MSP Hardware & Cyber Attack Vulnerability
Amidst the ever-increasing threat of cyber attacks, we know that managed and cloud service provider (MSP and CSP) vulnerabilities are of great concern to businesses. MSP and CSP are absolutely crucial in modern businesses’ management of digital assets, but by nature are also common attack targets. For the most part, this all has to do with digital vulnerabilities. The problem of ransomware, for instance, is arguably the biggest cybersecurity issue of our time, and unfortunately, it is one that comes up with regard to MSP and CSPs.
As much as this potential threat should be treated as a priority, however, MSP hardware is also a factor in comprehensive protection against cyber attacks. After all, while companies are under no obligation to use equipment specifically from their MSPs, it is usually recommended. It allows MSPs to play a more direct and seamless role in IT integration and upkeep, avoiding any potential issues with less capable or compatible computers or servers.
Where the hardware is concerned though, it is important to remember that there is still some potential for problems that essentially amount to cyber vulnerabilities. To this end, the following questions should be considered:
Are the circuit boards tested?
At the heart of all relevant pieces of hardware is a printed circuit board (PCB) or the motherboard that controls and enables all other functions. And believe it or not, these circuit boards are actually thought of as potential cyber vulnerabilities. Various types of hacks throughout the design and development process can render the boards ineffective, or potentially cause them to expose sensitive information.
Hacks can be detected, however, through proper diligence. Today’s circuit board engineers utilize high-density interconnect techniques, which not only allows components to work in a unified environment, but opens the PCB for alterations and fixes before it is manufactured. If a company is aware that its hardware runs on well-tested circuit boards, it can be more at ease that any hacking attempts would have been spotted as discrepancies at one test point or another.
Is the supply chain transparent?
Supply chain transparency is also a key factor in ensuring hardware security. Hardware attacks “take advantage of vulnerability” in supply chains. This means you need to find ways to compromise computing material while it is en route from a manufacturer to a business, and it’s not an unheard-of problem.
In fact, even some of the circuit board hacks alluded to above can take place over the course of the shipping and delivery processes (particularly if multiple bad actors are working together, though this is a more elaborate sort of attack). Unfortunately, there are few, if any, ways to completely eliminate the possibility of an attack in the supply chain. But MSPs and the businesses they work with can still strive to work with transparent supply chains so as to feel as secure as possible about the process.
Does the piece of hardware have physical integrity and protection?
With so much of our cybersecurity focus today revolving around digital threats, considering the physical can seem like overkill. But these are cheap and easy considerations. Plus, they help to add one more layer of reassurance regarding computing integrity. Chosen devices need to be sturdy and must be shipped as such. External security measures, such as locks and passcodes, should also be used where it is appropriate.
There are many factors that many fail to consider when working with MSPs, and cybersecurity is one of them. And while digital threats are a primary concern in this field, one can never be too careful in the hardware department as well.