Andrew Bagrin is in a space that many people have just started to realize is "real," Cybersecurity. Once fodder for niche sci fi movies, cybersecurity is now a day-to-day concern for ordinary business people looking to protect and expand their ideas online. Many of the tools they want to leverage were once available to the only elite organizations that relied on professional staffs. Now, these capabilities are available to everyone because of the prevalence of the Internet and cloud computing. However, this expansion of ideas and capabilities has come with an increase in the number of malicious users looking to steal those ideas and the information they produce.
2016 played host to the largest number of vulnerabilities and virus attacks to businesses in history. What is more, the attacks targeted every computing platform. Macs, for example, are now just as vulnerable as PCs used to be in the 1990s when they were the only viable source of income for hackers. Ransomware is at an all time high, and the threat level is evolving just as quickly as it is expanding.
What Modern IT Services Must Provide
These sober realities bring me back to Bagrin, whom I interviewed for a recent web presentation. Bagrin, the founder of MyDigitalShield, grew up in an age when a cyber attack meant, as he puts it, "one instance of something." Today, the advanced persistent threat is actually the common attack that business people face—and one that modern IT services must address immediately.
Multi-stage attacks that coordinate attacks through networks are now the norm. In the same way that CRM or SaaS services put out a manual and a standard that another service may use, hackers now envelope their techniques into easily downloadable packages that pass from user to user in an open source fashion, improving along each stage. If you do not have a security package that moves in the same real time format, then you are open to attack.
The Full Time Nature of Security
Hackers continuously develop. As Bagrin noted in his presentation, hackers will move beyond downloadable versions of antivirus software and malware blockers. (You didn’t think that malicious users couldn't download those programs in the same way that you could?) They begin with a very small hack into the programs, and they eventually "develop something that will sneak by those defenses," as Bagrin says. From there, a hole in an IT system just becomes bigger and bigger, just like a rip in fabric that continues to tear more and more.
The security that you employ must have the same kind of "spare time" that the hackers do to develop programs against it. If you are in business in the modern era, you are in a constant battle to protect the information of your customers as well as your own proprietary ideas. For this reason, IT services must focus primarily on security. Without protection for an idea, an innovation is left wide open to theft and exploitation.
The Nature of the Opportunity
As Bagrin notes, "the heartbeat of America is really the small businesses.” Small businesses, he notes, employ more people in America than any other business segment—over 50 percent of all workers and counting. The real opportunity to help them is allowing them to focus on their passion without having to worry about some petty cyber pickpocket. Security firms are actually helping preserve the American way of life while taking advantage of a huge market that needs protection.
The opportunity for companies like yours is simply this: be the perimeter for businesses that do not have the capacity to service themselves, even ones they may have built cursory systems to get themselves going. Small businesses are looking to get everything from one place. If your MSP organization can be this one-stop shop for them, you can grow with a company for many years to come.