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How Managed Service Providers are Dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted by Geraldine Hunt on Tue, Jun 23rd, 2020

A busy Managed Service Provider (MSP) has several clients to support, so the unique challenges brought with the COVID-19 pandemic made it much harder to ensure that clients remained functional even during lockdown. In addition to supporting business technology, MSPs need to support the remote workers dealing with business productivity from their homes. Attackers know that home workers are usually more vulnerable to phishing and social engineering attacks. These attacks increased during the peak of the pandemic, and MSPs were tasked with securing corporate data from additional threats. Cybersecurity can still be a priority even when MSP clients have an at-home workforce.

Monitoring is More Important Than Ever

Attackers who gain access to corporate resources will be less noticeable when no one is watching the network. During normal working hours, administrators and even regular employees might notice strange activity on the network. When users are working from home, some of these red flags might be less obvious.

Many monitoring tools will detect suspicious network traffic and send notifications to administrators. Artificial intelligence is used to benchmark normal activity and detect unusual file access attempts. By monitoring file access activity using artificial intelligence, MSPs can ensure that cybersecurity is customized for each enterprise and alerts are configured to meet specific needs.

Better User Training for Social Engineering Attacks

User training has been shown to reduce corporate risk from social engineering. Research shows that an increase in social engineering and phishing was observed during the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic. Malicious emails combined with social engineering are an effective way to gain access to corporate data, and at-home workers are more likely to fall for these scams.

Successful phishing and social engineering attacks make much more work for MSPs who must detect, contain, and eradicate any malicious activity on a corporate network. Incident response can take several weeks, and then investigations into “what went wrong” and lessons learned are a part of MSP responsibility. By training users, risk of a successful phishing and social engineering attack is reduced, and users are empowered with knowledge to detect attackers and report suspicious activity to administrators.

Email Filters to Reduce Scams and Phishing

With an increase in phishing, MSPs must ensure that users are trained, but reducing the attacker’s ability to send email to user inboxes adds to effective cybersecurity. Email filtering applications can be applied to the corporate system remotely, so it’s an effective tool during COVID-19 requiring only remote installation on the system.

Email filters can leverage artificial intelligence as well. MSPs will provide more effective email filters for clients using artificial intelligence with few false positives. Too many false positives leads to analyst exhaustion where legitimate notifications are ignored. False positives also increase the time analysts take to review a legitimate notification as they review alerts on innocuous activity.

Increased Communication with Clients to Inform Them of the Latest Attacks

MSPs should always communicate with clients, but now businesses must deal with a dispersed workforce. Clients have their own way of communication, but MSPs should be more diligent with notifications alerting clients about the latest threats in the wild. Phishing and social engineering have increased, and MSPs should send emails to clients letting them know to be on the lookout.

With more client employees working at home, communication is key, especially in cybersecurity. The more cybersecurity knowledge given to users, the more empowered users will be to identify threats. Phishing and social engineering lead to much more than stolen data. Attackers who can obtain user credentials can become persistent threats on the network leaving backdoors and malware to launch additional attacks. When employees including executives know that an attack is targeting the corporation, they can be on alert when receiving suspicious emails. MSPs who communicate with clients will reduce risk and protect clients from common threats in the wild.

MSPs and the Current Cybersecurity Landscape

MSPs already have a lot of responsibility to ensure security of client data, but COVID-19 has brought several more challenges, mainly a new at-home workforce to protect. Securing client data can be done with email filters, increased monitoring of infrastructure, continuous communication, and user training. With these strategies in place, MSPs will deliver better results for their clients.

COVID-19 has changed the way employees work and the cybersecurity landscape. Even with this change in the cybersecurity landscape, MSPs can still maintain a safe workplace for their clients. With the right infrastructure in place and user training, MSPs can ensure that clients work seamlessly with reduce risks of a data breach.

TitanHQ has been working with Managed Service Providers globally since 1999 and currently partner with over 1,500 of them globally. We developed WebTitan for the MSP sector to meet the specific requirements of the SMB marketplace. This focus has culminated in our go-to-market strategy for WebTitan; the MSP Program designed for strategic OEM, ISP and MSP Partners. 

We protect 7,500 businesses and work daily with over 1,500 MSP’s. We protect your customers from malware, ransomware, phishing, viruses, botnets and other cyber threats. Most importantly our products were built from the ground up with MSP’s for MSP’s. We save MSP’s support and engineering time by stopping problems at source while also providing ideal products to sell in your technology stack. 

Contact us to today to learn more about our MSP program for strategic ISP & MSP Partners.

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