Threat Actors

Chris Swagler | August 30th, 2022


It’s becoming more important for managed service providers (MSPs) to maintain a robust security posture as more companies outsource their IT and data workloads. Malicious threat actors are always looking for new ways to identify and exploit vulnerabilities. Threat actors are increasingly focusing on MSPs specifically, increasing providers’ demand to strengthen and supply cybersecurity.

Why are threat actors targeting MSPs and what makes MSPs attractive targets? The simple answer: access. A simple MSP can provide services to thousands of users and devices across hundreds of companies. However, companies aren’t powerless against cybercrimes and there are many steps companies can take to protect themselves. Here are a few reasons why MSPs are targeted by threat actors.

Reasons Why MSPs Are Targeted By Threat Actors

MSPs Serve Multiple Clients with Numerous Endpoints

For years, the MSP channel has been expanding quickly. During the pandemic, MSPs gained more momentum with accelerated digital transformation. This indicates that more clients are trusting MSPs with their companies’ data. Smaller MSPs can be more vulnerable to cyberattacks because they lack the staff or resources to manage security infrastructure for an increasing number of clients with distributed workforces. A severe ripple effect can result from even a small MSP serving a huge number of clients.

MSPs’ Distributed Networks Can Make It Easy for Cyberattacks to Spread

MSP networks are vulnerable to massive, distributed cyberattacks and there are more clients for threat actors to target. Attacks that include exploiting victims and hitting them at the same time are often connected to ransomware.

MSPs Don’t Control Every Aspect of Clients’ Security Postures

Even though MSPs are responsible for companies’ data, they might not be involved in other security practices, including giving security training to clients’ staff or creating security policies. These tasks are frequently delegated to internal departments, which makes it easy for knowledge gaps and disagreements to arise between MSPs’ mandates and clients’ own activities. Another degree of complexity can be added if clients collaborate with other third-party vendors. Unfortunately, MSPs must deal with multiple entry points to a collection of sensitive information. However, the requirement for ongoing cybersecurity vigilance creates a major opportunity for MSPs to educate and advise clients on how to resolve vulnerabilities and stop attacks from taking place or causing significant harm.

How can MSPs Defend Themselves Against Cyberattack?

MSPs need to implement good security practices including:

  1. Create strong password policies
  2. Install firewalls
  3. Protect email system from threats including phishing
  4. Monitor for intrusions in network traffic
  5. Patching and updating servers
  6. Encrypt data
  7. Use multi-factor authentication
Develop a Proactive Cybersecurity Culture

Launch cybersecurity awareness training and implement policies to protect networks and data. When offered to clients, this needs to be an essential component of MSPs’ internal operations and can be a revenue-generating opportunity.

Have a Recovery Plan Ready

When creating policies, procedures, and response plans for cyberattacks, utilize a multi-layered strategy and a proactive mindset. Make sure that all staff members within companies are aware of their responsibilities both during and after attacks. Consult with external partners to determine the best way to organize and prepare for attacks if needed.

Find Solutions to Remain Ahead of the Threats

Companies need to deploy the necessary security tools to support and protect their services. One example is Microsoft 365; given its extensive use, it has become a popular target and vector for threat operators. The monitoring, alerting, and reporting of security incidents and suspicious activities across numerous tenants can be accomplished using solutions, including Office Protect, specifically designed for Microsoft 365. Other critical solutions MSPs need to utilize are endpoint security and online backups.

With more threat actors targeting MSPs and their clients, it’s crucial they remain ahead of the threat landscape and improve their network security posture. At SpearTip, we are committed in assisting MSPs by delivering cybersecurity protection for their clients against potential cyber threats. By incorporating our pre-breach risk services into their current catalog, MSPs can upsell their security offerings. SpearTip offers an integrable cybersecurity solution allowing MSPs to focus on their clients’ core IT objectives while providing industry-leading protection against malicious threats. The ShadowSpear Platform, our managed detection and response tool, delivers cloud-based solutions collecting endpoints and detecting sophisticated unknown and advanced cyber threats with comprehensive insights through visualizations.

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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