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Written by Henry Gold
on August 28, 2020

Federated Connections: The Secure Way For MSPs to Access Customer Networks

Are you finding secure remote access to your customers’ critical voice and IT networks and systems a challenge?

Need a one tool solution that makes secure remote access easy and allows you to deliver the Quality of Service (QoS) that your customers expect?

As an MSP you're forced to use a patchwork of different secure access tools (for example VPNs) to enter your customers' critical IT and Voice networks and endpoints. The problem with this is:

  • You aren't as productive, as it's hugely time-consuming, as each customer uses a different secure access method
  • The level of service you can deliver is limited, which reduces your revenue
  • It leads to poor work life balance when managing 24/7 delivery
  • The cost to deliver services to support unique access channels for each of your customers is significantly increased

The ideal solution is a secure, easy way to remotely mange, monitor and control your customers’ systems, that meets the challenges of robust service delivery, doesn’t compromise security or the services provided, and which your customer will trust. This sounds like too much to ask for, but a federated (bridged) connection meets all these needs.

What’s a federated connection?

A federated connection is a digital handshake, defined by a Service Contract, and agreed by both parties. This builds a trust relationship between you and your customer’s network that ensures all parties’ technical and security needs are met. One party (either side) controls and manages the connectivity.

NPG diagram 1-1Diagram 1: The federated connection is defined by a service contract between both parties

You and your customer agree on the baseline security methodologies (i.e. encryption, key strength, hashing) and define access rights and controls, including:

  • Security requirements (certifications, tunnel type, authentication) to define:
    • Who is allowed access
    • When access is permitted
    • What devices individuals are allowed to access
    • Whether per connection authorization is required 
  • Encryption and connection controls (including crypto, customer selectable PKI keys, authentication strength)
  • Artifact collection
  • NOC tools connection
  • Shared end-points
  • IP address and secure channel configuration
  • Detection of security techniques, access control, monitoring, and reporting

The federated connection 'contract' set up is a straightforward, step by step, extensible process. Once completed it enables you to access your customer's systems quickly and simply, so you can go in and out with ease. And if new technicians need access, or existing technicians need permission changes, the contract can easily be adjusted. Federated connection contracts can be complex or simple, depending on the complexity of your contract with your customer, and the complexity of their networks and systems.

How does this help?

Using a federated connection for secure remote access:

  • Minimizes the risk of a privileged user security breach
  • Removes the risk of restrictive, inconsistent service delivery infrastructure
  • Delivers a consistent, easily deployable solution that’s trusted by both parties
  • Enables you to deliver the broadest range of high revenue services

NPG diagram 2Diagram 2: The privileged user gateway Service Contract controls the connection between the MSP and the customer

The Future Unleashed

If you're finding secure remote access to your customers’ critical voice and IT networks and systems a challenge then Netgard Privileged Gateway for MSPs is the tool for you. This new secure, pay as you grow, scalable remote access solution from ION Networks, uses a unique federated connection to provide zero trust, secure access to all your customers’ critical voice and data systems. Universal and vendor agnostic, it’s trusted by MSPs and Enterprises alike and can solve all your privileged user access challenges.

Find out more

To find out more about how Netgard Privileged Gateway can help you email henry.gold@apitech.com or visit https://info.apitech.com/netgard-msp


About ION Networks

ION Networks is a trusted name in remote device management and secure access solutions with a 30+ year pedigree in security, access and connectivity solutions. Its remote access solutions enable customers to securely manage, monitor, and maintain high quality of service supporting critical voice and data network infrastructures. Customers include MSPs, enterprises, equipment manufacturers, and government and military agencies.

Founded in 1981, APITech combines industry expertise, innovation and engineering excellence to deliver RF/microwave, electromagnetic, and security solutions. With 1,700+ employees and offices in 16 locations across North America and Europe, APITech delivers reliable solutions for the most rugged environments in the world.

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