MSP understands the client’s key organizational motivations, the next step is to determine the core data protection strategy. This involves identifying tools, documenting disaster recovery and failover procedures, and walking through potential disruption scenarios to ensure all parties understand the recovery steps and restoration process.
3. Secure: As the data protection plan is implemented, ensure that each infrastructure component is secured in a comprehensive manner. Enable all encryption controls to secure data at-reset and in-transit, and confirm that all data and applications are governed by the appropriate access controls.
4. Comply: Many organizations are subject to regulatory compliance standards, and an MSP can provide important resources to help customers comply with these requirements and document that compliance. Consider providing clients with checklists or quick reference guides to help them quickly identify the most important elements of compliance, and confirm that key compliance stakeholders are involved in the process.
5. Centralize: Once the data protection plan has been fully implemented, the final component revolves around oversight and management of the solution. The most successful programs utilize a centralized management component that can integrate with other common technologies. Equip customers with a convenient but secure tool that will allow full visibility over the infrastructure.
While each company’s needs and infrastructure are unique, it is still possible for MSPs to make customized recommendations to their SMB clients without exerting an exorbitant effort that may exceed the business opportunity. By following these five basic steps, MSPs can help their clients gain a secure infrastructure while establishing a repeatable and valuable framework for implementing solutions.
For more resources on how MSPs can support their customers, contact eXemplify today.