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In the past week managed service providers (MSPs) have probably had some of the most meaningful conversations about cybersecurity in recent memory. Organizations of all sizes now implicitly realize how easily they might be affected as all sides in the Ukraine-Russia conflict turn cyberspace into a major battleground for cyberwar.

Ensuring that your digital business applications are resilient enough

Naturally, business and IT leaders around the globe are all warily watching to see to what degree the current conflict in Ukraine will escalate. The biggest concern for many of them is, of course, the level of disruption that might ensue after a cyberattack. This is especially critical for organizations that have made major investments in digital business transformation initiatives that are dependent on secure platforms. Most of those leaders want to know if the digital business applications used within their business are resilient enough to withstand the cyberattacks that are increasing in both volume and sophistication.

MSPs, of course, are not only tasked with protecting applications, but they themselves are often targets of attacks. Cybercriminals know that one of the most efficient ways to spread malware is to compromise the IT platforms an MSP employs to manage any number of downstream systems belonging to their clients. MSPs would be remiss in their responsibilities if they did not reach out to business and IT leaders at a time when both targeted and indiscriminate cyberattacks could escalate sharply at any given moment. The truth is, regardless of how the current conflict is resolved there are likely to be more cyberattacks.

Cyberwar brings more malware than ever before

Most business leaders generally have a good understanding of how to weigh risk versus reward. Many have been relatively comfortable with the level of cybersecurity risk their organization faces when compared to the opportunities afforded by the internet. That calculus, however, is now clearly changing. No one can say with certainty how cyber warfare might unfold in the days, weeks, and months ahead. The one thing that is certain is there will soon be more malware than ever to detect and neutralize before it is activated. Organizations that are either chronically short-staffed or simply lack the cybersecurity expertise to combat those threats will surely be looking to MSPs for assistance.

Businesses are counting on MSPs

Many MSPs will, naturally, need to make sure they have the skills and expertise required to help make clients resilient enough to withstand global cyberwarfare. The fact that nation-states and their proxies are launching cyberattacks is nothing new. It’s just those attacks are about to intensify.

Unfortunately, most clients don’t have a lot of appreciation for the degree of sophistication and expertise that went into the development of a particular strain of malware. All they will remember is whether the MSP that they were counting on to protect them, succeeded or failed in that mission. That may not always be a fair assessment given the challenges at hand, but as every MSPs knows all too well, the only thing that senior business and IT leaders ever really care about is the outcome.

Photo: Andrii Yalanskyi / Shutterstock


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Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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