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Cybersecurity Tips

3 Reasons Why MSPs Should Invest in Cybersecurity More than Ever

By SolarWinds Passportal

As organizations across industries move more of their operations online, crime is happy to follow suit. In fact, the World Economic Forum’s “Global Risks Report 2020” identifies cybercrime as the second most-concerning risk for global commerce throughout the next decade. With cybercriminals and their attack methods becoming more sophisticated by the day, businesses with inadequate cybersecurity measures put themselves at great risk of losing revenue, data, their brand reputations, and more. 

For managed services providers (MSPs) tasked with managing cybersecurity efforts for their customers, the importance—and the risks—of their role have never been greater. 

Why does cybersecurity matter? 

To provide a simple answer, cybersecurity in 2020 is more important than ever because cybercrimes are more prevalent and sophisticated than ever. The annual Cost of a Data Breach Report conducted by the Ponemon Institute analyzed 524 breaches that occurred between August 2019 and August 2020 in organizations of all sizes. This year, the report found the average cost of a breach was a whopping $3.86 million, which is enough to seriously cripple—if not destroy—the average business.  

Despite some consistent findings in this annual report, 2020 was also an exceptional year in many ways. The novel coronavirus pandemic disrupted business operations across industries, and many organizations were forced to shift to remote work models. According to survey results in the report, 76% of respondents whose organizations are now working remotely expect this shift is likely to increase the time it takes to identify and contain a data breach. 70% of these respondents also believe remote working is likely to increase the overall cost of a data breach. 

With these unique new vulnerabilities to consider (and with opportunistic hackers willing to exploit any advantages), it’s clear that cybersecurity needs to become a priority for all modern businesses. To better understand the types of cybersecurity measures you need to take in 2020, it’s helpful to start by examining some of the most popular types of attacks that cybercriminals employ. While 25% of data breaches were caused by system glitches and 23% were down to human error, the majority (52%) of data breaches were rooted in malicious attacks. These malicious attacks were also the most expensive, with an average cost of $4.27 million—nearly $1 million more than breaches caused by a glitch or human error. 

To provide further insight into what sorts of attacks your cybersecurity needs to prevent, here are some example threats that cybercriminals deployed in 2020:

  • Malware—this software performs a malicious activity on a target device or network, corrupting data or taking control of the system. 
  • Phishing—this is an email-based social engineering attack that involves tricking the recipient of the email into disclosing sensitive information or downloading malware. 
  • Man in the middle—this involves the attacker intercepting messages between the sender and recipient, and sometimes modifying them in transit. 
  • Trojans—these attacks involve a type of malware that enters the target system by pretending to be something safe (i.e., a piece of trusted software), then launching a malicious code once inside the host system.  
  • Ransomware—this involves encrypting data on the target system and demanding a ransom in exchange for returned data access. 
  • Denial of service or distributed denial of service—this cyberthreat entails an attacker taking over numerous devices and using them to invoke the functions of the target system.  

The importance of internal MSP cybersecurity

To help you understand the importance of internal MSP cybersecurity, here is a practical example of how a lack of effective cybersecurity measures might affect an MSP. Let’s say you’re an MSP that provides managed services for several small and medium-sized businesses. Things are going well—you’ve spent ample time and money securing your customers’ systems, and it feels as though it’s paid off. 

However, one day your customers’ systems all go down simultaneously. Your customers and your team are panicking—and you yourself aren’t certain where to start with rectifying this issue. To even understand what you need to tackle, you must start by spending hours bringing your systems back online. From there, it’s a long and arduous process to restore systems and data back to full health.

By the time you’ve succeeded in finding and implementing a solution, you’ve lost money, your customers are dissatisfied, and many are considering leaving for one of your competitors. In this example, overlooking internal security measures has disastrous consequences on your customers’ cybersecurity. MSPs are increasingly becoming a target for cybercriminals who’ve realized MSPs hold the keys to the metaphorical kingdom—gaining access to a services provider’s systems generally means gaining access to all of their customers’ systems as well.

In this hypothetical case, a cybercriminal successfully hacked into your systems by exploiting a weak password used for several systems and gained access to customer credentials. From there, it’s all too easy to launch attacks on your customer base. By overlooking your internal security, you’ve left a backdoor open for hackers and compromised your customers’ security in the process. Worst of all, 78% of small businesses hit by a ransomware attack never recover. 

In short, to ensure you’re not putting your customers’ at risk of going out of business entirely, it’s just as important to implement stringent cybersecurity measures within your own MSP. Good cybersecurity starts internally—without robust internal cybersecurity measures in place, you lack the necessary foundation to safeguard your customers’ data. 

Why should MSPs invest in their own internal security?

As mentioned above, recent years have seen cybercriminals begin to target MSPs more frequently. As organizations with access to a wealth of customer data, MSPs are widely considered to be valuable targets by cybercriminals. In fact, the rise of cyberattacks on MSPs has been so notable that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an official statement of warning in 2018 regarding attacks on MSPs. 

Beyond this, here are some of the top three areas that stand to be negatively affected if you fail to properly secure your organization: 

1. Reputation

As an MSP, your security is completely intertwined with your customers’ security. If you’re breached, they will—in all likelihood—also experience a breached. If this happens due to a lack of attention to your security strategy, you’ll end up inadvertently doing a lot of damage to your reputation. It’s important to remember that businesses communicate with each other, and many referrals happen via word-of-mouth. If your security services fail to protect your customers, word will quickly get out, and building your reputation back up again will generally be a slow and painful process. 

2. Cost

When a breach occurs, it inevitably costs money. Restoring your systems and data to full health is time-consuming and resource intensive. Moreover, if one of your affected customers works in a regulated industry, discovering the extent of the breach could leave you seriously out of pocket—you may even face paying fines for non-compliance . 

3. Lost customers

If a breach occurs and your customers are affected, it’s very possible you could lose their business entirely. If a customer loses faith in your ability to protect their time, money, and data, then they’ll likely replace your services with a competitor’s. Additionally, keep in mind that if you lose a customer due to a security breach, you may also unknowingly lose several future customers who would have otherwise been referred by them.

Overall, cybersecurity will require dedicated focus as cybercrime continues to evolve. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways to undermine the newest cybersecurity technology, and investing properly in cybersecurity is the best way for MSPs to protect themselves and their customers. 

Building your MSP’s cybersecurity toolkit

For MSPs who understand the risks and potential consequences of poor internal cybersecurity, investing in a robust cybersecurity toolkit is a no-brainer. SolarWinds® Passportal provides an ideal solution to evolving cyberthreats by securing an encrypted and efficient password and credential management solution. This software was built specifically for MSPs, and its array of advanced capabilities are designed to be deployed conveniently to different customers. 

Passportal is an encrypted password management and IT documentation solution that offers credential injection, auditing, reporting, password change automation, and privileged client documentation management. To best protect your customers’ accounts (and the sensitive data within), it helps you implement password management best practices, storing credentials and sensitive information in an encrypted password vault. For added security, the vault is further secured with multi-factor authentication and role-based permissions.

All in all, SolarWinds Passportal is a comprehensive and sophisticated password management solution that’s a valuable add to any MSP’s toolkit. To start investing in better cybersecurity today, access a Passportal demo here

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