Despite the term “cyber attack” now being virtually synonymous with “modern business,” the world has never seen anything like WannaCry before. This new strain of ransomware, also known as WanaCrypt0r and WCry, recently hit computers in 99 countries, spurring 75,000 cases of the ransomware around the world. It was a big one—the big one.
The Shadow Brokers hacking group allegedly used tools stolen from the US National Security Agency (NSA) to attack National Health Service hospitals and facilities around England; the large telecom company Telefonica, the natural gas company Gas Natural and the electrical company Iberdrola in Spain; and organizations in Russia, China, France, Japan and dozens more countries that lack the patching to withstand the blow.
As a managed IT services provider, this news will inevitably leave both you and your clients shaken up. But, there are ways to work around the fear of significant loss: the cry for help that your small- and medium-sized business (SMB) clients need you to answer—and at the crux is communication.
Dealing with cyber attacks at this scale requires a certain level of tact, which must be harnessed by MSPs in order to remain thriving. Your clients are turning to you not just for tech solutions, but for peace of mind. WannaCry serves as a perfect opportunity for MSPs to rethink the way they’re supporting clients, and start building a crisis communication plan to keep businesses intact.
So, where should you begin when explaining how to best combat cyber attacks? Focusing on the following points will undoubtedly prove helpful.
The key to building a trusting partnership is transparency. While you are aiming to keep your clients calm amidst the real possibility of a massive ransomware attack, you shouldn’t sugar-coat anything. You are responsible for understanding new ransomware variants and what it will take to safeguard the SMBs you work with, and then educating them on cybersecurity best practices. This means that you should constantly keep your clients in the loop in terms of vulnerabilities and how to carry out an effective security plan of action that covers both preparation and recovery.
Providing managed security services does not mean you figure out how to help your clients after they’ve already been attacked; taking a proactive approach will really set you apart. Communication is all about the way you choose to deal with the issues at hand—and in this case, speaking to your clients about cybersecurity will be most effective when you’re thinking ahead. In this game, SMBs must strive to be one step ahead of the many emerging and evolving threats that now exist. Therefore, it’s up to the MSP to not only emphasize how pressing this is, but to ensure it’s feasible to proactively prevent ransomware with the proper tools and support.
Attacks—especially those like WannaCry that will likely incite copycats—are clearly scary. Yet, you can keep your clients at ease in the way you deliver your services—ideally baking assurance into your approach. For instance, since everyone now follows the latest cyber news in real time (some of which is not entirely factual nor worth panicking over), the reliable MSP will be right there to confirm accuracy and provide an efficient solution to remaining safe.
MSPs have the power to diminish the strain tied to enduring the dangerous threat landscape—and it is born in the way they communicate.
By Gretchen Hoffman