With Coronavirus IT Security Threats Rising, MSPs Must React Wisely

By | Managed Services News

Mar 26

Acronis provides feedback from MSPs and customers about the increasing threats they are facing.

With a growing number of people working from home due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, companies have to be even more sure that their now-remote workers are well-protected from malware, ransomware, hackers and other IT security threats. To highlight those challenges, data backup and security vendor Acronis held a virtual conference Thursday to illustrate the problems and share insights from users and MSP channel partners.

Included during the two-hour event, “Backup is Dead – How MSPs can join their cybersecurity and backup solutions to win more business in 2020,” was a demo of the company’s latest beta product, Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, which is designed as a pre-built stack of products that aims to accomplish those tasks. Cyber Protect Cloud offers a wide range of software tools for data backup and recovery, malware protection and endpoint protection, as well as security and management.

Acronis' Patrick Hurley

Acronis’ Patrick Hurley

“More people working from home today means you have to work harder to keep these workers safe,” Patrick Hurley, the company’s vice president and general manager for sales in the Americas, said, addressing MSPs who deliver the company’s products and services. “As an MSP, obviously you are deducing your success about security steps you can take for your customers.”

That’s where the latest product will fit in as the company continues to evolve from a vendor focused on data backup into a cyberprotection company, he said.

“We’re building the platform to allow MSPs to come in and build out what they need [for customers.] These hackers know that the big enterprises have the money to protect themselves and that smaller businesses don’t have the same resources, so we’re seeing more attacks against smaller businesses. At the end of the day, you need something that is complete.”

For SMBs and channel partners such as MSPs, the new tools will provide more help for fighting to keep smaller businesses and their workers safer, said Hurley.

“If [hackers] are going to innovate on the bad side, then we’ve got to innovate on the good side,” he said.

The combined tools in Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud will offer abilities for businesses and MSPs to be more proactive when it comes to security, including adding two-factor authentication, writing and implementing needed security policies, setting up security alerts and paying more attention to data breaches, especially in highly regulated industries where fines for non-compliance can be brutal, said Hurley.

“And don’t assume that your customers know that passwords shouldn’t be ‘password’ and that ‘12345’ isn’t a good password, either,” he said. “At the end of the day, I think it comes down to education, knowledge and awareness,” he said.

Panelist Dennis McKernan, director of security for Union Technology Cooperative, an MSP in Middleton, Wisconsin, said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the quick moves to have employees working from home to stop the spread of the virus has been challenging.

Union Technology Cooperative's Dennis McKernan

Union Technology Cooperative’s Dennis McKernan

“Really, what we’ve seen from the crisis is this explosion of people working from home and we had no time to prepare for that,” said McKernan. “It puts us back at the first stage of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework,” referring to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which works to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness through the use of science, standards and technology. The five stages of the NIST framework, in order, are identify, protect, detect, respond and recover.

Acronis’ flexible licensing model helps with these pressures today, said McKernan, because it focuses on letting his company serve customers right away, while not having to worry about how the licensing will be completed.

“The licensing model is simply that we have relationships with our distributor and it’s based on tiers,” so it can be quickly resolved, said McKernan. “We can help our customers get there now, instead of having to spend a lot of time on licensing issues.”

For MSPs like Union Technology Cooperative, the COVID-19 pandemic is adding new challenges due to …

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