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Hybrid cloud storage protection for MSPs

Data protection starts with file access auditing. Here's what MSPs can gain by prioritizing clients' data security.

Updated Sep 1, 2021
Is there a business case for cloud repatriation?

Cyber threats such as ransomware, identity theft, and data exfiltration traditionally target on-premise resources, but are now a growing problem for cloud storage services. As organizations continue to deploy resources to the cloud, the need for MSPs to address the additional security challenges involved in hybrid cloud storage is a major concern.

Data security and compliance

We all know the cloud has changed how we get work done. Being able to access files and folders outside of the four walls of the office is the norm for so many organizations now. Supercharged by the rush to remote working, most IT infrastructures are now a mix of on-premise and cloud-based solutions. In other words, they're hybrid.

But, securing this cloud hybrid infrastructure is complex. SMBs are particularly vulnerable, since they often lack the expertise and resources to effectively secure their hybrid environments.

“Businesses often come to us after they’ve been hit with ransomware, hoping that we can help them recover. The 'it won’t happen to me’ mindset is still very real.”

Adam Nightingale, Managing Director at Lucid IT Solutions.

The challenge to secure SMBs

The Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report highlights the threat to data at SMBs, finding that data breaches happen more frequently at SMBs than at large organizations.

For Managed Service Providers (MSPs), understanding (and communicating) the "why" is key.

It’s not so much the SMB's lack of resources, lack of expertise, lack of information, lack of time, or lack of training although these are all very relevant and real. The baseline issue on why we are seeing SMBs as an easy target is because there is a "lack of something."

This is where MSPs can be invaluable in navigating that process. 

MSPs can provide strategic guidance on solutions that best fit organizations. As an MSP, your potential customers will have a range of questions spinning around their heads:

  • How can I choose a Managed Services supplier when everybody seems to be saying the same thing?

  • How can you safeguard our data from theft?

  • How can you help comply with regulations in our industry?

Understanding these concerns and providing expertise is where MSPs can help.

So what’s driving SMBs to believe their data is unsafe in the cloud?

Although the benefits of the cloud are clear, so are the risks. In 2023, 80% of data breaches involved data stored in the cloud.

While cloud adoption has surged, the concerns over the security of data in the cloud don't seem to have abated. In 2019, our original research was already showing that 61% of SMBs believed their data was insecure in the cloud.

What continues to drive these perceptions?

At the time, our research identified three key points. We'd argue these still apply today.

1. Unauthorized access is harder to detect

With data stored on-premise, there is a need to be physically present in the office to access these files. This of course creates a physical barrier from threat actors outside the organization. Moreover, IT can restrict access only to specific devices.

With cloud-based storage, data can be accessed from anywhere in the world and on any device, greatly increasing the attack surface. And the larger the attack surface, the harder it is to monitor and quickly detect unauthorized access.

2. Data theft from employees leaving is harder to stop or prevent

For the same reasons, it is much easier to spot an employee stealing valuable information when it is stored on a physical desktop computer. Cloud storage makes it easier for employees to steal data.

3. Organizations are still suffering breaches

Since moving to the cloud, 29% of organizations have suffered a breach of files or folders stored in the cloud. The consequences of breaches have been incredibly damaging — with 15% saying they have suffered significant reputational damage due to unauthorized access to sensitive corporate data stored on cloud networks.

MSPs are perfectly placed to help

Most MSPs and SMBs focus on protective security such as antivirus, patch management, email or web filters, application whitelisting, and perhaps two-factor authentication for just their most privileged accounts. There’s nothing wrong with this. These are obvious protection and prevention steps you should take, but it’s not enough to just put the barriers up.

Despite best efforts, compromise will continue to happen. Attackers improve, always looking for new ways to take advantage. The problem is, no one is detecting this. And if no one is detecting it, no one can respond.

Sometimes the challenge with a breach is to know it even happened at all. According to IBM's 2023 Cost of a Data Breach Report, it takes an average of 207 days to spot a breach.

The best protective strategy for MSPs needs to be validated over time. "Detect and react" file auditing solutions should be used to ensure preventative measures are working  and that admins can detect and react to abnormal or suspicious activity.

Cloud and on premise file monitoring

Data protection starts with file access auditing

File access is at the heart of data protection. Files and folders remain the first attack option. Unchecked access to files and folders puts organizations at risk from theft, alteration or the deletion of sensitive data. Prohibiting any unauthorized access is what makes data protection possible.

The solution is clear, but for MSPs, execution isn't easy. How can you reassure your clients that you're monitoring and auditing file access, in real time, across all of your clients?

Secure hybrid cloud storage with FileAudit

MSPs can earn their clients' trust, and help them get compliant, by proactively securing the unique data security needs of a hybrid environment.

Agentless, remote, and non-intrusive, FileAudit provides a simple but robust tool for monitoring, auditing, and alerting on all access, and access attempts, to files, folders, and file shares located on cloud storage platforms and the Windows environment.

And with the MSP console, MSPs can manage all their customers’ licenses from a single platform and access pay-as-you-go monthly billing, self-service sign-up, and aggregate pricing.

Try FileAudit for free

3000+ organizations like yours use FileAudit to protect data, prevent ransomware and meet compliance requirements.

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