MSPs have always had an image problem with the general public. Before the SolarWinds hack, Main Street wasn’t all that familiar with MSPs. In fact, “remote monitoring and management” was a foreign term to most people, even business owners. Now, as more details emerge about the SolarWinds hack, businesses are paying close attention to what happened, who was involved, and what it means to them.
But even though the SolarWinds hack, which is being called by some as the “largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen,” highlighted data security and network security vulnerabilities at the highest levels of government, it’s also done something else — put MSPs in the spotlight.
Giving MSPs some long-awaited publicity is probably a good thing. Instead of operating behind the curtain, MSPs are now on center stage, performing in front of a larger than expected audience. While IT professionals aren’t used to the attention many of them now have, conversations with prospects are typically becoming more comfortable to have as a result.
There are so many more resources available to business leaders today than ever before. Prospects today are without a doubt more knowledgeable on managed services, the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape, and what they should look for when hiring an MSP. Much of this has to do with the dramatic increase of cyberattacks over the years.
People are paying attention. They’re educating themselves and seeking out additional insight from experts — and, in many instances, MSPs are answering the call. For example, last year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSPs assisted businesses with transitioning employees to remote work — this connected MSPs directly with companies in their communities. Again, not a bad outcome for MSPs looking to add more customers, but now more’s at stake.
More than nine federal agencies and approximately 100 businesses were compromised during the SolarWinds hack. “As you know, roughly 18,000 entities downloaded the malicious update,” said Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology in the Biden administration, during a press briefing. “So the scale of potential access far exceeded the number of known compromises. Many of the private sector compromises are technology companies, including networks of companies whose products could be used to launch additional intrusions.” It’s the last part of her statement that should worry MSPs.
While malicious actors have been targeting MSPs for years, the general public, for the most part, was unaware. Now, these attacks are coming to light, especially after the SolarWinds hack. Business leaders typically didn’t have many questions about your solutions in the past, but they do and will now.
The attention on MSPs isn’t necessarily bad, but be aware of what it means for you. You’ve been waiting for this recognition for a while now, but it comes with additional responsibilities. You’re now in the spotlight, and mistakes are going to be out in the open and identified.