Strategies MSPs can use to protect their clients from ransomware

Ransomware has developed to the point of being so advanced and insidious that no one is safe from it. While you might think hackers primarily attack healthcare and financial organizations, often hackers are instead targeting businesses like the PGA of America.


Unlike healthcare and financial institutions, smaller and less obvious targets are easier to infiltrate and are more likely to pay the ransom. These smaller targets have less robust IT departments, and therefore lack the resources which larger organizations or businesses in other industries would have implemented to protect their data.

One other scenario is that these companies may be relying on an MSP that isn’t able to provide sufficient cybersecurity to protect against those threats. In the face of this growing problem, MSPs should be rising up for the challenge and work hard to effectively support their clients.

MSPs are amazing allies to fight against ransomware and as an MSP, you can offer these services to people to protect your clients better around this situation.

Hands-On Training

We know that human error is one of the biggest contributors to successful cyberattacks. In many cases, the source of the issue is client employees opening dubious emails, downloading attachments, or clicking on links that they shouldn’t have.

It’s a frustrating scenario for MSPs because it only takes one person to let in ransomware and create havoc for everyone involved.

While there will always be potential for human error, the chances of it frequently occurring will be reduced through education and training. Specifically, to provide adequate training for email and web security best practices.

This sort of training reduces risk and offers other valuable perks, such as:

  • Sharing knowledge about detection will allow client teams to be more proactive towards common vulnerabilities.
  • Offering training communicates to customers that you are invested in their security and IT interests.

Use Smart Software

The software you are using is critical to fighting against ransomware. Whatever software you’re using, it should:

  • Prevent malicious emails from reaching inboxes.
  • Filter web usage to stop ransomware from self-installing.
  • And detects and neutralizes ransomware already lurking in client systems.

Anything less than that isn’t ideal.

Finding a service that’s able to perform these essentials is no simple task, however once you invest in a quality service, it’ll be well worth the effort. The more layers of security you can ensure means customers are able to get the best value and will pay you well for that protection.

Be Sure To Back Up

An MSP should have a backup and recovery plan set up and outlined. If not, you’re missing out on a necessary cornerstone of your security and service strategy. We have a helpful guide that outlines an ideal setup for that.

Without that plan, many businesses are left with a few unappealing options if they ever get attacked. The least palatable one is paying the money in the hopes of getting their systems back. But there is guarantee that will happen.

And even if the cybercriminal does give you your data back, it doesn’t guarantee that the data is damaged or lost.

The best defense against any ransomware attack is solely through your backup strategy. The more efficient and built-up that process is, the easier it’ll be for clients to recover their data and not have to worry about paying any money or losing business.

Staying Ahead Of Ransomware

WannaCry, Petya, NotPetya, Bad Rabbit, and Reveton are some of the big ransomware names that have hit businesses over the past few years. Soon enough, new malicious applications will emerge which will cause MSPs and IT departments to scramble in an effort to repel against those threats.

The current issue is that many organizations are reacting to the evolving threats instead of adopting a proactive mindset.

It is proactive to learn what emerging systems, antimalware and antivirus solutions are available. While you still need to be able to counter existing threats, staying on the leading edge of what’s happening in ransomware will ensure you are informed about potential problems companies could be facing.

Using Least Privilege Access For Customer Environments

If a ransomware attack is to occur, the damage can be amplified depending on who the individual victim is. If they have permission and access to the entire network, including resources, that hacker now has access to all of those things.

Things get even worse for an MSP if a hacker infiltrates an MSP since they’ll have access to all the customers that they manage.

The only way to be avoiding these scenarios is by adopting a least-privilege approach to managing networks, data, and infrastructure.

What the model suggests is that access and permissions are only granted to people where it is required. For example, an accounting department should only have access to software and files that the accounting department would need such as accounting software.

Furthermore, control and access to privileged accounts held by the MSP should be limited too and audited regularly.

Patch Systems Often

Similar to how it’s smart to update apps and software, you also want to patch your own systems too. The reason for updates is that they cover up potential vulnerabilities in systems that would allow hackers to sneak in and launch ransomware attacks.

Many organizations are very slow in patching critical systems. As such, MSPs should be ensuring that both them and the tools, solutions, and third-party software that clients use are updated with the latest security patches. Failure to do results in those attacks.

Using Two-Factor Authentication

Another easy point of entry for hackers is login accounts. Some employees have weak passwords that result in their accounts getting broken into and hackers gaining personal information.

While passwords – at least strong passwords – provide a strong barrier, it’s not the most reliable solution as a single barrier of protection for you. Adding more layers is smarter which is why two-factor authentication can be so helpful.

Through this, it’ll be tougher to infiltrate since it would require a hacker to not only crack a password, but also have access to your phone, or email address. It would create more busywork for a hacker who would likely move on to an easier target.

Plan For The Bad; Prepare For The Worst

Developing this mindset when it comes to cybersecurity is a good idea. Ransomware is a prevalent element and it’s constantly evolving into something that could slip under the radar of even the most diligent organizations and MSPs.

The best one can hope for is following the best practices that were outlined above and staying diligent with your own systems, as well as those of your clients.

About MSP Corp

MSP Corp understands you’ve worked hard to build your business and you want to protect it. With a mission to be a world-class business partner for MSP owners across Canada, we actively seek to acquire and partner with owners looking to secure the value of the business they have built and provide a seamless exit process that ensures business continuity and employee and client stability.

Contact us today to learn more about selling your business and maximizing its value.