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MSPs guarding themselves against ransomware fallout

No one wants to be blamed after an attack, least of all the managed service provider, and more are taking steps to ensure they are not in the firing line

Managed service providers are taking the issue of ransomware more seriously after it emerged that the finger of blame would often point their way after a customer suffered an attack.

Research towards the end of last year from Datto found that across Europe an increasing number of MSPs were reporting attacks on their customer base.

There have been further reports that have added weight to the picture of an SME market that is facing more cyber security challenges and the conclusions have been the same: that the relationship with an MSP is crucial.

Last month Webroot found that almost half of UK SMEs feared that a cyber attack could put them out of business.

"Working with the right cybersecurity partner or managed service provider (MSP) to develop the right strategy for their size will allow smaller businesses to prioritise the activities that matter most and help them grow," said Paul Barnes, senior director, product strategy at Webroot.

“SMBs can no longer consider themselves too small to be targets. They need to use their nimble size to their advantage by quickly identifying risks and educating everyone in the business of how to mitigate those risks, because people will always be the first line of defence," he added.

Ryan Weeks, chief information security officer at Datto, was also keen to stress the importance of the relationship between the channel and customer.

"It’s not always a question of is the MSP doing enough as attackers adapt techniques and delivery mechanisms to evade technology and the ultimate risk comes from vulnerabilities in end users who click links and open suspicious attachments. A partnership between the MSP and their end user is needed to truly drive down occurrences along with a healthy dose of layered technology defenses that are known to effectively interrupt the attack chain," he said.

Although it is difficult for the blame after an attack to be clearly assigned to an MSP the fear it might be is driving more to ensure they are not put into that position.

"We certainly see MSPs taking the threat seriously and feeling the weight of defending their end users from successful attacks. At the end of the day, MSPs that claim to provide cyber defense from attacks like ransomware need to make sure they have appropriate measures in place to reduce the likelihood of attacks, a solid recovery plan that is threat modeled and battle-tested as well as a good insurance cyber insurance policy," said Weeks.

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