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Serving regulated industries as an MSP

With the rising threat of cyberattacks looming in virtually every part of cyberspace security has become every MSP’s concern. Besides the standard array of services that MSP provides to regulated industries, in recent years its responsibilities have undergone a rapid change and have expanded to keeping its customers’ data safe. Understanding what the data is and what is required to meet safety regulations is just as important as the regular service being provided.



Hard Compliance

The privacy regulatory landscape is constantly expanding and MSPs have more accountabilities on the maintenance of system compliance. Therefore, when serving regulated industries, MSPs need to constantly be cognizant of the compliance requirements of the data and systems they interact with. Failure to adequately protect customers’ networks and data can come back on the MSP as a liability problem and be devastating for its reputation. It goes without saying that best practices should be a default for technicians.


Knowing the Rules

Compliance requirements vary tremendously across countries and states, and some apply regardless of the location of your business. These requirements come from a variety of sources such as laws, regulatory bodies, or even private industry groups. Compliance requirements all have the same premise, follow the rules or suffer the penalties. While some requirements have light fines that organizations can choose to pay rather than being compliant, others have significant penalties such as large fines, or side effects that could hinder a business's operations such as not being able to accept credit cards as future payments.


The only way to deliver compliant service is to have a clear understanding of the regulations and laws that must be followed. Doing this necessitates an in-depth understanding of the data being stored and processed. For MSPs, it is critical to determine what type of data your customers are storing and processing and to which regulations it applies. Some of the more common and high-impact compliance rules to be aware of are HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, and SOX. These regulations focus on a wide range of data types including patient healthcare information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII)), credit card data, and business financial information. It is not uncommon for organizations to store a combination of these data types at any given time, making them subject to numerous compliance regulations simultaneously.


Mandatory Security

Delivering service to regulated industries should come with a security-first mindset on top of the regular service to be provided. Security controls, thus, need to be tailored to the data they are protecting. For example, using a public or shared storage solution like Dropbox in the cloud needs to have certain controls in place to limit access and reasonable protections around it (like network segmentation, firewalls, and SIEM tools). With increasingly complicated cloud architecture, it is essential to understand and configure the specific data type in accordance with the particular compliance regime. These practical safeguards are at the heart of every compliance regime.


Protecting Data

One of the best ways to protect private and sensitive data is to keep it encrypted. Having data encryption is essential for any business, whether it is large or small: It makes it harder for bad actors to steal as the data is entirely unusable without the decryption key. In the event of an attack where data is stolen, the cybercriminal cannot attempt to extort the business by threatening to release the data publicly or sell it on the dark web because there is nothing usable available to them.


Using encryption also grants organizations the benefits of safe harbor for many compliance rules. This means that if a breach occurs and the data stolen is encrypted, it does not constitute a full-blown breach. Rather than paying massive fines and dealing with corrective action programs or other negative repercussions, businesses may get off with no action taken or simply notifying customers of an incident where no data was compromised.


As an added benefit, encryption also meets many compliance requirements and facilitates optimal organizational practices by enhancing the security and safety of communication between organizations and their customers. This is a direct benefit to the customer as they can rest assured that their data is protected and will remain private.


Seamless Protection

It is vital to remember that when implementing security measures, even to meet compliance mandates, all security controls are worthless if they make it harder for employees to do their jobs. Security controls need to be easy to implement and manage. Otherwise, if they are too complicated, users will find ways around them since the user’s primary goal is to complete their job duties and this will eventually expose the business to further risks.


One of the best ways to do this is the make the entire process of using the tool as transparent to the end-user as possible. When the tool “just works” in the background without the end-user having to take any steps, there is no reason to bypass it. Also helps guarantee to the business that protection is in place and constantly protecting the data.


To help meet audit requirements of proving this is the case, the tool should also generate logging data showing that it is consistently in use and push it to a centralized management console. Consolidating this information into a single-pane-of-glass interface, organizations can easily present evidence of compliance without wasting numerous labor-hours gathering data.


Final words

Compliance with data privacy regulations is becoming more and more complex as more laws are passed. Actifile is a great tool for not only identifying sensitive information but seamlessly protecting it with high-grade encryption. It has a smooth integration for users to be secure without excess work and a simple setup and deployment so organizations can rapidly onboard. Actifile enables organizations to encrypt and protect their data, meeting compliance requirements with the touch of a button. With Actifile you can fully protect your customers’ sensitive and private data and help them comply with all privacy regulations.


Schedule a demo today to find out how Actifile can help your MSP meet the compliance needs of regulated industries.


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