How COVID-19 Impacted Cyber Security in the MSP Channel

December 01, 2020

How COVID-19 Impacted Cyber Security in the MSP Channel

By Courtney Heinbach

For our fifth annual State of the Channel Ransomware Report, we surveyed more than 1,000 managed service providers (MSPs) around the globe for their insights on the cyber security landscape. This year we collected data in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we were able to survey MSPs about the impact it was having on their small and medium business (SMB) clients.

While it’s no surprise that the area they identified as being impacted the most was security, it wasn’t as much of an issue as one would assume. Many MSPs reported that the number of ransomware attacks and security vulnerabilities increased during COVID-19 due to an increase in remote work and cloud computing. However, it is worth pointing out that it wasn’t an overwhelming increase—more of an even split between those who saw an increase and those who didn’t.

  • 59% of MSPs said remote work due to COVID-19 resulted in increased ransomware attacks
  • 52% of MSPs reported that shifting client workloads to the cloud came with increased security vulnerabilities

An increased risk can be attributed to a lack of user education and security vulnerabilities associated with the use of personal devices, according to respondents. Another factor has been the unsanctioned use of collaboration tools and apps.

SMBs are at risk - particularly those that work in highly targeted industries. MSPs report that healthcare was the most vulnerable industry during the pandemic (59%), followed by finance/insurance (50%), and government (45%). The education sector has also been a favoured target as schools, colleges, and universities moved to remote platforms and often lack the IT infrastructure and cyber security education/awareness amongst its users to prevent attacks. 

According to our report, MSPs expect attacks to continue in earnest with as many as 92% predicting more attacks this year and into 2021.

SMBs need to be on high alert and MSPs can play a strategic role in helping clients to take the need for more security measures seriously. Be sure your clients understand there is no definite way to prevent ransomware, especially as hackers become more sophisticated. But a multi-layered approach, including education, antivirus, and a robust business continuity and disaster recovery tool are the building blocks to an effective ransomware prevention plan.

Datto’s Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report

Ransomware is a growing problem for businesses of all sizes. In our annual report, learn about the risks MSPs and the channel face, and how businesses are working to combat ransomware.

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