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MSPs under pressure to solve customer security challenges

Latest SonicWall threat report shines light on role that managed service players are increasingly expected to play

SonicWall has urged its managed service provider (MSP) base to heed the findings from its latest Threat report and evolve the security support they provide customers.

The vendor has sifted through the research and identified a user trend that has a direct impact on MSPs.

“The SonicWall 2024 Threat report reveals that the threat landscape continues to grow in complexity and depth as threat actors adopt new tactics and platforms,” said SonicWall President and CEO Bob VanKirk.

“It has become clear that conventional network security isn’t enough. Security professionals need assistance to cope with the overwhelming volume of cyber attacks and protect from the endpoint to the cloud. Especially as the cloud becomes an indispensable reality for businesses, the role of MSPs is shifting from technical maintenance to raising the bar on their customers security posture,” he added.

The pressure to become more of a trusted security adviser is largely due to the increasing complexity of the threats that users are facing and the need for greater guidance around data protection methods.

The main findings from the Threat report included the revelation that an increasing number of customers are turning to MSPs to help pick up the slack on their security needs.

Globally, attack numbers increased year-on-year (YoY) by 20%, totalling more than one billion attempts, driven by increased ransomware, cryptojacking and encrypted threats. SonicWall discovered 293,989 “never-before-seen” malware variants during the period.

The evolution of threats has increased the pressure on MSPs to quickly identify and remediate against emerging issues.

The second half of the year saw a surge of attacks, with increased volumes of ransomware, internet of things (IoT) exploits, intrusion attempts and encrypted threats.

“When it comes to protecting your most valuable assets, organisations must remain alert, and deploy proactive cyber security measures, and focus on the threats that actually matter,” said SonicWall executive vice-president of managed security services, Michael Crean.

“Today’s organisations demand an integrated approach for end-to-end managed threat protection enabling MSPs to help customers navigate the cyber security landscape with confidence and resilience – giving them a distinct competitive edge,” he added.

Alex Tsukanov, CTO at SonicWall partner Compass MSP, said that the pressure was on managed service providers to protect customers in an increasingly malicious environment.

“In an era where cyber threats are increasingly sophisticated, MSPs are the frontline defense protecting their customers and helping them spend more of their time managing their business’ needs,” he said.

“New threats are emerging every day, and MSPs use threat insights to build an actual plan with the necessary capabilities to keep our customers safe,” he added.

SonicWall report’s main findings

  • Malware global volumes increased by 11% in 2023, although the UK was a bright spot with a decline of 28%;
  • Ransomware declined by 30% YoY, but it had started to rebound in the second half of the year, so the threat will likely grow again in 2024;
  • IoT exploits globally were up by 15%, with the expansion in connected devices increasing network vulnerabilities;
  • Encrypted threats were a major area of malicious activity, with a 117% global increase.

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