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As more companies outsource their IT and data workloads, having a strong security posture is becoming increasing critical for managed service providers (MSPs). Malicious actors are constantly seeking new ways to find and exploit vulernabilities. MSPs in particular are being targetted by attackers more and more frequently, putting additional pressure on providers to both shore up on and deliver cybersecurity.

Why are MSPs targeted by hackers? What makes them desirable targets? In a word: access. One MSP can serve hundreds of businesses with thousands of users and devices. But we aren’t powerless against the forces of cybercrime—there’s plenty of actions businesses can and should take to protect themselves.

3 reasons why MSPs are targeted by hackers

#1 MSPs serve multiple clients with an even greater number of endpoints

The MSP channel has been growing rapidly for years, and it has only gained more momentum with accelerated digital transformation during the pandemic. This means more customers are trusting MSPs with more of their business data.

Smaller MSPs might not have the resources or expertise on staff to maintain security infrastructure for a growing number of clients with distributed workforces, making them more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Even a small MSP can serve a massive number of clients, creating the potential for a devastating ripple effect.

#2 An MSP’s distributed network can facilitate widespread attacks

In addition to there being more MSP customers out there for hackers to target, MSP networks are also vulnerable to widespread, distributed attacks. It’s not just about having a lot of victims to exploit, but about hitting them at the same time. These types of attacks are typically associated with ransomware.

#3 MSPs don’t have control over every aspect of a client’s security posture

While an MSP might be given stewardship of a company’s data, they may not be engaged with other security practices such as providing a client’s employees with security training or developing security policies. Many times these tasks are left to internal departments, and its easy for knowledge gaps and discrepancies to form between an MSP’s mandate and the client’s own activity. It’s also possible that the client works with other third-party vendors, adding another layer of complexity.

Multiple entrypoints to multiple troves of sensitive information is unfortunately an MSP’s reality. However, the need for constant cybersecurity vigilance represents a huge opportunity for MSPs to provide clients with education and guidance to address vulnerabilities and prevent attacks from occurring or, at the very least, causing widespread damage.

What MSPs can do to protect themselves

At the very least, MSPs would do well to implement good security practices such as:

  1. Develop strong password policies
  2. Deploy firewalls
  3. Secure your email system against attacks such as phishing
  4. Monitor network traffic for intrusions
  5. Update and patch servers
  6. Encrypt data
  7. Enable multi-factor authentication

Establish a proactive cybersecurity culture

Roll out cybersecurity awareness training and introduce policies that safeguard networks and data. This should be a core part of your MSPs internal operations, but can also represent a revenue-generating opportunity when offered to clients.

Have a solid disaster recovery plan

Take a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity and have a proactive mindset when developing policies, procedures, and response plans for an attack. Ensure all areas of your company are aware of their roles and responsibilites before and after attacks. Engage with any external partners to know how best to plan and prepare actions for attacks if needed.

Identify solutions that can help you stay ahead of the game

Make sure you have the right tools to protect and support the services you provide. As an example, Microsoft 365 is a popular target and vector for cyberattacks, given its widespread use. There are solutions out there (for instance, Office Protect) designed specifically for Microsoft 365 that can help monitor, alert and report on security incidents and suspicious activity across multiple tenants. Endpoint protection and online backup are other examples of key solutions MSPs should have at their disposal.

The right partner can be instrumental for your cybersecurity success

Sherweb is committed to helping MSPs deliver cybersecurity for their clients. We have the necessary services, solutions, resources and expertise to help strengthen your security stack. Explore our Partner Guide for more information about how we can help your business grow.

Grow your MSP business with the right partner

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Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb