IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

How MSPs Can Best Address the Ransomware Crisis

Follow the federal government’s recommended best practices, and make proactive cybersecurity, data protection, immutable storage, and orchestrated recovery a priority. By Andy Zollo

The Kaseya ransomware attack launched over the July 4th weekend hit managed service providers (MSPs) like an artillery shell. In the single largest global ransomware attack ever, hackers leveraged a vulnerability in Kayesa's remote monitoring software. The attack hit roughly 60 MSPs and thousands of customers downstream.

Following the attack, Deputy National Security Advisor at the White House, Anne Neuberger, issued a statement saying President Joe Biden had "directed the full resources of the government to investigate this incident."

The Biden administration has been ramping up its efforts for months now, as ransomware attacks have accelerated in strength and scope. A May 12 executive order by President Biden titled "Improving the Nation's Cybersecurity" states that "the United States faces persistent and increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber campaigns that threaten the public sector, the private sector and ultimately the American people's security and privacy… Much as our homes have locks and alarm systems and our office buildings have guards and security to meet the threat of theft, we urge you to take ransomware crime seriously and ensure your corporate cyber defenses match the threat."

MSPs Must Raise Their Game

As the Kaseya attack demonstrated, MSPs are in hackers' crosshairs, and they must do more to defend themselves and protect their customers. It is a necessity not only to protect their operations but to ensure their viability in the marketplace. Because nowadays, when potential customers choose an MSP and consider what they need, a high level of cybersecurity is at or near the top of their list.

Businesses of every size in every industry recognize that no company is safe from ransomware. That's because every business has data that is valuable to it—which, in turn, makes the data valuable to hackers. Cyberattackers will go after that data because they know desperate business owners will pay to get it back. And they will often start with the MSP. 

MSPs are an attractive target for hackers because they run IT systems and networks for many different clients. With a single attack, the hackers can take hostage the critical data of not just one company but many companies—and then put that data up for ransom at a very high price. Hackers also recognize that MSPs feel the heat to pay up quickly. After all, if an MSP succumbs to ransomware, its customers could not only lose access to their data—they could also lose faith in the MSP.

MSPs that effectively and proactively manage the ransomware onslaught will be at a significant competitive advantage. Not only will they secure their operations, but they can also grow their business by helping customers fight off attacks. MSPs can play a vital role in educating their clients to better understand the current threat landscape and arming them with the tools they need to lock their critical data.

It is important to remember that no one is immune when it comes to ransomware. Ransomware attacks will inevitably happen, and data will be compromised. But MSPs that make proactive cybersecurity, data protection, immutable storage, and orchestrated recovery a priority will be richly rewarded. That means you should look for technology partners that offer complete solutions and give them the best fighting chance. You should also look for vendors that are 100% committed to protecting their clients and won't run and hide when an incident happens.

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