Rising Cloud Threats Provide a Promising Opportunity for MSPs

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Within the increased adoption of private and public cloud platforms, cybercriminals are launching a more significant number of attacks via the cloud.

According to a recent Security Intelligence Report from Microsoft, attacks on the Azure Cloud platform increased 300 percent in the first quarter of 2017. Similar data from SkyHigh Networks found that 7 percent of Amazon’s S3 servers were exposed. The cloud presents a desirable target for cyberattacks because of the massive attack surface and the number of potential targets that are accessible — multiple companies with large numbers of employees, all with varying levels of protection.

'A 2017 study by Forrester Research reveals that cloud security spending is expected to reach $3.5 billion by 2021, with a CAGR of 28%' ~@bbabineauClick To Tweet

Many of those companies are unaware of just how vulnerable they are. Public cloud providers protect their platforms, but customers are still responsible for the security of their data, applications, network, operating systems, data encryption, and other potential attack vectors.

That gap between the security inherent in the cloud platform and what clients are responsible for protecting represents a significant security weakness. For MSPs with an existing managed security offering or those that are considering creating such a line of business, this need for greater understanding of cloud security and increased monitoring results in a significant opportunity for additional business.

Brian Babineau of @BarracudaMSP details five 'must-have' services in order to provide clients with end-to-end protection in the cloud. Click To Tweet

A 2017 study from Forrester Research is a good indicator of just how big that opportunity is. According to the report, cloud security spending is expected to reach $3.5 billion by 2021, experiencing a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 28 percent. Previously cloud-averse industries like financial services are more willing to explore cloud options, which has not only increased the need for security but also raised the stakes of potential breaches.

End-to-End Security for the Cloud

The cloud is more secure than many on-premises data centers, but the naiveté of end users and lax policies around password management have left many organizations vulnerable to phishing, malware, ransomware, and other threats. MSPs can benefit by providing a full suite of cloud security services. The services clients most likely need are:

  • Cloud-based virtual machine (VM) protection: These endpoints need to be as secure as the infrastructure sitting in the clients’ data center. MSPs and their clients' internal security staff also need full visibility into cloud account activity, so they can know immediately when problems are identified and respond rapidly with pre-defined resolution strategies.
  • Cloud firewall: This solution can protect cloud traffic and provide data encryption as well as augment the existing protection available from public cloud providers.
  • Data backup and retention: MSPs may already provide backup and retention services for on-premises applications and systems, but applying this technology to cloud services provides another line of defense against malware and ransomware attacks for those apps and systems. Public cloud services typically offer data retention for a limited period (e.g., 30 days), so clients in highly regulated industries (e.g., financial services) will need a much longer data retention time frame.
  • Phishing protection and training: The majority of attacks originate from phishing emails, so utilizing two-factor authentication, password enforcement, and other access control mechanisms can help mitigate against those attacks. End-user training is also critical since phishing schemes rely as much on psychological manipulation as they do technology vulnerabilities.
  • Identity verification: Tools that provide geofencing, whitelisting and other approaches to blocking potentially harmful messages, attachments, and data can help further secure the cloud platform.

Clients need guidance to ensure that their public cloud deployments remain secure. MSPs can provide the education, training, and software selection advice that can help stave off the most common threats to the cloud.

Managed security services for the cloud can ease the burden on IT security staff while providing a centralized approach to fortifying protections around the mix of private and public cloud services (as well as on-premises infrastructure) that they may be using.

Learn more about Barracuda MSP Solutions at www.barracudamsp.com

 

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