Datto report highlights massive disconnect between MSPs and customers around ransomware

Datto Inc.’s annual Canadian State of the Channel Ransomware Report released this week, and among the laundry-list of key findings, one stands out above the rest.

Small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) are nowhere near as concerned about ransomware as the managed solution providers (MSPs) that serve them. Only 33 per cent of SMB clients are “highly concerned” about ransomware, according to the MSPs who were surveyed. Meanwhile, 90 per cent of MSPs think all of their clients should be.

While he couldn’t pinpoint why this disconnect exists, Urvish Badiani, Datto’s sales director for Canada, said customers simply don’t think about ransomware’s harmful potential until it impacts them directly.

“They simply don’t see it,” Badiani told CDN during a telephone briefing about the report. “But in the industry, we talk to our peers and hear these stories. We know just how serious ransomware has to be taken.”

How do they get you? Well, it’s usually the end user’s fault. Source: Datto’s Canadian State of the Channel Ransomware Report.
And what do they get you with? Crypolocker remains a popular weapon. Source: Canadian State of the Channel Ransomware Report.

Making the 33 per cent figure even more puzzling is the fact that the number of ransomware attacks are going up, and SMBs remain the prime targets. Over the two-year period between the second quarter of 2016 and 2018, 83 per cent of Canadian MSPs surveyed reported ransomware attacks against customers. Fifty-five per cent said they had customers attacked in the first six months of 2018, but interestingly enough, only 21 per cent of attacks are reported to the authorities, a number Datto says will increase next year as privacy laws now require companies to report data breaches to both the authorities and their customers.

“You have to know what you’re getting into and as MSPs it’s our responsibility to educate our clients,” said Badiani.

When it comes to the systems ransomware targets the most, Windows reigns supreme. Almost all attacks happened on a Windows operating system. Only 11 per cent took place on MacOS systems, 5 per cent on Android, and 4 per cent on iOS, but Datto says all of these numbers were up between 2017 and 2018. Mac ransomware attacks alone increased by 8 per cent.

No single solution is guaranteed to prevent ransomware attacks – 85 per cent of MSPs report victims had antivirus installed – so a multilayered portfolio is highly recommended. MSPs suggested business continuity and disaster recovery solutions as the most effective ransomware protection, followed by employee training.

Quick Facts:

  • Canada not only has the highest average cost of ransom, but also the highest cost of downtime globally. MSPs report the average requested ransom for SMBs is $8,764, while the average cost of downtime related to a ransomware attack is $65,724.
  • 92 per cent of MSPs predict the number of ransomware attacks will remain the same or increase.


“It’s our job to make them understand if they’re using Office 365, there’s a certain amount of protection built in, but the antivirus Microsoft uses is just as vulnerable as the antivirus you use…you have to be prepared,” said Badiani.

Ransomware infections in the cloud are rising, which is why Datto made recent investments towards SaaS protection, including Office 365 backup, according to Rob Rae, Datto’s vice-president. Knowing which responsibilities lie with the vendor, and which ones lie with the MSP when it comes to cloud security, can’t be an afterthought, he added.

“The tenant, which is the end user or MSP, is responsible for security in the cloud. Microsoft and Google will take responsibility of the cloud,” he said. “So they’re responsible for making sure their cloud is safe and secure, but whatever you put inside it, is your responsibility as a tenant.”

Partners and clients are getting better at protecting their data, but Badiani said there are still too many Canadian organizations who don’t take ransomware seriously.

“It’s not it something is going to happen, it’s when. And when that happens, you have to be ready. If you want to be in technology and have a good business and handle data, you have to protect it.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Alex Coop
Alex Coophttp://www.itwc.ca
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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