Everyone knows that cyber security attacks are a growing concern, but did you know that managed service providers are even more at risk? Hackers are deploying attacks that are specifically targeted towards your business and cleverly designed to infiltrate your system. So why are MSPs targeted by hackers? And what can you do to stop them?

Why Are MSPs Targeted By Hackers?

Reason #1: Multiple Customers (a.k.a. Victims)

A recent study revealed that up to 64% of customers are using some kind of managed services provider for their IT needs. This means that MSPs have more customers than ever before, and are trusted with more data than ever before.

A hacker can make one strategic breach into an MSP and gain access to multiple customers’ information across multiple industries. Instead of targeting these companies individually, they can crack open one door and get access to a whole slew of valuable confidential information.

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Reason #2: Loss of Centralized Control

You as an MSP may be entrusted with a company’s data, but you are often not entrusted with providing security training or developing security policies for your client’s employees. Instead, that’s left up to the internal departments that needed your assistance in the first place and is often overlooked and ignored.

The result of this model is a company full of employees that have had little to no security training, may not be doing the proper updates on their machines, and are unknowingly putting their entire company at risk. And as someone outside the company, you don’t have much you can do about this. So it’s no wonder that most of the targeted MSP attacks are phishing emails—it only takes one undereducated user to bring an entire company down.

Reason #3: Profit

Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein predicts that cybercrime will cost organizations $6 trillion by 2021, doubling what it was in 2015. Whether it be through ransomware attacks that demand payouts of thousands of dollars or through politically motivated attacks that bring large organizations down for days, stripping a company of its data hits it right in the pocketbook. Just one infiltration into an MSP could allow a cybercriminal to distribute many of these attacks across a wide variety of industries. Any way you slice it, MSPs are a juicy target.

How Do You Stop Cyber Attacks?

It’s undeniable that MSPs are a growing target for cybercrime. But what can you do to address this?

The Cost of People

Like most problems in business, the first solution people tend to cling to is throwing manpower and/or money at the issue. And this can work… for a certain staggering cost.

The ISACA predicts that there will be a 2-million-person shortage of security professionals globally by 2019. Even now, just in the United States, employers struggle to fill cybersecurity roles. Indeed.com, one of the leading job sites, has stated that for every 10 cybersecurity jobs posted, only seven people even click on the ads.

As an MSP, you may know you need a cybersecurity professional. You may even have the budget for one. But realistically, you may not be able to hire the right person. And even if you can, the laws of supply and demand show that the cost of a professional with these skills will probably be higher than usual, not counting the cost of training a new hire, the time it takes to get them ramped up, and the risk of them going to a competitor that offers them more money a short time after they are on-boarded. Cybersecurity is the employees’ market right now, which can make things difficult for employers.

So what about your existing employees? Many of your engineers probably have the knowledge to do this or could easily be trained to, and that would be a lot less expensive than hiring someone new, right?

Right—in theory. However, every scrum master will tell you that an engineer’s time is both valuable and highly coveted by everyone in the organization. If you take two people off a project to become your new cybersecurity analysts, what happens to what they were working on before? The project will inevitably be delayed due to loss of manpower, or time training someone else to head up the project, or time to hire a new engineer.

So what’s an MSP to do in this situation? There’s clearly a huge issue that needs solving. The only solution that seems obvious is costly and risky for the organization. What else is there to help?

The Answer: Office Protect

Office 365 is a prime target for hackers. Phishing links and emails are the easiest way to attack an MSP’s customers due to the “loss of control” aspect we discussed earlier. Office Protect has several key features to help you protect against this without the cost of adding additional manpower.

Experience Simplicity

Office Protect is a way to make managing Office 365 security simple. You can run everything from a centralized, easy-to-understand dashboard—all the tools and reports you need are always located on a single pane of glass. With this solution, it will take no additional training or IT experience for anyone in your organization to understand what is happening in your environment or what to do to fix a problem.

This solution also comes with built-in templates that make it easy to set the appropriate security levels for each of your clients. Customize without complication.

Stay Ahead of the Game

Office Protect will audit log-ins and email habits in order to flag anything unusual so you can address a problem before it becomes a disaster. These notifications will allow you to be proactive and let your clients know if anything suspicious is happening in their organization. Impress your clients by stopping threats before they start.

You can also do things like enable multi-factor authentication for every user and set outbound spam notifications so only the right people access sensitive data.

Know What’s Happening

Office Protect also provides easy-to-read reports for you to analyze every month. You’ll never have to wonder what’s going on in your customers’ environment again. Simply log on and have all the answers you need. You can even export these reports to Excel for easy sharing and analysis.

Taking Security to the Next Level

The advancement of cyber crime has made IT a more challenging field to work in, especially for MSPs. Fortunately, the “good guys” are working just as hard as the criminals, and there are ever-advancing technologies like Office Protect that help you help your clients.

Written by Sophie Furnival Content Specialist @ SherWeb

Sophie is SherWeb's Marketing Communications Strategist.