Ransomware remains the top malware threat to businesses

Ransomware is the most common cyber threat to small and medium size enterprises, with remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic adding to the potential exposure, according to a survey of over 1,000 managed service providers by cloud software and technology provider Datto. The research also suggests that the average cost of downtime is now 94% higher than in 2019, and six times higher than it was in 2018.

Phishing, poor user practices, and lack of end user security training continue to be the main causes of successful ransomware attacks. With 95% of European MSPs stating their own businesses are increasingly at risk, 45% of MSPs now partner with specialised managed security service providers for IT security assistance to protect both their clients and their own businesses. Datto’s research also found that awareness of the ransomware threat could be growing, as 39% of European MSPs said their clients had increased their budgets for IT security in 2020.

The 130 European MSPs taking part in the survey reported that their clients suffered more attacks than any other region and the average cost of downtime continues to overshadow actual ransom amount. The cost of downtime related to ransomware has increased by 24% on average compared to 2019. 67% of MSPs stated that their clients’ productivity was impacted in the aftermath of an attack, and a little over one in four (26%) said their clients experienced decreased customer profitability.

42% of European MSPs said remote working due to Covid-19 resulted in more ransomware attacks, and that shifting client workloads to the cloud came with increased security vulnerabilities. The survey also determined that finance and insurance was the most vulnerable industry in Europe during the pandemic (47%).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for stronger security measures as remote working and cloud applications increase in prevalence,” said Ryan Weeks, chief information security officer at Datto. “Reducing the risk of cyberattacks requires a multi-layered approach rather than a single product -- awareness, education, expertise, and purpose-built solutions all play a key role. The survey highlights how MSPs are taking the extra step to partner with managed security service providers that can offer more security-focused experience, along with a more widespread use of security measures like SSO and 2FA -- these are critical strategies businesses and municipalities need to adopt to protect themselves from cyber threats now and in the future.”

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