Eye on cybersecurity: the top reasons why MSPs are targets of hackers and ransomware attacks

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Cybersecurity is a pressing concern for companies everywhere, keeping executives and managers up at night thinking about worst-case scenarios. Maintaining a robust security system across your organization can be all-consuming, but it’s more important than ever to stay on top of it—especially when cyberattackers are increasingly targeting managed services providers (MSPs) with ransomware attacks.

With cyberattacks ramping up in both volume and sophistication, MSPs join the long list of vulnerable organizations. Perhaps more than any other type of organization in the IT service industry today, MSPs need to implement and maintain comprehensive ransomware protection if they are to be regarded as a responsible and trustworthy partner.

Wondering what industry shifts have led to this change, why MSPs are such big targets, and how to prevent ransomware attacks? Read on to see some of the key reasons that MSPs are targeted—and what you can do about it.

The nature of the MSP business model is appealing to hackers

At any given moment, your company may have dozens—or even hundreds—of customers, from small businesses to larger organizations. While they may be in separate industries, states, or even countries, your organization is the link among them. You’re not only a linchpin to all of these disparate companies’ systems, you’re also key to all of their data, and that’s a promising reward for a cyberattacker—especially one trying to hit multiple targets at once.

The very nature of your business requires remote access to your clients’ systems, and if a hacker can tap into that channel, they’re positioned to acquire a wealth of valuable information—or at least leverage it as an incentive for ransom. Even if only a portion of the businesses that an attacker targets through your system actually pay the fee demanded in a ransomware attack, it can still add up to a significant reward.

The SMB category is growing steadily—and hackers have noticed

Historically, enterprises have always been the main targets of ransomware attacks. But as the growth of the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) category has shifted the business landscape, SMBs are increasingly successful, profitable, and high-profile. In turn, they generate more valuable reservoirs of business data.

As an MSP, the majority of your clients likely fall into the SMB category, giving cyberattackers incentive to target you and your customers. Targeting multiple SMB’s can match, or even surpass, the value of a ransomware attack on a large enterprise—and your business offers a single avenue to that potential goldmine.

SMBs are not only more attractive to hackers than in years past, they also tend to be less protected than large enterprises. With SMBs traditionally ignored by digital criminals, many of these businesses haven’t seen a need to invest in the extensive ransomware protection that large enterprises have—especially since they’re already operating with fewer resources. As this shift continues to impact your business sphere, it’s imperative that you present all of your clients with cybersecurity offerings, educating them on how to prevent ransomware—while simultaneously maximizing your own protections.

The skyrocketing value of data lends itself to ransomware attacks

As technology advances, the nature of work shifts and the value of data skyrockets. Cloud-based software solutions, automatic capture, and instant visualization technologies transform fields dominated by tedious manual review processes into a powerful technological business tool that boosts visibility, efficiency, and revenue. But as the data that companies garner becomes increasingly sophisticated, it holds invaluable business knowledge with disruptive potential.

With this shift, ransomware attacks are more common—and the stakes are higher. As an IT service provider, you’re not just responsible for your own steady data supply, you’re also the link across an extensive chain of other companies’ data. And the more attractive your client base, the more of a target you become.

RMM software can provide a back door for hackers

Remote monitoring and management (RMM) software and tools are likely a large part of what makes your business successful. But it’s also an avenue through which hackers and other cybercriminals can reach your clients. Ensuring that you maintain trustworthy and secure RMM software is key to protecting your organization and clients against threats.

An infected RMM tool offers numerous rewards to attackers—data theft, financial theft, email infiltration and compromise, or whatever else they may be deemed profitable. Attackers can grasp a blueprint of your clients’ network structures, hard drives, files, and even see which users access certain information the most. Most dangerous: through compromised RMM software, hackers can detect any of the security measures in place, including backup procedures—allowing them to formulate a cyberattack specially designed to bypass all of your clients’ cybersecurity layers.

By partnering with a trusted solutions provider with secure RMM software, you assure the future of your business—and peace-of-mind for both you and all of your clients.

Don’t give hackers a way in

As a trusted IT advisor and partner, the last thing you want to do is be an avenue for a ransomware attack on your customers. It’s crucial to have a cybersecurity conversation with your clients to ensure all systems are well protected.

ConnectWise Identify® can help your IT team discuss, present, and sell cybersecurity solutions to your customers. This cybersecurity platform streamlines the risk assessment process, sending your clients an assessment they can easily fill out, and even offers a notification feature that alerts you when they’re done. There’s no downtime: you can follow up right away, leaving nothing to chance.

In today’s high-risk digital world, it’s more important than ever to evaluate all security risks across your client network and translate assessment reports into a language that your customers understand. Connectwise Identify does all this smoothly and seamlessly. What’s more, it integrates with Connectwise Manage®, allowing you to consolidate and track assessments in the PSA you already use for storing customer records and streamlining workflows.