May 23, 2022

3 min

How Managed Service Providers Can Help Inform the Evolving Threat Landscape

Ransomware has become a business, making it a threat from which even small organizations need protection.

Stephen Nichols

When managed service providers (MSPs) talk with IT professionals about cybersecurity, one of the most important messages they can share is how the threat landscape is changing. Cybercrime has become a business, and criminals are using Software as a Service just like the rest of the IT industry. This has lowered the cost of entry for ransomware (among other types of threats) and made it easier to conduct attacks. 

I often must debunk the misconception that small businesses aren’t a target. Companies of every size are vulnerable. Organizations also misunderstand how much an attack might cost in terms of recovery, damage to their reputation and business downtime.

MSPs can help customers by educating them about ransomware and the types of solutions, such as Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, that can mitigate today’s security threats.

Cybercriminals Take a SaaS Approach to Ransomware

Cybercrime has become not only more organized, but also more popular, especially as pandemic-related lockdowns made it difficult to pursue other types of crime. Even less tech-savvy criminals are looking for vulnerable systems to target with malicious software. 

With SaaS, attackers don’t need to know how to write code; they only need to understand how to perpetrate an attack. Not all ransomware is distributed this way, but SaaS has undoubtedly made this approach more widespread.

Ransomware Attacks Expand from Data Encryption to Exfiltration

In years past, ransomware attackers threatened their victims with “Give us the money, or we’ll encrypt your data.” Now, attackers are not only encrypting the data, they’re stealing it as well. They then threaten to sell that data on the dark web or contact the victim’s customers and tell them the data will be released if the company doesn’t pay. 

Once attackers get in, they’re also looking for cybersecurity insurance policies. If an organization has a $1 million policy, that’s often what the attackers will demand. Some attackers have even created service centers to help them collect payments, instructing victims to call in for directions on how to send bitcoin.

Small Organizations Face Unusual Risks from Cyberattacks

As a result of these shifts, smaller targets have become more attractive for cybercriminals. SaaS makes carrying out a ransomware attack cheaper and easier than in the past, so criminals don’t need big targets to make their efforts worthwhile.

Smaller organizations, of course, are often more vulnerable in terms of their cybersecurity posture. They also find it much harder to recover when an attack occurs. Without a significant financial cushion, the costs associated with an attack can be devastating. Research shows that if small businesses are offline for even a short time due to a ransomware attack, many will go out of business within six months to a year. The financial costs, reputational damage and loss of trust among customers and partners can be too much to overcome.

Cybersecurity MSPs Can Educate Organizations About Evolving Threats

MSPs can help organizations understand these realities by sharing examples of small businesses that were attacked and were able to defend themselves with a service provider’s help. MSPs can also help an organization’s leaders compare the costs of protection with the costs of an attack. For example, even when an organization has insurance, its leaders need to know that coverage isn’t as simple as receiving a check. Just figuring out what happened can be expensive, and insurers may want to bring in experts to evaluate the protections in place. 

Most of all, organizations must understand that many old defenses are no longer sufficient. Criminals’ business approach to cybercrime, coupled with zero-day threats, require organizations to deploy advanced security solutions capable of detecting suspicious activity through artificial intelligence, machine learning and behavior engines. Cybercrime is constantly evolving, and security must do the same.

Story by Stephen Nichols, who is passionate about technology and innovation. During his career, he has held various roles in sales, sales engineering and professional services, with a focus on SaaS-based solutions for multiple market segments and verticals. He is primarily focused on technical engagements to discover and understand partner requirements and provide solutions.


Acronis® sets the standard for cyber protection through its innovative backup, anti-ransomware, disaster recovery, and security.