As an MSP, you no doubt understand the importance of providing secure and reliable network access to your customers and the role it plays in maintaining their trust (and your reputation). So what is Zero Trust and how can it help you and your customers?

In essence Zero Trust means that regardless of whether a user is inside or outside the company network, systems do not take it for granted that they are who they say they are. This means that additional verification is required for any user trying to gain access to company resources.

Marc Barry, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Enclave, a member of N-able’s Technology Alliance Program, explains: “Broadly speaking, Zero Trust and Zero Trust Network Access represent a foundational shift in the way in which we approach the security of systems. They provide a framework for a new way of thinking that’s been broadly supported by a coalition of governments around the world who have much bigger fish to fry when it comes to security. They’re essentially saying this is a better way of approaching security.” 

Zero Trust for your customers

Marc continues: “We speak to many MSPs, both prospects and existing customers, and the pattern we see is that they have an appetite and desire to shift towards security. This doesn’t necessarily mean they all want to become MSSPs, it’s more about them wanting to take responsibility for their customers’ security. This in itself is often driven by the understanding that if one of their customers gets breached, whether they’re responsible for the security or not, they’re guilty by association. So they have to take that security seriously… and let’s be honest exposed VPN servers discoverable on the public Internet are no longer a fit for purpose solution when it comes to the role of modern secure connectivity. So shifting customers towards a Zero Trust security model makes a lot of sense. ”

MSPs will need to be able to explain this shift to their customers; and this means effectively communicating the value of Zero Trust in a way that resonates with them.

The trend towards Zero Trust gained serious momentum after the U.S. government introduced mandatory requirements for federal agencies to adopt it in the wake of cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure on the 6th of May, 2021.

Six days later, the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order mandating the adoption of Zero Trust. Just 11 days after that the British National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) followed suit publishing Zero Trust architecture guidance.

Almost overnight, a new standard in cybersecurity practices was ratified. “Yes, this shift has been happening at the macro level, the government level,” says Marc, “but it’s wholly applicable at the micro level too; for the SMB and mid-market.”

Here are four reasons why Zero Trust is such a game-changer for your customers.

  1. Enhance security. Zero Trust isn’t just another security measure; it’s a tactical fortress against a wide range of threats, from ransomware, malware and credential theft, to brute force attacks and phishing and more.
  2. Reduce risk. Improvements in security posture can also help to reduce risk, and Zero Trust plays a pivotal role here. It’s not just about preventing breaches; it’s about safeguarding your customers’ reputation, data, and finances. Maintaining tight control over access can help drastically lower the chances of breaches, which is a top concern for many businesses.
  3. Helping with compliance. Zero Trust also eases the compliance journey, whether that’s Cyber Essentials in the UK, NIST or HIPAA in the U.S., or others; because it helps align organizations with regulatory requirements like strict access control and the principle of least privilege access.
  4. Improved customer experience. Your customers aren’t just getting more secure networks and systems; they’re getting better reliability and likely to have fewer interruptions due to security issues. A seamless customer experience is worth its weight in gold for MSP reputation and customer retention.

Zero Trust for you

The 2023 SMB Threat report from Huntress shows 65% of attacks on small and medium businesses leveraged RMM tools to gain unauthorized access to victim’s systems. Crucial for MSP operations, but increasingly under attack, the trend of threat actors targeting RMM software poses a threat to your infrastructure and customer security. By adopting Zero Trust, every interaction with your RMM platform is authenticated and authorized, significantly strengthening your defence against unauthorized access and breaches.

This is where you can leverage your position as an MSP with not-for-resale (NFR) licences. Not only an excellent opportunity to learn about ZT and ZTNA products, but to simultaneously deploy state of the art protections without additional cost around the crown jewels of your business: access to the RMM.

More than that, getting the right mix of vendors into your technology stack is likely to simplify network management, cutting through the complexity of traditional security tooling, and instead focusing on what’s crucial—strict authentication and minimal access.

Giving yourself a competitive edge

We’ve already mentioned security vulnerabilities undermining the traditional security perimeter exacerbated by the shift towards work-from-home arrangements and COVID-19; but there’s also a time-sensitive reason to adopt Zero Trust now: competitive advantage.

Today, Zero Trust is a market differentiator, not a standard customer expectation. In the competitive MSP landscape, adopting advanced security measures like Zero Trust can set your services apart from others. While Zero Trust is gaining attention, it’s not yet ubiquitous, meaning that implementing it now can give you a leading edge. Strong differentiation can be a significant factor in attracting new customers who are looking for top-tier security, as well as an edge in retaining existing customers, offering them the latest in network security and positioning your business as a forward-thinking and security-conscious early adopter of new technologies.

Think of Zero Trust as an investment in your business’s future, not just a security protocol. By implementing it, you’re not only enhancing your security posture but also building a foundation for growth, reliability, and customer confidence.

There’s a lot going on in the space at the moment and the challenge for MSPs is breaking through the noise. “It’s all too easy to get lost in the nuances of the technology and the architecture,” says Marc. “This is an extremely crowded market. There’s a lot of thought leadership being released by vendors and analysts that aims to provide helpful ways to distil and understand the shift. But if you’re sort of boots on the ground, operationally trying to deliver value for your customers, it can be really hard to take a step back and figure out how to parachute into this new set of ideas, technologies, architectures, and approaches and figure out the right way of doing things. One of the things that we’ve noticed is that often marketing feels a bit like who can shout the loudest with the right keywords.” 

He continues: “At Enclave we’ve tried to take a step back and say, while there are many roads that can take you to Zero Trust Network Access, actually there’s not that much to learn. If you can get a handle on the different architectures, their strengths, trade offs, and weaknesses, it becomes much easier for you to assess and match the right tool for the right job, for the right customer. 

“Zero Trust and Zero Trust Network Access have a very clearly defined relationship. But until you’ve really stepped into the space, it can feel a bit nebulous and hard to understand. I think there’s an argument here that says a lot of the marketing terms that are coined with good intention—to help customers understand and separate products and architectures from one another—but actually they don’t always aid the discussion. And of course, there’s a lot of customers out there that don’t have an innate expertise in security. Security is something that’s really easy to get wrong—and it’s really easy to be sold snake oil if you’re not well versed in the domain.” 

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If this information is helpful to you read our blog for more interesting and useful content, tips, and guidelines on similar topics. Contact the team of COMPUTER 2000 Bulgaria now if you have a specific question. Our specialists will be assisting you with your query. 

Content curated by the team of COMPUTER 2000 on the basis of news in reputable media and marketing materials provided by our partners, companies, and other vendors.

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