MSP Security: How to Incorporate Security into Your Service Stacks

With the number of cyberattacks now being conducted and the frequency that data breaches are reported in the media, it is no surprise that SMBs are increasingly seeking MSP security services. For most MSPs – almost ¾ according to Channel Futures – MSP security services are the biggest area of growth.

SMBs are increasingly aware that their current defenses are nowhere near sufficient; however, they are unlikely to have the time and resources to implement and maintain new technical measures to counter the myriad of threats they now face. The easiest solution is to outsource security functions to managed service providers and take advantage of their security-as-a-service packages.

MSPs that have yet to offer security-as-a-service are missing out on a massive opportunity to increase revenue and grow their business. Further, if an MSP does not offer security-as-a-service, customers are likely to look for an MSP that can… and may choose to take all their business elsewhere.

One solution for MSPs that do not offer security and feel that they are not yet ready to add cybersecurity to their service stacks is to form a strategic partnership with a managed security service provider (MSSP), so at least they will be able to help their clients with security and obtain some benefits, but a far better option is to incorporate MSP security into your existing services and not see all that profit sent elsewhere.

How Can MSPs Offer Security-as-a-Service?

MSPs will likely be providing a range of managed services to their SMB clients, such as network management, on-premises and cloud storage, scheduled maintenance, and remote support, but MSPs tend not to have a major focus on security. Providing security services will better protect clients against cyberattacks and can make the lives of MSPs easier, as they will not be required to deal with the consequences of successful attacks if their clients are better protected.

MSP security services can be offered, but it is important to understand how SMBs need to be protected and to offer security solutions and services that meet client needs exactly. That means MSPs should keep up to date on the latest threats and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) employed by hackers and ensure that the products and services they offer continue to provide the necessary protection for their clients.

Most SMBs will be aware of the threat they face from phishing attacks due to the number of phishing emails they already receive and the frequency of reports of phishing attacks in the media. Providing email security is therefore a good place to start, but one security solution alone is not sufficient to block all threats. The key to protecting against the cyber threats faced by SMBs is to ensure layered defenses are implemented.

With layered defenses, multiple solutions are implemented that complement each other and provide protection should one element fail to identify and block a threat. Hackers will need to bypass multiple layers of security to gain access to the network and data, which may be enough to see them search for much easier targets.

Essential Components of MSP Security Services

Multiple layers of security are important for protecting clients, but what products should be offered to provide that protection? There are several key components that SMBs require to protect against current and emerging threats, which MSPs should strongly consider incorporating into their security stacks. Additional services can then be added over time. Here we list the essential elements that will provide immediate protection and will block the most common threats that SMBs face.


Firewalls are barriers that separate trusted and untrusted networks, and most commonly they protect internal systems from the public Internet. The firewall monitors inbound and outbound traffic and applies preset security rules, preventing any unauthorized connections and blocking traffic that has not been previously approved. Firewalls have been a fundamental component of security for around three decades and continue to be vital for security.

MSPs can offer managed firewall services to their customers as part of their service stacks, which will deliver robust network security protection. Cloud-delivered firewalls are reliable, affordable, and can be easily managed by MSPs.

Email Security

While firewalls are vital for security, most cyberattacks start with an email-based attack. Phishing is the most common method of gaining access to business networks – 90% of all cyberattacks start with a phishing email. Phishing is used for credential theft and malware delivery, and advanced email security solutions are now required for blocking spam, phishing, malware, botnets, ransomware, and other email-borne threats.

Email security solutions should offer layered defenses, incorporating antivirus engines to block known malware, sandboxing to identify unknown malware that evades signature-based detection methods, machine learning to identify previously unseen attacks, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to block email impersonation attacks, outbound scanning for data loss protection and to identify potentially compromised mailboxes, and comprehensive threat intelligence feeds to block emerging threats. MSP security services should also incorporate multi-factor authentication to protect against the use of stolen credentials.

Web Security

Email security solutions offer protection from malicious attachments and hyperlinks in emails; however, malware and phishing threats can be encountered through web browsing, such as when employees access their webmail accounts on their work devices. Web security solutions should be incorporated into MSP security stacks to protect against these web-borne threats to block malicious file downloads from the Internet and redirects to malicious websites.

Web security solutions can also help to prevent the use of shadow IT – unauthorized software downloaded from the Internet by blocking downloads of executable files and through content control mechanisms, such as blocking file-sharing and warez sites. Content control can reduce legal risk and improve productivity, as well as block access to risky and malicious websites.

DNS filtering solutions are a key element of MSP security services and provide these protections and controls with no latency, as the controls are applied at the DNS lookup phase of web requests. Traditional web security solutions wait until the threat reaches the perimeter before blocking, but DNS filtering blocks malicious traffic before it gets anywhere near the perimeter, with all filtering performed in the cloud.

Antivirus & Antimalware Software

Antivirus and anti-malware software detects and neutralizes threats once they have been downloaded and serves as a vital last layer of defense. These software solutions are important for security but, being signature-based, they are only useful for detecting known malware threats. Zero-day threats that have not been seen before will not be identified and neutralized. This is why sandboxing in email security solutions is vital.

Clients will most likely already have antivirus software installed, but there are opportunities for improving malware protection by replacing traditional antivirus software with advanced endpoint detection solutions that incorporate behavior-based detection in addition to standard signature-based detection.

Security Awareness Training

One area of security that is often neglected concerns the human element of cybersecurity. Regardless of the cybersecurity solutions that are implemented, threats can be encountered by employees. It is important to create a human firewall as a last line of defense by training the workforce about security best practices and how to identify and avoid threats. Security awareness training can be provided through vendors that have developed effective training content and offer phishing simulation platforms, which test resilience to phishing attacks and other common threats.

Most SMBs lack the time and resources to develop effective training courses and run phishing simulation campaigns, which provides MSPs with another opportunity to improve security for their clients and further increase client spending.

How to Sell MSP Security Services to SMBs

With awareness of the need for improving security growing, many SMBs will understand where security needs to be improved; however, SMBs may need to be convinced before they sanction additional spending on MSP security services. If they don’t understand why additional protections are required, MSPs will need to explain the risks that SMBs face and the potential costs of not improving security.

MSPs should educate their clients on how they need to protect their business, communicate the seriousness of emerging threats, and explain how no single security solution – such as a firewall – is going to cut it. One of the main challenges in offering MSP security services has been convincing SMBs that threats such as phishing, ransomware, and web-based threats are likely to be encountered. The reality is no business is too small to be targeted. For instance, ransomware actors are now targeting SMBs as the heat they face from attacks is far lower than when they attack large enterprises. If MSPs can communicate the need for improved security effectively to their clients, it will be much easier to sell MSP security services.

Challenges Offering Layered Security Solutions

While there is a need to offer layered security to clients, providing those services can be a challenge for an MSP. Each security solution that is incorporated into the MSP security stack must work seamlessly with each other. When multiple security solutions are used, each from different vendors, security gaps may exist that can be exploited. It is important to select solutions that not only complement each other but are also designed to work well with each other.

Cost is another major consideration. Providing layered defenses means multiple products are required, which can make the cost prohibitively expensive for many SMBs. It is important to offer comprehensive MSP security services that provide a high level of protection, but at a cost that is affordable for SMBs. These challenges are easy to overcome by partnering with TitanHQ.

Layered MSP Security from TitanHQ

TitanHQ has been developing security solutions for MSPs for more than two decades and now offers a suite of MSP-friendly security solutions that can easily be implemented to add comprehensive layered protection to MSP service stacks. All TitanHQ security solutions have been developed to work seamlessly with each other and are multi-tenant solutions that can be easily managed through a centralized system, and even incorporated into existing auto-provisioning and management systems through a suite of APIs.

TitanHQ’s product suite consists of award-winning email security, DNS security, security awareness training & phishing simulation, email encryption, and email archiving solutions, which can form the basis of a comprehensive security stack for MSPs. All TitanHQ solutions can be provided in white-label form to MSPs and resellers ready to take their own branding, with these cloud-delivered solutions able to be hosted with TitanHQ, in a private cloud, or within an MSPs own infrastructure.

  • SpamTitan Email Security
  • WebTitan DNS Filtering
  • SafeTitan Security Awareness Training & Phishing Simulations
  • EncryptTitan Email Encryption
  • ArcTitan Email Archiving

If you want to take your business to the next level while improving protection for your clients, contact the TitanHQ channel team today for more information about how TitanHQ products can be used to provide MSP security services and how they can be easily incorporated into your service stack.