3 Tips for MSPs to Handle Cyber Attacks

Cyberattacks are on the rise, and malicious actors are preying on anyone with sensitive information to steal for data theft or a more targeted attack. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) handle a vast amount of valuable data for various businesses, so MSP cybersecurity is always a priority.

The MSPs market is growing, and according to NTT’s 2021 global managed services report, around 38% of companies today employ the service of a third party to manage and control more than half of their IT needs. 

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Recent research also claims this sector is expected to generate approximately $193 billion in revenues by 2024. This increasing popularity of MSPs makes them potential targets of cyberattacks. Cyberactors are targeting them to leverage their reach and attack their large customer base. 

These are significant security issues for both MSPs and their clients. Implementing an MSP cybersecurity best practice is vital to protect this sensitive information from hackers. 

This guide will outline 3 MSP cybersecurity tips to handle cyber attacks. But first, what are MSPs, and why are they potential targets for cybercriminals. 

Why are MSPs Being Targeted by Cyberactors?

With the increasing demand for business support, small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) rely on Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) to help with cost-effective IT infrastructure, general support, monitoring, and security. Further, SMBs depend on MSPs to help secure their confidential data. 

How Do Cyberthreats Affect MSPs and Their Clients?

A successful cyberattack affects MSPs and their clients in several ways—these range from disruption in operations to loss of access control and data breaches. 

A recent and very typical attack is the Kaseya VSA attack in July 2021. Cybercriminals targeted the Kaseya VSA servers, delivering the REvil ransomware to over 50 Managed Service Providers that used the product, paralyzing more than 1,500 organizations. Below are some of the effects of cyberthreats on MSPs and their clients. 

Hindering MSP’s Ability to Offer IT Services

Cyberactors can use phishing emails, DOS (Denial Of Service) attacks, or other cyberthreats to shut down or cripple the MSPs system. In other cases, a hacker can launch an attack to access the MSP systems and data. 

When any of these happens, it can hinder the MSP’s ability to control its customers’ IT infrastructure, causing the customers to lose access to their systems, networks, and applications. 

Critical Data Can Be At Risk

Besides hindering an MSPs ability to offer IT services, cyberattacks can also put critical data of MSPs and their clients at risk. If an MSP employee clicks on a malicious link, cyberactors can access the service provider’s networks and systems. 

This can result in a data leak that can damage the MSPs reputation or cause substantial financial losses in the case of a ransomware attack. 

MSPs Reputation Can be Damaged

The selling point of MSPs is the benefits of having a great desktop experience and a reliable workload for their customers. When the reputation of an MSP is damaged, it’s often difficult to win back. A study conducted in 2020 claims that 97 percent of MSPs that experience a ransomware attack suffer a reduction in their customer base. 

Compliance Issues 

Cyberthreat effects on MSPs can also lead to compliance issues. The jurisdiction of compliance regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act and the General Data Protection Regulation can impose hefty fines on MSPs on noncompliance issues that may have contributed to the cybersecurity attack.

Tips to Prevent MSP Cyber Attacks

Cyberactors are increasingly targeting Managed Service Providers (MSPs), and these providers need to have an excellent strategy to mitigate the risks of these attacks. Among several things MSPs can do to enhance their security plan, here are three tips to implement. 

Risk Assessment is a Top Priority

Cyber risks vary depending on the business size. To determine your cyber risk, it’s essential for all MSPs to conduct an extensive risk assessment. The procedure should encompass these three critical steps:

  • Identifying what assets could be affected by a cyberthreat, such as server hardware, financial HR data, customers, intellectual properties, network, and application systems. 
  • Identify the type of risks that could affect the mentioned assets. 
  • Prioritize cybersecurity efforts and ensure that the designated security policies, control, and solutions are suitable for identified risks.

Risk assessment is an excellent method to determine the security efforts MSPs need to implement before a cyberattack. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States has a framework for MSPs to conduct an in-depth risk assessment. 

This helps them determine the cyber risks and close any gap that cybercriminals can leverage to compromise critical data and systems. 

Employee Education is Crucial

MSPs are no different from other organizations. No matter the business, the weakest link in the security chain is the people behind the systems and networks. This means MSPs and MSSPs are vulnerable to phishing emails and other forms of cyberattacks. While it’s important for MSPs to implement cybersecurity best practices, the best last line of defense in a security strategy is an educated employee. 

MSP and MSSP cybersecurity plans should include cyber awareness training in the form of seminars, online posts, and newsletters to educate their employees and clients on the latest cyberthreats. You can also simulate phishing attacks to determine which of your users and employees are ignorant of these attacks and can click on anything without caution. 

Finding the Right Cybersecurity Tools is a Must

Many cybersecurity tools are available for MSPs to choose from. So knowing the right one can be overwhelming. However, if an MSP or MSSP understands the risk at hand, finding the right tools to prevent these attacks becomes easy. Below are some (not all, by any means) cybersecurity aspects modern tools cover (more tools c):

  • Antivirus (AV) and endpoint detection: Antivirus is a first resort for any computer user, let alone using it to protect your MSP. However, managed service provider needs are much larger, so they need tools that will manage to deliver enterprise-grade capabilities to customers from a vast range of modern cyberthreats. 
  • Identity access and event visibility: This cybersecurity tool category allows MSPs to securely manage “who can see what” with native account creation across Linux, macOS, and Windows devices. These tools can usually track the changelogs and history of any services used by the people in the company, making it easier to monitor and track work done for large clients.
  • Discovering API vulnerabilities: Most often than not, it’s easier to detect anomalies and vulnerabilities than to mitigate risks resulting from them.
  • Email Security: This should be a top priority for any MSP. Email security tools like encryption, spam filters, validation, and source authentication have the power to intercept malicious communication on outgoing and incoming channels. While some clients can afford the cost of SIEM tools, every customer needs email and internet security.

Check out our MSP email security guide 2022 for more information on this topic.


Managed Service Providers will always be common targets for cybercriminals. Hackers are targeting MSPs and MSSPs not just for company information but for the data they can steal from the customers affiliated with these providers. If hackers get hold of your system, the consequence can be destructive for you and your customers. It’s become imperative for MSP to leverage cybersecurity tools and implement best security practices to keep your clients’ information safe.

How Can EasyDMARC Help?

At EasyDMARC, we understand the effect phishing and other email attacks have on MSPs. We’ll provide you with an easy-to-use platform with the required features to control, adopt, and monitor email authentication standards for SMBs and enterprises. We offer support for SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, so you can implement best practices and prevent email spoofing and phishing attacks.

One of the best ways to enjoy our email authentication service is becoming a DMARC MSP and MSSP partner with EasyDMARC. Here, we’ll provide you with customized support and training to help you infuse email security into your services.

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from EasyDMARC authored by Hasmik Khachunts. Read the original post at: