As SMEs increase security budget, should MSPs respond?

In the past, smaller businesses could rest assured they weren’t in the crosshairs of bad actors because the general target for such an attack was higher value, blue-chip companies. However, as the tools enabling these attacks became cheaper and more readily available, the profile of a target shifted. It quickly became just as viable to target smaller companies as it was to focus resources on larger blue-chip companies.

In response to this, the SME community has made the realisation that cybersecurity needs to be treated with as much importance as any other business-critical function. N-able’s ‘MSP Threat Report’ revealed that seven in ten SMEs are increasing their cybersecurity budgets.

As hardware shortages and competitive hiring markets push SMEs towards partnering with MSPs, Lewis Pope, Head Security Nerd, N-able answers the questions about how best to secure this community and how MSPs should respond to this new market opportunity.

What MSPs need to provide

With attacks increasing in both volume and sophistication, managing defences manually is an almost impossible task. So implementing greater levels of automation is an essential element in an MSP’s arsenal to fight cyber threats for their SME customers.

Lewis said, “according to our research, automated backups are the most common form of automation used by MSPs to keep their customers’ businesses secure. The area for concern here, though, is that only 40 per cent of businesses are backing up workstations every 48 hours or less. MSPs need to play a consultative role to dispel the commonly held fallacy that any backup is enough when the real discussion is much more nuanced. They need to be a trusted advisor to SMEs.”

Just as critical for securing SMEs is multifactor authentication. Much like backup, MSPs will need to proselytise the benefits of 2FA and try to accelerate the transition as much as possible.

MSPs need to practice what they preach

As part of their role as consultants, MSPs need to be aware of the wider industry landscape. While working with greater swathes of the business world is undoubtedly good news for MSPs, this increased presence in the global supply chain does not go unnoticed by cybercriminals nor does it escape the view of regulators. In fact, international efforts have already been made to regulate MSPs, with growing cooperation between technology vendors, IT services providers, and government bodies being a direct result of several high-profile supply chain attacks that occurred in 2021.

With more government bodies around the world implementing their own legislation to make sure supply chains are protected, MSPs will need to be examples of best practices. It won’t be enough to just keep SMEs happy, MSPs will also need to be aware of the regulatory requirements that their increased presence in the global supply chain brings.

Looking ahead

SMEs need both the expertise and technical capability of MSPs now more than ever, but this comes with greater attention from regulators, which needs to be accounted for. As bigger swathes of the business world become dependent on MSPs, governments are naturally more aware of the industry and are putting in place safeguards to ensure proper regulation of what some now consider to be critical infrastructure. This may seem burdensome, but it is a necessity. MSPs can make a real difference, but it is pointless unless they practice what they preach.

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