Olivier Le Moal - stock.adobe.co

Security rising to the top of the pile for MSPs

Research has indicated an increasing number of SMEs have been targets of cyber attacks and they are reaching out to the channel for support

Even before the coronavirus struck, managed service players were wrestling with the increasing security demands coming from their customers.

Since Covid-19 arrived, there has been a surge in attacks, with criminals trying to exploit remote workers who are isolated and vulnerable to phishing attacks.

There is an increasing recognition among managed service providers (MSPs) that security has become the most pressing concern for customers. The latest annual MSP Benchmark survey (EMEA edition) from Kaseya shines a light on increasing rates of attacks being suffered by users.

The vendor found that 91% of MSPs have seen up to 40% of their customer base suffer a cyber attack in the past year and the topic has risen to the top of the concern pile for customers.

That has resulted in MSPs being approached by more customers for security advice and guidance over the implementation of defence plans. Kaseya also discovered that antivirus and antimalware was the most popular product category in demand across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), followed by backup technology.

The report drilled down into the services being offered by MSPs, with the vast majority offering firewall and virtual private network (VPN) management, along with password management and resetting services.

“MSPs are focused on building up their portfolios of security solutions in response to the growing cyber security threat and rising demand from clients,” said Jim Lippie, senior vice-president of partner development and general manager at Kaseya. “Nearly three-quarters (72%) of EMEA MSPs reported an increase in revenue through security offerings over 2019, which suggests there is a growing demand for security as a service.”

He added that the past couple of months had only accelerated the trend seen last year and heightened the need for MSPs to provide customers with security advice and solutions.

“While the survey was carried out before the Covid-19 pandemic, we expect that the number of businesses looking to MSPs to provide cyber security services will have significantly increased during the crisis,” said Lippie.

“More and more employees working from home has led to increased security threats, caused by everything from larger volumes of home devices connecting to the corporate network to growing incidences of ransomware and phishing attacks. During this volatile time, businesses more than ever need to leverage the expertise of MSPs to help with resource-intensive IT and security needs,” he added.

Others working in the MSP community have also seen increases in attacks, particularly ransomware, as customers are increasingly targeted.

Datto released its annual European state of the channel ransomware report in March, finding that the average ransom requested of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by hackers is increasing and now comes in at around £2,000.

“The potential financial gain is a key motivator for ransomware attacks on MSPs,” said Dan Garcia, senior security engineer at Datto. “The conditions that exist today create an environment where partners are the most efficient way to make a pay day. Rather than having to breach a number of individual companies, attacking a single MSP will allow for access to many potential victims in one fell swoop.”

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