In the growing and evolving cyber threat landscape, how can managed services providers (MSPs) ensure that they’re delivering on their promise to secure and protect their clients at all times? Let’s face it, managing and monitoring cyber threats is not an easy task. MSPs are now under immense pressure to be the IT security superhero for their clients, but if you haven’t yet established a security offering, it may stunt your MSP growth.
Luckily, there are tools out there that can help you uphold your commitment to security, even amongst the major threats that are merged with business today. Let’s take a look at the three most crucial cyber threats MSPs need to be aware of in 2017 and how you can keep your clients protected from them.
Malware and Ransomware
As I’m sure we’re all aware, modern business is consistently being threatened by malware and ransomware. Most recently, the Petya ransomware—which was part of new wave of ransomware attacks—spread its way across 65 countries in a matter of hours. For small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), these types of attacks can be especially damaging.
Ransomware is a special type of malware that is designed to take a company's data, encrypt it, and hold it for ransom. Unless the ransom is paid—which can cost about $679 on average— the company may never get back its critical information. What would happen if your clients’ IT systems were wiped out, or they wouldn’t be able to contact any customers? Business operations would halt, profits would be lost and if they can’t recover, the business could shut down for good. Therefore, these SMBs need to be more prepared now than ever.
Fighting Malware and Ransomware
Luckily, malware and ransomware are some of the easiest types of attacks to defeat—if there is a comprehensive data protection plan in place. Properly fighting these attacks requires early detection, regular data backups, and thorough network management and scanning.
As an MSP, you can ensure that your clients always have up-to-date copies of their essential data with a robust, reliable backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution. BDR can help avoid extended downtime and its associated costs. I can also help provide true business continuity by offering the capabilities to instantly roll back an archive of files to their uninfected state and immediately access those clean files. So, if an organization is struck by ransomware, they’ll be able to re-deploy their data without having to pay any hefty penalties.
Also, an intelligent remote monitoring and management (RMM) solution can keep an eye on the health of your clients’ systems and prevent attacks from spreading. With an RMM solution, you’ll have the insights you need to detect potential threats and spring into action.
Socially Engineered Attacks
Social engineering attacks are one of the sneakiest cyber threats out there because they involve the art of manipulating people so they give up confidential information. Typically, these attacks involve email or another form of communication that invokes urgency, fear or similar emotions in the victim that leads them to take prompt action. Malware and other viruses can be invited into an organization’s system when an employee carelessly clicks on a link in a spam email or unknowingly shares company or personal information that is confidential. Social engineering hinges on the concept of human trickery because an uneducated or oblivious employee can inadvertently compromise sensitive data and cost a company tons of money.
Preventing Social Engineering Attacks
Because social engineering involves a human element, preventing these attacks can be tricky. As an MSP, you can leverage education, monitoring tools and backup to help combat these attacks.
Education is a key piece here, because if employees know what to look out for, they will become more vigilant and act as a much-needed layer of security. Similarly, you can offer clients an RMM solution that’s coupled with antivirus software, so you can be more proactive in preventing social engineering and other cyber attacks from occurring. Lastly, if an employee were to fall for a social engineering scam and their IT systems were compromised, the only way to return to business as usual is to offer a BDR solution. BDR will ensure that your clients have reliable and recent backups and that their essential data can be restored to an undamaged state should their data become compromised.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Many experts in the IT industry believe that there will exceed 40 billion devices connected to the internet by the year 2020. Driving this number is the Internet of Things (IoT). There is an increase in connectivity as our homes, workplaces, cars and WiFi hot spots will have dozens of devices connecting to the internet from wherever you are. But, all this connectivity is also problematic as each device that connects to the IoT can be hacked.
The reality is: more connected devices mean more attack vectors and more possibilities for hackers to target your clients. From printers to smartphones, IoT is growing, and many of these devices are not secured. They can become a source of threat to privacy, as hackers can exploit them to steal information or gather data. And it’s not just device users that are threatened by this; businesses are dealing with these kinds of threats daily.
Securing the Internet of Things
To protect against potential intrusions or exploits, organizations can partner with you to constantly monitor these devices and help keep their firmware up to date.
One way MSPs can help secure the IoT is to offer mobile device management (MDM). With the growing popularity for BYOD, more and more smartphones are entering the workforce and connecting to the corporate network. Therefore, MSPs need to ensure these devices are secure and protected. With an MDM solution, clients can have the ability to completely wipe that device clean and eliminate the risk of a data breach. Adding MDM to your security approach can help restrict which devices can connect to the network. Also, MDM allows SMBs to keep work and play separate, and ensures that all endpoints are protected against the growing IoT and potential security threats.
There are undoubtedly many cybersecurity threats that have emerged throughout 2017 and that will become even more devastating in 2018. MSPs are now be in charge of monitoring and managing these threats, but with the proper tools and solutions in place, you can be a trusted and valued IT provider for your clients.
By Lily Teplow
By Gretchen Hoffman