Chris Swagler | November 27th, 2022


The risks MSPs confront are not always obvious when it comes to cybercrimes. Even though numerous IT business owners understand the repercussions of losing clients, other potential threats are less obvious. Determining who has ultimate responsibility when clients are victims of ransomware attacks or other cybersecurity incidents can be difficult. There are complex factors and assigning responsibility for failures can become similarly complicated. Is the targeted vulnerability the MSPs’ responsibility or because of clients’ carelessness? IT service providers must understand best practices for reducing their collective risks to effectively protect their businesses, customers, and employees’ livelihoods.

Cybersecurity duties need to be regularly communicated to the appropriate parties, with periodic testing of each safety protocol to reduce the likelihood of breaches, ransomware attacks, or other data-related incidents. A proactive management approach is critical for every technological process or theory. MSPs need to continuously examine their collective security environment and implement new measures to limit liability in the event something catastrophic happens to their systems or clients. Things that work well today can become vulnerabilities tomorrow.

Risk is a part of life, whether in opening a business or walking down the street. Almost every action involves some level of uncertainty and individuals spend time and effort dealing with the unknowns. Cybersecurity is a prime example of the concept. When cybercriminals compromise companies’ IT networks or data collection and containment systems, someone is certain to point fingers in blame. There’ll never be impenetrable security perimeters and the responsibility for the lapses frequently rests on people other than those who made the errors. Numerous business leaders believe that cybersecurity is infallible.

Even though employees violate companies’ security policies or disregard simple logic, some will blame their MSPs (or internal teams) for not doing enough to limit or not totally prevent any subsequent damage. MSPs understand the complexities and scope of the attacks may not work with the challenges of defending their networks, computers, and employees, particularly personnel who disregard rules, take shortcuts, or deliberately sabotage their systems. All players need to be liable for any failure and employees need to pay more attention and follow best practices. Company executives need to invest more in cybersecurity measures and training and enforce workplace policies. However, everyone expects MSPs to be flawless, regardless of how much their hands are restricted by clients’ decisions and financial constraints, and frequently get the brunt of the criticism. Companies’ priority needs to be reducing their liabilities. When attacks occur, MSPs need to limit their exposure to the processes and technologies under their control. Proper precautions and insurance coverage are critical components of the equation.

Concerns about cybersecurity are growing and there’s no room for error: not from employees, business owners and managers, or the IT teams supporting their technology systems. MSPs need to be more attentive to reducing their own liabilities. Even though no IT service company can eliminate all risks, team members need to the following steps to reduce companies’ exposure to cybercrimes:

Steps To Reduce Companies’ Exposure to Cybercrimes

  • Internal Cybersecurity Policies Need to Be Established and Strictly Enforced. MSPs can’t afford to ignore anything today, with cybercrimes, breaches, ransomware, phishing, and constantly evolving malware targeting networks’ vulnerabilities. Setting and adhering to companies’ guidelines for implementing, managing, and supporting all IT systems, both clients and internally needs to be a top priority. Failures in providers’ cybersecurity practices and controls can greatly increase their liabilities if the issues contribute to data breaches involving customers.
  • Clients Demanding High Cyber Standards. Today, there’s no excuse for having poor cybersecurity policies. If there is one issue MSPs need to consider firing clients over, this is it, especially given the impact potential breaches can have on both companies. To defend their reputations, financial security, and livelihoods, providers need to walk away from high-risk companies. MSPs increase the risks and potential monetary impact on their own bottom lines if they continue to service clients with known vulnerabilities. In today’s threat landscape, IT companies need to implement and follow through using a tough love approach, giving cybersecurity upgrade ultimatums to poorly protected companies.
  • Keep Building. Cybersecurity is always changing. MSPs can gain an advantage over cybercriminals by implementing the most recent security measures and increasing support alternatives; however, those advantages may be short-lived without a continual upgrade roadmap. Learning about new tools and tactics for fighting ransomware and social engineering schemes is one of the main reasons why providers attend channel events. MSPs can keep cybercriminals at bay by adding layers of security and improving current technologies. MSPs that constantly strengthen cybersecurity defense and end-user awareness training keep their clients from becoming the low-hanging fruit that cybercriminals often target. Additionally, the measures will help limit providers’ liability if something goes wrong. In an era of elevated cyber concern, MSPs who adopt and promote industry best practices have less to worry about.
  • All Compliance Boxes are Checked. Failing to meet recovery time or recovery point objectives, and problems, including data loss, can result in significant legal and financial liabilities. To limit their mutual liabilities in the event of ransomware attacks, cybercrimes, or other data-compromising events, MSPs need to be compliance specialists for all their clients and appropriately support each requirement. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules and regulations can make clients’ heads spin. Even though companies bear a huge responsibility for compliance, the blame for any failures is rapidly shifting to MSPs and IT communities

In today’s digital world, risk management is an essential part of conducting business. MSPs and their clients are working hard every day to limit their legal and financial liabilities. Following cybersecurity best practices and meeting regulatory and industry requirements are critical first steps. Even the best strategies can fail in today’s high-threat environment, as cybercriminals are always searching for opportunities, often human errors, to launch cybercrimes and attacks.

To mitigate the financial consequences of business compromises, companies should utilize a cybersecurity company like SpearTip that can assist MSPs in protecting their clients from costly cybercrimes and ransomware attacks. MSPs can’t be expected to plug all potential gaps or predict when clients’ employees will click ransomware-launching links. Knowing that companies have a cybersecurity company that can defend MSPs and support these situations can alleviate the burdens for themselves and their clients. An alliance with SpearTip allows MSPs to gain our expertise in conducting security assessments that go beyond simple compliance checks and ensure valuable insurance coverage.

If your company is experiencing a breach, call our Security Operations Centers at 833.997.7327 to speak directly with an engineer.


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