This guest blog was contributed by Pat Hurley, Vice President & General Manager, Americas at Acronis
Re-evaluating networks and cybersecurity operations has become increasingly important due to the rapidly evolving threat landscape. In February of this year, the U.S. Marshals Service suffered a major security breach when hackers broke into and stole data from a computer system with the help of ransomware.
Outdated cybersecurity measures can leave organizations vulnerable. Between hacking attempts, data breaches, and other security weaknesses, MSPs have their hands full today.
By objectively assessing your cybersecurity plan, it becomes easier to identify areas that need upgrading to address emerging threats, enhance incident response capabilities, and protect valuable data assets.
Here are five signs that indicate it’s time for a protection makeover.
Sign #1: Outdated software and hardware
Aging equipment and software pose significant security risks, as their vulnerabilities are well-known to attackers. Without regular updates and security patches, your clients’ systems become susceptible to exploitation by cybercriminals.
Upgrading to the latest hardware and software is essential for addressing these known vulnerabilities and strengthening your MSP’s defensive infrastructure. Developers and manufacturers continually monitor their offerings and create updates and patches to address security holes and improve their data resilience. These improvements typically include critical fixes that address known weaknesses and protect against emerging threats. Patching known vulnerabilities reduces the attack surface available to cybercriminals and makes it more difficult for them to exploit IT infrastructure.
Sign #2: Inadequate employee training and awareness
People are often the weakest link in an organization's cybersecurity defenses. Verizon reported in 2022 that 82% of data breaches were due to the human element—from falling prey to phishing attacks and losing devices to mistakenly emailing sensitive information to the wrong person. Even with advanced technological solutions in place, a lack of proper staff education can leave your clients and team members vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Hackers are adept at exploiting human traits such as trust, curiosity, and lack of awareness. They employ various tactics to deceive employees and gain unauthorized access to their IT systems and sensitive data. Common strategies include phishing attacks, social engineering, and the use of malicious links or attachments. Without proper training, workers may unknowingly click on dangerous links, disclose sensitive information, or fall victim to other manipulative tactics.
Empowering employees to identify and respond appropriately to potential threats is crucial. Consistent training on how to recognize and report suspicious emails and secure browsing practices is essential as are pointers on avoiding clicking on malicious links and understanding social engineering techniques. Every end-user must also follow secure password protocols. Those steps help turn staff members into an active part of your clients’ cybersecurity defenses. Sign #3: Inability to keep up with emerging threats
Hackers continuously adapt tactics to bypass traditional security measures. They employ advanced techniques such as polymorphic malware, zero-day exploits, and fileless attacks, making it increasingly challenging for legacy protection solutions to detect and mitigate these threats.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are at the forefront of advanced threat detection and prevention solutions. Those technologies can analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns, anomalies, and indicators of compromise that may go unnoticed by traditional rule-based systems. By continuously learning from new threats and evolving attack techniques, these advanced solutions adapt and improve detection capabilities over time. AI/ML can also spot, identify and block sophisticated attacks in real-time to minimize the potential damage.
Sign #4: Lack of incident response capabilities
Every business must have a response plan in place to effectively mitigate and recover from hacking attempts. That holistic framework should cover detection, containment, eradication, and recovery activities. If these processes are not well-defined and integrated into an MSP’s comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, your team members (and clients) may face significant challenges in responding to and recovering from security incidents.
Automation tools can improve the speed and efficiency of incident detection and response, reducing the time it takes to identify and contain threats. These technologies can also assist in gathering and analyzing data, providing valuable insights into the nature and scope of an attack, significantly boosting an MSP’s remediation efforts. Developing an incident playbook ensures consistency and efficiency in your response. Those plans can also be tailored to address the most likely types of attacks for various customers, providing technical support teams with a roadmap to remediation success.
Sign #5: Lack of-compliance with regulatory requirements
Adherence to industry-specific regulations and data protection laws is crucial for your collective IT ecosystem. Non-compliance with those directives can lead to severe legal and financial consequences for MSPs and their clients. If current cyber protection solutions do not include the following, now is the time to make upgrades:
Robust data encryption. These measures protect sensitive information at rest and in transit, minimizing the risk of exposure to unauthorized individuals.
Access controls. Limiting applications only to approved personnel reduces the likelihood of breaches and data loss.
Audit trails. These detailed systems records help MSPs monitor user actions, detect suspicious activities, and demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements.
Upgrading Cyber Protection Across the IT Ecosystem
Safeguarding valuable and sensitive data and protecting against evolving cyber threats requires proactive measures and a continually upgraded cybersecurity plan. By addressing these five signs and implementing the necessary improvements, MSPs can enhance resilience, mitigate risks, and ensure a more secure comprehensive technology environment.
IT services firms must continually assess and upgrade their protection ecosystem and partner with companies they can trust. Acronis understands. Our Cyber Protect suite provides all-in-one defensive solutions combining cybersecurity, backup, disaster recovery, and other tools to ensure the integrity of the data and systems your company supports. ###