Let’s face it, some of us think it is fun to be scared — especially at this time of the year. In preparation for Halloween, some of us find ourselves going to haunted hayrides, reading ghost stories, and even find ourselves binge watching The Haunting of Hill House. While not all MSPs enjoy a fictional thriller once in a while, they all know how truly terrifying running an IT service business can be, on a bad day.
As much fun as it might be to scare yourself with the latest horror movie, IT nightmares aren’t a joke. However, you can take solace in knowing that you aren’t alone. We surveyed our MSP partners and asked them what their greatest IT fears are and received a multitude of answers — from computers catching on fire to today’s latest cyber threats.
The stuff that MSP (bad) dreams are made of
We compiled the data and found the top four IT frights that keep IT service providers up at night and uncovered some methods to help you overcome your fears.
1. Cyberattacks. With today’s sophisticated threat landscape, it should come to no surprise that this was the top fright that plagues MSPs. To help your customers avoid falling for sophisticated threats, it is important for you to deliver a holistic security offering. This should include multi-layer email protection, next generation firewalls, and end-user education.
One way to protect your customers from advanced threats, is to implement a robust security solution, like the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall. Justin Homeyer, the project manager at Centric Technology Services experienced firsthand how much protection the CloudGen Firewall offers. “Our web server vendor notified us of an Apache Struts vulnerability,” Justin Homeyer shares. “During the 12-hour period after being notified and receiving and updating our server software, our firewall log showed there were more than 1,100 hacking attempts trying to exploit the vulnerability. The Barracuda firewall stopped every attempt.”
2. Network outages. Outages can happen for a variety of reasons, but no matter the circumstance, IT downtime can be costly. In fact, a study from Everbridge estimates that it can cost organizations $8,662 a minute. Implementing the right tools and best practices can help you minimize risks and costs associated with them. To learn how to use network infrastructure tools to keep your customers business running, check out this post on Smarter MSP.
Another way to minimize downtime is to implement a backup solution. When faced with recovering a customer’s data after a hurricane, Scott Sanford, president of Healthy IT was able to quickly restore data by using Intronis Backup. “Within a couple of hours, the restore was complete, and less than 30 minutes of data was lost in the process,” says Sanford. “During this same period, we heard a lot of horror stories from other practices that were affected by the hurricane and took several weeks to get back up and running, and they lost weeks’ worth of data. That’s why we continue to partner with Barracuda MSP — they’ve never let us down.”
3. User-error. Your customers’ businesses are only as strong as the weakest link. In many cases, that weak link is a human, which exposes the business to enormous risk.
However, that doesn’t need to be the case. Security starts from within, that’s why it is important to educate users on how to spot and avoid real-world attacks. An educational program, like Managed PhishLine, can help identify and address vulnerabilities that lie in the very important human layer of protection against cyber security threats. For Barracuda MSP Partners who want to run educational campaigns for their customers, but don’t simply have the time to create and administer the content themselves, this service has especially clear benefits. To learn more about how Managed PhishLine, visit our product page.
4. Failed backups. There is no feeling worse than trying to recover data, and comping up empty-handed. However, there are multiple best practices you can implement to ensure that your customers’ business critical data can be restored. Here are four best backup practices to implement with your SMB customers:
- Take a comprehensive approach to backup. All backups are not created equal. A backup appliance or cloud-to-cloud backup is more secure then a thumb drive or tape backups. With the cloud and public cloud, it is easier to take a hybrid approach to protecting customers’ data.
- Implement a 3-2-1 backup approach. Do you have a backup plan if your backup plan fails? IT experts often follow the 3-2-1 approach for backing up customers’ data. This means there are three copies of the data customers need to restore, two copies are local, and one copy is offsite.
- Back up data often. Talk to your customers and discover what their recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) are. What data can your customer not live without? Establishing these boundaries can help you determine how often you need to backup. At the very least, you should backup once a day or at best every hour – or less.
- Test backup sets often. That which is not tested tends to fail. Aim to test your customers’ backups once a quarter or at the very least, once a year, to ensure that you can perform a successful restore.
Implementing these measures and best practices can help you rest easy, even on All Hallows’ Eve ends.
Photo: Romolo Tavani / Shutterstock.