How MSPs Can Neutralize the Biggest Cyber Threat

Greg Edwards

Your clients face numerous risks today. From the ordinary perils associated with running a business, including the never-ending financial and personnel-related concerns, to the unusual circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic – risk is a big part of their new normal.

Dog on keyboard

Of course, some of those threats are higher on MSPs' radar than others. Virtually every cybersecurity expert pins ransomware at the number one spot on their lists of most significant business risks − and for good reason. Ransomware attacks cost businesses an average of $233,817 (as of late 2020), and that figure does not include damage to the victimized company’s reputation, which could increase the price tag exponentially.    

The shock and fear factor plays a part, too. Imagine the embarrassment for the employee who opens an email and clicks the website link or downloads the malicious file triggering a ransomware attack. Even if that individual does the right thing and notifies management and the IT team immediately after recognizing the error (most likely when the ransom and encrypted files message appears on their computer screen), the consequences of their actions may have a lasting effect. The emotional and financial ramifications could linger for months, if not years.   

Ransomware Increases Downtime

Of course, the highest costs come from the disruptions caused by these unforgiving and non-discriminating attacks, which weigh heavily on businesses and any MSPs protecting those infected IT systems. Restoring critical data and IT systems can take days and force companies to close their doors, sending everyone (employees, clients, and business partners) home.

In those situations, productivity and revenue come to a standstill as employees sit idle, and current and prospective customers wonder what went wrong. The financial losses can mount quickly as the management team and tech professionals decide whether to pay the ransom or find alternate means to bring an infected business’ operations back online.


Even the best-case scenarios take time. Paying the ransom will still require IT pros to carefully decrypt and restore the data, and troubleshoot and document a host of issues to meet possible compliance and insurance requirements. Bypassing cybercriminals’ demands brings other challenges. Wiping and reconfiguring systems and restoring applications can take a considerable amount of time and, even when backups are available, critical information may go missing in the process. It might take hours or even days to get every employee back up to speed when the entire company is affected.    

Defensive Approaches Are Failures Waiting to Happen

Traditional protection methods may slow down cybercriminals but rarely stop ransomware attacks. However, prevention is not futile, and businesses must recognize the value of these tools, as well as their limitations. No system is foolproof. While antivirus, firewalls, VPNs, and similar cybersecurity solutions are essential for protecting businesses’ data and assets, they are not able to stop everything, especially when people are involved. Humans are the weakest link.  

With 100% prevention a near-impossible goal, most MSPs implement effective defensive measures that ensure their clients are not “low hanging fruit” or prime targets for basement hackers and nation-state supported aggressors.

Business continuity and disaster recovery plans (BC/DR) are like insurance policies. Relying on backups to address ransomware attacks is not an adequate defense. They are a baseline safeguard to protect businesses from complete data loss.

Even a best-case scenario with a two to four-hour restore window can be costly. Businesses hit with a significant ransomware attack may experience productivity and sales losses while MSPs bring their systems back online. It takes time to restore and remediate issues, complete forensics examinations (probably with assistance from high-dollar specialists), and address compliance concerns. Every minute of delay negatively affects those businesses’ bottom lines and could also alter their opinion of your team’s capabilities.

New Attacks on the Horizon

As the old saying goes, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” According to the latest industry research, including the Acronis Cyberthreats Report, experts predict that cybercriminals will double-down on business attacks in 2021. Between the escalating ransomware attacks on remote workers, the utilization of less secure legacy systems, as well as the use of automation to expedite attacks, your clients face a substantial number of risks today.

The evolution of ransomware is another concern. The latest methodologies and tools evade detection and removal, even for the most skilled cybersecurity professionals. With the criminal element utilizing automation and artificial intelligence to supercharge ransomware attacks and target more expansive IT environments, MSPs not implementing new defensive techniques of their own may struggle.

Layering cybersecurity measures is an excellent first step. Bundling email defenses on top of global platforms (i.e., MS 365, G Suite) can boost data protection, identify and quarantine malware, and help end-users improve their decision-making process. Tools that slow cyberattacks bring tremendous value to your firm and its clients.    

However, email filtering and related solutions cannot eliminate the threat on their own. While each tool adds some protection, Fortinet's latest research suggests that 1 in 3,000 email messages still contain some form of malware after going through these IT security applications.

Take a Fortified Approach

The best defense truly is a great offense. With standard cybersecurity practices no longer good enough to stop determined attackers, MSPs need to implement more proactive security measures.

You can start with a full-out push for cybersecurity training for all end-users. In combination with the traditional security protocols, these programs build phishing awareness in your clients’ first line of defense, employees. With so many working from home or other off-site locations, MSPs need to fortify end-users' capabilities with education and more proactive tools.

Those efforts must be more substantial today. MSPs can now implement preemptive ransomware detection software to identify and neutralize active infections on workstations and servers. CryptoStopper™ strategically deploys watcher files that take action as soon as the encryption process begins during these types of attacks, inactivating and eliminating the threats proactively. This security solution prevents cybercriminals from shutting down your clients’ computers and business operations.

CryptoStopper takes a “left of boom” approach to cybersecurity. That term is used by law enforcement and military personnel to describe the critical period of time in which the good forces can act to avert a crisis.

MSPs need this type of power to better protect their clients. CryptoStopper is a unique tool in an MSP’s arsenal since it effectively stops ransomware and identifies the strain and affected files. Other solutions simply report suspicious activity after the fact.

Whether ransomware lurks for days in those systems waiting for the right time to spring into action, or attacks within minutes of an employee opening an email, CryptoStopper can foil the attack. Implementing real-time cybersecurity tools that neutralize threats as soon as they appear lets MSPs spend less time restoring infected files and systems. That means you can focus on more lucrative endeavors such as closing contracts and onboarding new clients!  

The best defense is to kill ransomware before it disrupts your business. Make life a lot less stressful for your team and your clients with CryptoStopper. Contact our channel team today and learn how easy it is to supercharge your cybersecurity practice!

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