Chris Swagler | January 12th, 2023

The last several years have seen significant changes in how people experience life and run their businesses. As we look forward to this still new year, here are some of the top predictions that can be helpful for Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

  1. MSPs will become a key supply chain and critical infrastructure attack vector – Escalating geopolitical tensions, including orchestrating disabling attacks against infrastructure, are forcing global governments to prioritize cyberattacks within the supply chain ecosystem. In September 2022, White House communication explained that foreign governments and criminal groups are constantly looking for ways to undermine digital infrastructures. In 2020, malicious code deployed to SolarWinds software compromised numerous federal agencies and large companies. The minor modification opened a backdoor into the digital infrastructure of Federal agencies and private sector companies. The incident was one of a series of cyber intrusions and severe software vulnerabilities that have jeopardized the delivery of government services to the public along with the integrity of enormous amounts of personal information and companies’ data managed by the private sector, over the last years.

Concerns about rising malicious cyber activities targeting supply chains are not limited to the United States. According to the DCMS Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022, the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) released updated guidance for security supply chains in October 2022 revealing only one in 10 companies (13%), and the proportion for the wider supply chain is half (7%). The Federal Government of Australia observed vulnerable supply chains, focusing on imports, but light on the “cyber”. Fortunately, it prompted additional guidance from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) on identifying supply chain risks and solutions for companies across Australia to better manage the risks. Finding a cybersecurity company that provides threat detection monitoring, incident detection and response services, and security risk assessment tools will help companies eliminate the complexity of developing an MSP-powered cybersecurity stack while lowering the price of 24/7 monitoring support staff.

  1. MSPs not pursuing zero-trust network architecture are more vulnerable – With supply chain and critical infrastructure attacks on the rise, it’s no surprise that global governments are pushing for a zero-trust network architecture (ZTNA) to be adopted by companies they collaborate with or rely on to accomplish their goals. Companies need to remain focused on an expanding attack surface created by digital transformation initiatives, including cloud adoption, IT/OT-IoT convergence, remote working, and third-party infrastructure integration. To address the new vulnerabilities and threats posed by the exposure, demand for technology and services, including cloud security, application security, ZTNA, and threat intelligence has increased. Some clients may be looking to their MSP to help them understand what zero-trust is and why they should care.
  1. MSPs will depend more on threat intelligence research and inter-organizational collaboration – For ransomware operators, 2022 was a disruptive year. Numerous high-profile ransomware incidents drew attention to ransomware operators, and MSPs are seeing threat actors changing their methods. Additionally, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine had a significant impact on the threat landscape. 2022 began on a positive note with numerous companies reporting fewer ransomware incidents in the first half compared to 2021. However, instead of fewer ransomware incidents occurring, MSPs are seeing fewer reports because many ransomware operators are shifting from targeting large companies to smaller companies that are less likely to report incidents and don’t receive the same media coverage as larger companies.

These lead to the fact that MSPs, their clients, and their data are vulnerable and paying attention to solid threat intelligence becomes useful in adequately mitigating the risk. Cybersecurity companies can help prioritize MSPs’ time and focus on the security tools and controls that will have the most impact by analyzing the current, real-world threats that MSP partners and the industry are facing. Sharing threat intelligence makes MSPs stronger.

  1. MSPs will consolidate tools and use third parties to solve the IT talent gap – Tech companies and MSPs are grappling with an unprecedented number of open positions in their teams in a quickly changing landscape. However, the current IT talent gap and tech labor shortage make it practically impossible to fill vital roles. About 73% of IT industry leaders expect that recruiting data scientists and filling other available tech positions will be difficult. Even though most companies are focusing on what cloud-based technologies are needed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation, they’re overlooking more concerning industry truths. One option for MSPs is partnering with third parties that provide SOC services and can handle most of the technical work required in a growing practice. Using SOC services as an extension of MSPs’ current workforce allows their primary technical staff to focus on high-value, high ROI projects instead of in-house security operations.

MSPs can scale up or down as needed to meet service-level agreements if they don’t pay for unutilized or unproductive work. Numerous SLAs, incident response plans, and managed service levels can let MSPs select how to use the SOC on a per-site basis. Additionally, the total cost of ownership over time is much lower than hiring to scale. Using a third-party SOC is more than just managing MSPs’ employees’ time and capacity. MSPs don’t benefit directly from tasks that are classified as routine, recurring, or mundane. Lower-level jobs are included in the most basic service packages and, regardless of how frequently they occur, aren’t important revenue or profit drivers. MSPs don’t experience any lucrative returns for completing tasks that need to be done for clients, regardless of how many or how few tasks are performed.

  1. MSPs will rely more on community and training across all IT and security disciplines – As owners or staff members of MSPs with clients are likely to ask more and more about security, it’s tough not to get caught up in the daily operations and keep their sights fixed on the bigger picture: growing the business. Even if MSPs have a strong client base, they may require assistance in launching a cyber practice to take their MSPs to the next level. Working with third-party support as MSPs and their team gradually improve their headcount’s security posture through training and community support can provide MSPs with the framework needed to succeed. Diversified skill sets are becoming more common rather than less, and cyber specialties are growing increasingly in demand. Cybersecurity specialists can anticipate strong employment growth over the future decade.

 The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 35% increase in employment for information security analysts with roles, including cybersecurity analyst and information security specialist between 2021 to 2031. Being a cybersecurity specialist is a gradual process and utilizing a combination of third-party SOC support as MSPs and their staff ramp up their security experts will give MSPs the flexibility to meet their clients’ cyber needs while ensuring MSPs can maintain long-term growth without putting a strain on their bottom line.

These key cyber security predictions mentioned above can provide MSPs with useful information in assisting them in protecting their clients’ data. Additionally, it’s always important for MSPs to remain vigilant on the current threat landscape and regularly update their data networks’ security infrastructure. With SpearTip, MSPs can upsell their security offering by incorporating our pre-breach risk services into their current catalog. We offer an integrable cybersecurity solution allowing MSPs to focus on their clients’ core IT objectives while providing industry-leading protection against malicious cyber threats. Partnering with SpearTip will gain expertise in conducting comprehensive security assessments that go beyond simple compliance checks. SpearTip partners will receive a turnkey SOC and a team of experts dedicated to MSPs’ accounts on a 24/7/365 basis allowing their current team to focus on client interaction.

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