MSPs Must Take a Bolder Cybersecurity Stance

Author: Matt Scully, channel chief, Mailprotector

Your business clients are facing a number of significant compliance and cybersecurity-related challenges today. With phishing and ransomware attacks on the rise, and dealing with a global pandemic, organizations are getting hit hard. Many are trying to figure out what comes next and how to adapt their businesses to make it through the coming months. That uncertainty and anxiety are what drives many small business owners to seek the support of an MSP.

Those concerns are just part of the equation. Businesses are also more reliant than ever on the cloud, apps, and a growing list of remote workforce-enabling technologies. On top of those transitions, organizations are storing and managing a tremendous amount of information today, and those figures are growing at an exponential rate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Have you taken a step back and thought about how dependent your clients are becoming on technology and your support? Consider what one employee mistake ‒ clicking a malicious email or visiting an infected website ‒ could do. For many businesses, cyberattacks could cause thousands of dollars in system damages and kill productivity for days, especially in a distributed work environment, without effective protection measures firmly in place.

That’s why cybercriminals are everywhere. Whether nation states or basement-dwelling hackers, many are getting rich off of other peoples’ failures and missteps. The latest ransomware attacks can virtually shut down businesses, and the offenders understand that more than enough affected companies will pay a few thousand dollars in Bitcoin instead of losing $20,000 in system restoration and productivity costs.

The math is quite simple. Based on all the printed cybersecurity horror stories, data restoration costs are rarely lower than the ransom demands of cybercriminals.

Bigger Threats Require Greater Protection

If ransomware and malware don’t frighten your clients, be sure to let them know about social engineering schemes and other vulnerabilities. Security experts continue to track a growing number of threats each year, and the complexity of cybercrimes is rising as quickly as the revenue these perpetrators are collecting. In an era where CaaS (Crime as a Service) options are proliferating, and terms like TorrentLocker, BandarChor, and Teslacrypt are almost commonplace, the SMB needs more help from IT services firms.
Proactive IT security protection has become “business critical,” and those providers with the skills and knowledge to neutralize potential threats are already in high demand. Increasing press coverage of the latest threats and attacks will undoubtedly add fuel to that fire and increase MSPs’ profitability.

The biggest challenge for the channel is that few business leaders still truly understand the threat. Even in a remote work environment, not many will openly acknowledge their SMB is facing the same risks as those enterprise companies in the news. Most small business owners assume their organization is too small to be a target or the employees of other organizations are more careless than their team members. Those notions can be costly.

What many business leaders don’t realize is many common WFH activities‒ browsing hazardous websites, ignoring email security protocols, or operating without VPNs and other protections in place ‒ are putting their people, data, and companies in significant danger.

Misperceptions are challenging for MSPs. No business leader likes you telling them that their current protection measures are ineffective and create potentially crippling vulnerabilities; especially when they already invest heavily in their IT security systems. Those individuals often go on the defensive or work very hard to avoid those conversations.
The SMB needs assurance in these trying security times. When organizational leaders start looking for firms to protect them from all the unknowns ‒ the things that threaten their employees, customers, and livelihoods ‒ MSPs with the most cybersecurity “clout” will get more attention.

Advanced Security is a Current and Future Differentiator

Of course, the best way for MSPs to protect their clients from the latest threats is to build a bolder and more powerful cybersecurity practice. While the “be all things to all people” approach to IT services is not dead ‒ at least not yet – you need to differentiate and emphasize these services today. Advanced cybersecurity support is in demand and SMBs are paying close attention.

Of course, MSPs must be able to give businesses what they promise and promote. Nothing will sink a provider’s reputation faster than underdelivering on cybersecurity protection. It’s nearly impossible to stop a seriously determined hacker or preventing an employee from opening a malicious email (because those activities are nearly impossible to avoid). What will damage an MSP’s reputation is its inability to respond to those serious threats or have a plan for restoring a client’s critical business systems when the inevitable does occur.

There are no guarantees in cybersecurity. However, true professionals build comprehensive protection plans, tailor security tools, best practices, and policies to each specific client’s needs. Managing, if not delivering, employee awareness training is mandatory. Many MSPs partner with other channel specialists to offer many services, including penetration testing, dark web assessments, and Security Operations Center (SOC) support. Cybersecurity is an area where collaboration is not only profitable, but highly recommended. Partnering to deliver a complete protection program is the most cost-effective option.

Cybersecurity is also a highly marketable offering. The SMB is struggling to find its way with all the threats, and many of those companies may not be satisfied with their current providers. With the escalating pressure, some will be looking for true cybersecurity professionals to keep their data, networks, and people safe and secure.

Author Matt Scully is channel chief at Mailprotector. Read more guest blogs from Mailprotector here.

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