Is Winter Coming for MSPs?
As you may have heard, winter is coming. Well, unfortunately for HBO, it came sooner than expected. In case you have been trying to avoid spoilers for Game of Thrones, I hate to break it to you, but some episodes were leaked early. This was no accident or attempt at hype, but rather the work of hackers.
In early August, it was reported that hackers had stolen 1.5 terabytes of data from HBO. This data included financial reports, personal data and unreleased episodes of series — including the uber-popular Game of Thrones. The hackers’ ransom note to HBO demanded a sizable sum in bitcoins. Despite the early release of an episode, HBO noted that it would not negotiate with the hackers.
You would think that things couldn’t get worse, but they did. On Aug. 16, the company confirmed that it was investigating a hack of its Twitter accounts.
You are probably asking yourself, “What does this mean for me? Why should I care about HBO being hacked?”
Quite frankly, it comes down to security. As an MSP, you sell security solutions and services to customers. Right now, the cybersecurity business is booming. Companies are seeing the constant evolution of the threat landscape and are looking for help — which is where you come in.
However, despite the growth, the MSP space has to come to grips with the fact that growth is outpacing the pool of available talent. A recent article on the state of MSPs reported nearly two-thirds of survey respondents expressing concerns regarding the availability of qualified cybersecurity professionals.
What can MSPs do to combat this talent gap?
Security should not be an afterthought. Let’s face it, threats like WannaCry should be a wake-up call to everyone in the industry. We should be looking at security holistically and be a core function of the IT plan. Failing in this area can lead to you or your clients falling victim to a global epidemic, resulting in a major hit to your reputation.
Skill up and invest in security staff. As mentioned above, the industry openly admits to a lack of skilled security staff. Increasing your staff and continuing education for them is key. You should look at readily available training from vendors and the larger security industry. Also, make sure staff members have the education to determine whether clients are using products correctly.
The human factor is necessary. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the top terms in current cybersecurity marketing, but do not fall into the trap of thinking they are cure-alls. Both of these technologies are helpful in the bigger picture, but they do not solve everything. It is important to have people be part of the equation. People matter, even in cybersecurity.
Adapt to change. Work closely with vendors and act as a resource for your clients, keeping them informed about what is going on in the marketplace. Vendors have a responsibility to educate their MSP clients so that they, in turn, can educate customers. Change your approach to security as the industry and threats evolve.
Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.