A managed service provider can maintain an organization’s network better than many IT departments can. It benefits from economies of scale and full-time specialists. Using an MSP is especially attractive for small to medium businesses that can’t keep a 24-hour IT staff and security specialists. Regular updates, monitoring, and backups help to keep systems running properly, with little downtime.
However, MSPs are themselves targets. Threat groups go after them in the hope of getting access to all their clients at once. To keep clients safe, MSPs need to observe the highest security standards for their own systems. When you’re choosing a company to handle your IT, you have to be sure it takes its own security seriously.
In February 2019, a massive ransomware attack encrypted data on 1,500 to 2,000 computers belonging to clients of an MSP. The attack took advantage of a flaw in a remote management tool that the MSP used. The attackers gained control of the tool and were able to use it as if they were administrators. The MSP received a demand for $2.6 million to repair the damage. This particular flaw will be fixed, but managers at other MSPs have expressed concern that they could have been the victims.
On September 19, 2018, a different ransomware attack got into an MSP’s server. The server hosted protected health records, and the records for 16,055 patients were affected. The information was all recovered with the help of a computer forensics firm, but all the patients had to be notified because of HIPAA requirements. Regulatory requirements for the security of personal health records are especially strict, and breaches due to negligence can result in huge fines.
Perhaps the biggest attack on MSPs ever was Operation Cloud Hopper, which PwC called “one of the largest ever sustained global cyber espionage campaigns.” The perpetrator was a group called APT10, believed to be based in China. It attacked MSPs in many countries, including the United States, Japan, Australia, South Africa, and Brazil. It used a variety of tools, distributed with the help of spearphishing email messages that looked legitimate.
Not all MSPs are equally good at security. The ones that aren’t good amount to one-stop shopping for criminals. It’s important to choose one that uses the best practices and has a proven record. Look at each prospective provider carefully, and ask some pointed questions.
Ask to talk to the technical people, not just sales representatives. They’ll be able to give you the answers you need.
Even with an MSP, you have to be vigilant about your own organization’s security. A good provider will give you advice on what you need to do.
If you’re concerned about the security of your managed services, contact Pegasus. We have a thorough system of protections against client breaches, including the following:
When the security of your data matters, you need to be confident it’s in good hands. Talk to us to find out how Pegasus can give you the level of service and safety you need.
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