MSP Phishing Protection Services

Here we take a closer look at MSP phishing protection – easy ways for MSPs to improve their own defenses against phishing attacks and offer MSP phishing protection services to their clients to better protect them against phishing, malware, ransomware, and BEC attacks while generating recurring monthly income for very little effort.

Why MSPs Need to Protect Themselves Against Phishing Attacks

If you follow the news, you will no doubt have noticed there have been many high-profile cyberattacks on managed service providers in recent months. MSPs are a key target for cybercriminals as they have privileged direct access to the networks of their clients. If a cyber threat actor successfully compromises an MSP, they could launch attacks on all the MSP’s clients by abusing the tools the MSPs use to manage their clients’ networks. One of the most important steps that an MSP can take to protect their clients against cyberattacks is to ensure their own defenses are up to scratch and that they cannot be used as an easy entry point into their clients’ networks.

In May 2022, in response to the increase in targeted attacks on MSPs, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in conjunction with cybersecurity agencies in the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand issued a joint security alert warning of the increase in cyberattacks on MSPs and that, in all likelihood, that trend would continue.  One of the specific bits of advice offered was to defend against phishing attacks. Phishing is used for credential theft and malware delivery, and it is one of the most common ways for threat actors to gain a foothold in MSP networks.

Recent surveys have revealed the extent to which MSPs are being targeted. 90% of respondents to one MSP survey said they had experienced a successful attack on their infrastructure in the past 18 months, over half had suffered financial losses as a result, 46% said they lost business, and 45% said their reputation suffered a hit. Phishing attacks were the most common attack vector, reported by 75% of MSPs.

The Cybersecurity Solutions to Protect MSPs Can be Offered to Clients

One of the problems faced by MSPs looking to start offering MSP phishing protection services is a lack of appropriately skilled cybersecurity staff. MSPs typically offer a range of IT services to clients, but cybersecurity is not always included in their service stacks due to the difficulty of offering those services. It is true that to offer comprehensive cybersecurity services, MSPs will need to transition into an MSSP, and will have to bring in new staff and change their business practices.

However, most businesses want to be protected from the most common threats such as phishing, malware, and ransomware, and their defenses can be easily improved by offering a core set of cybersecurity solutions. These can be the same cybersecurity solutions that are used by MSPs to protect their own business from cyberattacks. Staff will need to learn how to use those solutions to protect their own company against email and web-based threats, and the same solutions can be used to provide MSP phishing protection services to clients.

Core Cybersecurity Solutions to Prevent Phishing Attacks

There is no single cybersecurity solution that can be used to block phishing attacks. Email security solutions are vital for blocking phishing threats before they are delivered, but cyber threat actors are developing new techniques for bypassing email security defenses. Spam filters will block the majority of spam emails – over 99.9% with the right solution – but they are less effective at blocking phishing threats, and even secure email gateways fail to block a significant percentage of phishing emails. Email security should be used and offered to clients as part of a core set of cybersecurity measures, but MSP phishing protection services need to provide more layers of protection.

Phishing emails often contain attachments that are not, by themselves, malicious. They do not contain malicious scripts, so will most likely not be blocked by email security solutions. An example is an HTML attachment that directs the user to a malicious website where credentials are harvested. Another layer of protection to implement is a web filter, which will provide time-of-click protection against malicious sites linked in phishing emails. They can also be configured to prevent access to non-work-related sites, where the risk of a malware infection is relatively high. These solutions are easy to implement, and clients can be provided with access to manage their own content control settings.

Ultimately phishing is effective because it targets people and people are prone to make mistakes. It is not possible to block all phishing threats, so all members of the workforce need to be trained on how to recognize and avoid phishing threats and other social engineering attacks. MSPs should provide training to their own staff, but with the right vendor, can easily extend that training to their clients. Tailored training programs can be created easily using the vendors’ training modules, and the program can be automated to deliver training to all employees of their clients for very little effort. Training solutions that incorporate phishing simulators are recommended. MSPs can create and automate phishing simulations as part of the package. These simulators can also be used to conduct phishing tests on clients to demonstrate the need to sign up for an MSP’s security awareness training solution.

Developing MSP Phishing Protection Services is Straightforward

With these three core anti-phishing solutions in place, MSPs will be able to significantly improve the clients’ defenses against phishing attacks. The easiest way is to choose a cybersecurity vendor that offers cloud-based solutions that provide these protections. This will make MSP phishing protection services easy to deliver and manage. Vendors such as TitanHQ offer all of these solutions in an MSP-centric platform, making incorporating these solutions into an MSP’s service stack as easy as possible.