Tough Times Require Strong Security: The Top 4 Critical Strategies To Keep Your Cybersecurity Up To Date

As an MSP, you face myriad challenges. You’re the IT “jack of all trades” on the hook for break-fix responses, network outages, cloud-based workflow migration, and cybersecurity. With this responsibility comes the varied management of digital transformation projects and the day-to-day IT operations that keep your clients’ businesses up and running.

Not only are you managing your clients’ IT infrastructure, applications, and workflow processes, but you also have to be a master of multiple tools unique to the trade, such as remote monitoring and management (RMM), professional service automation (PSA) software, and more. Topping it off, everything you do has to be secure.

Challenging this status quo is the realization that we face uncertain times. When economic challenges occur, the natural response is to cut back and take a “wait and see” approach. This leads to project stagnation, or worse, complete elimination of planned IT initiatives, resulting in unintended consequences. As businesses aim to cut IT expenses, they inadvertently cut cybersecurity too.

Hackers know this, as evidenced by the increase in attacks that targeted small businesses in 2008 when the recession began. Threat actors bank on small businesses taking a reactive approach to cybersecurity. They understand many small businesses believe a hacker wouldn’t target them because of their size.

Also, they know from experience that small businesses use a hodgepodge mix of disjointed, non-enterprise security products. Lastly, cybercriminals aim to take advantage of the shortage of security professionals, which impacts both MSPs and SMBs. All of this culminates in hackers gaining a substantial advantage over small businesses.

The cybersecurity climate for businesses has been steadily heating up, even without the added pressure of an uncertain economy and tight labor market. Almost half the businesses that Kaseya surveyed for the “Kaseya Security Insights Report 2022” told our researchers they had been victims of a successful cyberattack or security breach.

One in five survey respondents said their organization had experienced at least one successful cyberattack or security breach in the past 12 months. These alarming statistics illustrate the pressure businesses and the IT professionals who secure them are under in today’s turbulent cybersecurity landscape, and that pressure won’t be letting up anytime soon.

The effects of a successful cyberattack on a business include lost revenue, reputation damage, downtime, and wasted productivity, not to mention the high cost of mounting an incident report and recovery effort. About two-thirds of the survey respondents (63%) said if their companies experienced a cyberattack, like ransomware, they would likely recover from the incident, but they would probably lose data and incur expensive downtime.

The Benefits Of A Cybersecurity Framework

For these reasons, during tough times, MSPs must take a contrarian approach to IT reductions and instead push for greater investments, specifically in cybersecurity. A proactive approach to increasing cybersecurity spending is using a cybersecurity framework (CSF), such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, that touches upon four foundational security disciplines: Identify, Protect, Detect and Respond, and Recover.

By using a framework for client discussions, you can walk through the best security practices with non-security business decision-makers. The four elements present a road map to review and plan for needed changes and updates. Leveraging a CSF gives you insights into where too much spending has occurred, often in the Protect category, and conversely where gaps may appear, such as in the Detect and Respond category.

1. Identify

You can’t protect what you can’t see. Generally, we focus on using RMM tools to identify assets on the network as well as automate patching and facilitate updates. Without question, this is critical, but an often overlooked element of identification includes spotting credentials on the dark web. Here, it’s imperative to leverage Dark Web Monitoring as part of your plans to reduce risk exposure by knowing what usernames and passwords are already in the hands of cybercriminals.

2. Protect

You face an asymmetrical battle where the attacker needs only one threat vector to exploit, whereas you must defend against all angles of attack. This puts the advantage squarely on the attacker. Therefore, protective solutions must be in place for all threat vectors, including email, endpoint, network, and cloud. Ideally, having a platform that simplifies the management of all of these vectors helps to catch configuration mistakes and ensure policy consistency and resource efficiencies.

3. Detect And Respond

Having dedicated resources to address Detect and Respond is key to reducing the damage done by ransomware and eliminating advanced threats that bypass traditional protective solutions, such as antivirus or firewalls. Historically, you had to be a security expert to take advantage of these advanced cybersecurity offerings, such as EDR, but now, thanks to innovative breakthroughs, every MSP can add managed detection and response (MDR) to their security stack. Finally, MSPs should augment their defenses by including dedicated ransomware detection abilities as hackers continue to accelerate ransomware attacks on SMBs.

4. Recover

Lastly, MSPs should regularly evaluate their backup and disaster recovery solutions with their clients to maintain optimal data recovery should a cyberattack succeed. In addition, MSPs should consider adding tabletop exercises with their clients to walk through “what-if” scenarios to better prepare how all parties would react and recover from a cyberattack. Time to recover is the metric to measure and key for maintaining business resiliency. Utilizing a cybersecurity framework’s elements to help identify your clients’ gaps is critical, especially during tough economic times. Hackers are counting on cutbacks, which is why it’s so important to invest in cybersecurity now more than ever. Strong security equates to resiliency. And as we look ahead to economic uncertainty, our security investments give us peace of mind knowing that tough times never last, but tough people do.

Cybersecurity and tech tools are constantly evolving. See what tech is trending the most for 2023 here:

MSP Success Magazine is a print and digital publication dedicated to helping the CEOs and owners of managed IT services businesses build strong, profitable, growth-oriented businesses. Written and published by Robin Robins, founder of Technology Marketing Toolkit, this magazine is uniquely focused on the topics of marketing, client-acquisition, sales, profitability, leadership and personal development.



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