The Ransomware Killer Combo: Phishing Awareness Training + Email Security

One cybersecurity-related term is gaining a following in the business community; ransomware. While many get glossy-eyed whenever people start talking network and data threats, or mentioning the tools and measures that can protect their companies from these attacks, ransomware gets their attention.

It’s become the John Dillinger of the information age. People may not be rooting for the worldwide crime syndicates and nation-states behind these types of attacks, but their actions are raising the awareness level of cybersecurity issues. Anxiety is growing in the SMB community.

MSPs should see that concern as not just an opportunity to land new managed services contracts, but an obligation that can help them fortify long-term relationships with existing clients. Cybersecurity is a growing problem that most business leaders simply know too little about to care.

To that point, ransomware is an increasingly known threat; the archvillain of search superheroes. Putting a face on those general cybersecurity concerns, making them tangible and resolvable, will help MSPs step into that rescuer role. In other words, ransomware can be your golden ticket to further engagement (and revenue opportunities) with your target audiences.

The One-Two Punch Solution

Recent studies show that a layered approach to cybersecurity creates the most formidable defense. The harder you make it for hackers and malware to get through, foiling potential attacks with a variety of tools and precautions, the less success they will experience targeting those networks. Cybercriminals love easy marks.

Why target the strongest defenses when there are so many poorly secured companies with valuable data? It’s a numbers game. You need your clients to understand that lowering their risk profile won’t be a 100% guarantee, but it will improve their chances against all but the most determined cybercriminals.

Ransomware is the perfect example. What begins as a harmless looking email message sent to an unsuspecting individual can turn into a fast-spreading attack that goes after every device attached to the same network. All an employee has to do is click on a malicious link or download an attachment containing ransomware, and it can set off the chain of events that will literally shut down a company’s information systems.

While technology is the root of the problem, these attacks are enabled through human error. It’s easy for employees to be deceived when they don’t know what malicious behaviors or messages look like and how to neutralize potential threats.

Cybersecurity awareness training for end users is an excellent way to shore up the weakest link (people) and MSPs can either create and deliver these services themselves, or partner with any of a number of suppliers to support their clients. The demand for these services is strong. In fact, that may be a bit an understatement: research firm Cybersecurity Ventures predicted a ten-fold increase in the awareness training market between 2014 and 2023 (from $1 billion to $10 billion).

MSPs should be encouraging their clients to partake in these proactive security services to address a significant pain point: people’s disinterest. When the business invests in training, it not only sharpens their skills and perceptions, but shows the company is serious about network and data protection. In effect, those discussions and activities put employees on notice. Work smart or suffer some sort of consequences ‒ just remind them to detail those penalties in the electronic policy section of their employee handbooks.

Tighten the Vise on Ransomware

As any MSP knows; it’s the tools working behind the scenes that keep businesses functioning. The same rule applies to cybersecurity and ransomware. Every business should have a proactive email filtering and spam blocking solution in place to detect and quarantine suspect messages as a first-line defense.

The problem is that cybercriminals are increasingly employing smarter tactics in an attempt to overcome even the most robust security protections. Ultimately, businesses need their email to get through, and attackers are continually working on new ways to mimic legitimate messages so they can sneak malware past even the tightest filters. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, and your team must continuously work harder to keep ahead of the bad guys.

Their resources are endless. Ransomware attacks are big business, and the proliferation of tools and sophisticated algorithms to counter even the latest security measures is giving cybercriminals an unfair advantage. Just one employee clicking on a well-disguised link in a spear-phishing message is all they need.

That single mistake could cause significant damage to any business. That’s why the layered security approach has become so readily adopted by MSPs. Minimize ransomware threats by implementing an effective email security solution like Mailprotector for all your clients. Then arm their employees with the ability to spot and counteract any suspicious messages that can get through even the tightest controls. That one-two punch is what SMBs need to knock out ‒ or at least minimize the threat of ‒ ransomware attacks.