MSPs Must Adopt Cyber Protection to Cure SMBs' Cybersecurity Woes


By James Slaby, Director of Cyber Protection

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) had a rough 2020 amidst a soaring wave of cybercrime. But instead of a hoped-for respite in 2021, cyberattacks on SMBs have increased in frequency, sophistication and destructiveness. Ransomware attacks have become so pervasive that even laypeople are now aware of them, thanks to US incidents like the Colonial Pipeline attack that caused widespread gasoline shortages. Research from the Acronis Cyber Protection Week Global Report 2021, which surveyed 4,400 IT professionals and end-users, shows SMBs foundering in a sea of new threats:

  • More than half of organizations saw downtime due to data loss in 2020
  • 80% of organizations have as many as 10 different protection and security tools running simultaneously
  • 68% of IT users and 20% of IT professionals wouldn't know if their data had been unexpectedly modified because tools don't make it easy to find out.

At a time when SMBs increasingly rely on managed service providers (MSPs) for IT services, technology supply-chain attacks have also seen a sharp uptick. The compromise of popular MSP operations tools from SolarWinds and Kaseya damaged both MSPs and their clients. These breaches suggest that the traditional stack of single-point solutions that many MSPs use is no longer adequate to fend off cyberthreats. Juggling a battery of consoles to manage multiple point products makes it difficult for MSP administrators to take a holistic view of their threat environment and quickly clear alerts, resulting in costly mistakes, inefficiency and lost time.

One answer to these deficiencies can be found in the integration of cybersecurity, data protection and endpoint protection management that leverages machine intelligence and automation – a model that has been dubbed “cyber protection” by tech researcher IDC. Eliminating the seams that plague legacy MSP solutions enables tighter, more automated control, yielding several advantages:

  • Integrating cybersecurity with backup helps mitigate the direst current malware threat to SMBs: the increasingly prevalent ransomware strains that first seek to delete backup files, agents and security software to thwart efforts to detect, contain, terminate and recover from the attack.
  • Deploying anti-malware with machine intelligence enables the prevention of zero-day attacks (a category that now includes most ransomware threats) by identifying them by their behavior, closing a window left open by signature-based solutions.
  • Integrating native backup into cybersecurity capabilities significantly shortens recovery times in the wake of a successful cyberattack. Narrowing these recovery windows is crucial at a moment when downtime costs an average of $8,600 per hour and a prolonged outage can cripple or even kill an SMB
  • Adding prevention capabilities like automated vulnerability scanning and patch management helps ensure SMBs are not compromised by exploits of known vulnerabilities. Seamless integration of patch management with backup enables fast recovery should any patches fail.

Current cybersecurity and data protection challenges will continue to overwhelm SMBs' underpowered staffs, technology and budgets. MSPs that hope to rescue them must turn to cyber protection powered by machine intelligence, integration and automation to reduce operational complexity, amplify staff efficiency, and effectively combat 2021's daunting array of cyberthreats.

Sustaining Partners