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Scanning news headlines on any given day is likely to reveal yet another security breach, new cyber threats, or a recently discovered vulnerability in popular software. Previously, viruses could be attributed to single perpetrators, but current cyber security threats are led by highly experienced teams of cyber-criminals who are hell-bent on stealing company data.

While large organizations can leverage expensive resources to improve their security, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) turn to their managed service providers (MSPs) for more affordable help. And that’s where you come in.


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A Growing Need to Deal With Cyber Security Threats

With continually emerging cyber threats, there’s been a surge in IT security spending across the globe. Gartner forecasts that this market will reach a value of $124 billion in 2019—an 8.7% increase from 2018.

As security risks grow, MSPs are increasingly stepping into the IT security industry to provide reliable solutions to clients. If they don’t, they’ll lose them to someone who does.

However, not even MSPs are safe from cyber security threats. In fact, there have been multiple hacking attempts targeted at MSPs themselves, with the intent of stealing critical client data stored on their servers.

A 2016 study conducted by professional services provider PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) uncovered a global cyber espionage campaign conducted by a team of renowned hackers known as APT10. Their modus operandi? Accessing client files by directly targeting their outsourced services providers.

This type of backdoor approach grants hackers access to multiple organizations by only hacking one. The APT10 case is yet another testament to the growing need for security services—not only for MSPs but also for the clients they serve.

Additionally, as the number of phishing emails and ransomware attacks has increased, the cost of data breaches has also gone up over the years. According to a study conducted by IBM in 2018, the global average cost of a data breach went up by 6.4% since 2017, reaching $3.86 million.

Responding to the Growing Need for Security


MSPs are at the forefront of technological innovations that they can integrate into their business. From migration to the cloud to digitization business processes, MSPs are on the lookout for disruptive technologies that can help them better serve their clients.

However, the biggest area for growth remains that of current cyber security services. The growing cost of data breaches has pushed MSPs to provide their clients with better security systems that can survive this new wave of cyber attacks, and to invest in new security offerings. In fact, according to the 2018 MSP 501 annual survey conducted by Channel Futures, 73% of all respondents stated that security was their fastest-growing service.

Despite growing demand for security, MSPs, by large, have yet to integrate enterprise-grade security services in their offerings. Hence, with an increased focus on security concerns, MSPs need to start providing effective solutions or risk losing business to competitors.


The Way Forward for MSPs

As cybercriminals become more organized, it’s only logical that our security systems should follow suit. An effective security strategy includes a deep understanding of the client, as well as the risks specific to their industry.

Below are some tips for integrating security solutions into your offering.


Don’t Mix Compliance with Security—Provide Both

Typically, MSPs are content with meeting the bare minimum—that is, government data protection compliance. But while compliance is necessary, it doesn’t translate to absolute security.

Take Target’s data breach of more than 40 million records as an example. Just a quarter before it publicly announced the breach, the company had passed a qualified PCI audit.

Clearly, compliance alone isn’t sufficient for protecting your clients. In addition, MSPs now have to to offer the safest possible environment against cyber threats.


Provide Clients with Customized Solutions

Each client presents a different problem that needs a unique solution. They have different processes, operate in a specific industry, utilize different equipment and tools, and adhere to specific industry rules and regulations.

MSPs cannot successfully market the same generic security solution to each client. Solutions need to be customized to account for these differences in operations and the client’s specific industry.

For instance, a financial services client has access to confidential and sensitive data that could be stolen to cause significant harm. MSPs need to provide such clients with data encryption technology, as well as remote access technology that allows users to wipe data in case of a security breach or device theft.

At the same time, each industry is governed by a different regulatory authority, with a different set of rules. This means that MSPs have to be familiar with technical nuances across multiple industries and adjust their security strategies accordingly.


Don’t Just Rely on Traditional Defenses to Cyber Security Threats

A study by Ponemon Institute discovered that 77% of all successful attacks in 2017 utilized fileless techniques. Hackers bypassed the traditional legacy security measures that had been put in place by organizations, including firewalls, anti-virus software, and email spam and malware filters.

Legacy security systems have been made obsolete by rapid changes in technology and increasingly sophisticated cyber crime. The complicated security landscape means that MSPs are tasked with securing the client’s data against various attacks. To combat emerging threats, MSPs need to utilize the best tools, not outdated ones.


Equip Your Service with the Latest Tool: Office Protect

Microsoft 365 is one of the top application suites deployed across the world, and is commonly used by both large enterprises and small-scale businesses.

As the core data center for employee records, personal details, and organizational secrets, Microsoft 365 is a goldmine for hackers—but it also presents an immense growth opportunity for you as an MSP.

That’s where a solution like Office Protect shines. Designed to increase SMB security, Office Protect provides:

  • Centralized Access: An easy-to-understand yet effective dashboard that has all the tools and reports you need to better manage your environment’s security.
  • Proactive Monitoring: Instead of reacting to a security breach, Office Protect is constantly on the lookout for threats. It can detect and prevent security threats in real time.
  • Human Error Prevention: Users—especially those without proper training—are prone to accidentally exposing their personal information via Email or Calendar. Often, people also use their company accounts to send spam emails. Office Protect helps ensure that user error does not compromise an organization’s security.
  • Best Practice Security Settings: Office Protect has a number of unique security settings to protect its users and their data. These include an audit log that’s always enabled (and that re-enables itself if turned off), multi-factor authentication, spam notifications and security alerts, and much more.

The most successful MSPs capitalize on industry trends in order to grow their client base. Nearly every company stores sensitive data, and security concerns are at an all-time high. By investing in the right security tools, you can position yourself competitively in this growing market and help protect your clients.

Interested in learning more about how Office Protect works? Get in touch with one of our specialists for a demo.

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb

As a value-added cloud solutions provider, Sherweb is dedicated to providing more for its partners, direct customers and extended network. The Sherweb Blog is just one example of how we make this happen, and our team members frequently collaborate on content to ensure it's as beneficial as possible for our readers. If you like what you see here, we strongly encourage you to subscribe!