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Comprehensive Endpoint Security is a Business Imperative for MSPs

Here are the facts: According to a recent report on the health of the MSP industry, 79% of businesses in the space offer some form of endpoint security.

From the same report, however, we see that MSP customer churn is very high – an MSP may gain five customers every month, but they’ll almost certainly lose four others. In addition, while endpoint security is very common, it is rarely sufficiently comprehensive. This is to say that most MSPs define endpoint security as a combination of technologies that include antivirus, a firewall, and maybe URL filtering. These technologies were enough to protect most endpoints at one point — but not anymore.

Comprehensive endpoint security has to include more advanced technologies in addition to the standards. Without these technologies, endpoint security is weak. Your customers know that more advanced technologies are available — and it may be  possible to draw a line between high customer churn rates and a lack of comprehensive endpoint security options.

Maybe it’s time to reevaluate the components of your endpoint security offering.

Endpoint Security is More Than Antivirus

There is a widespread belief among users that endpoint security and antivirus are the same thing. Endpoint protection is more than just a single technology, however. It’s a collection of technologies and policies that helps prevent attackers from accessing valuable information off endpoints, infecting endpoints with malware, and using the network to spread from one endpoint to another.

If your endpoint protection solution consists of antivirus alone, you should expect to keep losing customers. Public confidence in antivirus is very low – and for good reason. The 2018 Ponemon Report on endpoint security risks shows that antivirus products failed to intercept 57% of malware. In the meantime, small businesses are enduring an increased cost for endpoint breaches – up to $763 per compromised machine.

By introducing more comprehensive endpoint security, your MSP can accomplish a number of positive outcomes:

  • Differentiation: The rate of customer churn in the MSP industry suggests that customers see one MSP as being more-or-less the same as another. By offering more comprehensive endpoint security, you demonstrate to customers that you stand out from the pack.
  • Trust: Once again, the rate of customer desertion suggests that customers don’t trust their MSPs to provide the security they want. When you demonstrate comprehensive endpoint security, you provide a host of more advanced technologies and processes that give customers increased access control and an ability to mitigate threats.

By giving customers more control and an enhanced ability to repel attackers, you’ll establish a foundation of trust that will lead to more renewals and repeat business. With that said, what are the elements of endpoint protection that your MSP needs to incorporate?

The Seven Critical Elements of Comprehensive Endpoint Security

Defending an endpoint means orchestrating defense in depth. Here are the endpoint protection tools that make up the seven critical elements of endpoint security.


It’s not enough on its own – but it’s a start. Ordinary antivirus works by comparing unknown files to known malware signatures. If you update your antivirus, it will catch most known threats – but the unknown threats will get you.


Firewalls protect the endpoint by filtering out potentially harmful network traffic. Although the effectiveness of firewalls has been on the decline – they don’t protect laptops when they’re used out of the office – they provide considerable security for on-premise devices.

URL Filtering

Here’s a scenario: One of your users goes to a popular website and accidentally types in “.cm” instead of “.com”. While .cm is a valid TLD belonging to Cameroon, over 35% of .cm sites host malware – so your user likely just got a virus. Use URL filtering to block these and other potentially dangerous websites.

The three items above are a good start in terms of endpoint security – but unfortunately, they’re also where a lot of security programs end. For a more comprehensive approach, the items below represent newer and more effective ways to protect your clients.

Zero-Trust Policies

Due to the rise of SaaS applications, there’s a lot more mission-critical traffic crossing your perimeter. Malware traffic can find it easy to hide in that stream of data. Your solution is to implement a zero-trust policy – all traffic is potentially harmful and should be authenticated and confined in a virtual network segment where it can’t move laterally.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Despite all of our efforts, it is truly easy for attackers to steal and guess our passwords. Multi-factor authentication makes our passwords useless to those who would steal them, however. Done right, strong MFA can prevent 100% of targeted attacks.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

EDR improves on the traditional antivirus concept. While an unknown threat may not match a known signature, it will still behave like malware – attempting to copy, edit move, encrypt, or delete your files. When you rely on behavioral detection, you can theoretically detect attacks based on zero-days or file-less malware, which now comprise over 75% of successful breaches.

Remote Browser Isolation (RBI)

Your web browser is a major point of weakness, with most malware infections occurring via phishing attacks that make use of the browser to perform drive-by-downloads and other techniques. You can block those attacks by using RBI. This technique involves hosting a browser in a secure container, either in the cloud or the DMZ. Content is streamed to the users’ browsers, where they can fully interact with it using their default browser of choice. Any malware that reaches the secure container is trapped there and destroyed when the session ends.

Protecting your clients doesn’t have to be difficult. These seven tools and techniques provide complete endpoint security coverage for MSP clients, allowing them to work safely. On the MSP side, you earn customer trust, allowing you to reduce churn and increase revenue. Providing comprehensive endpoint security is a win-win for both your MSP and your clients.

Thanks, Mendy Newman for your contribution. Mendy has over two decades of experience in architecting, delivering and implementing cybersecurity and software solutions to customers worldwide.

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