MSPs told by security expert now is not the time to be complacent

A group of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) attending the recent ASCII Edge: The MSP Conference in Toronto received excellent advice and guidance during a presentation from speaker Michal Jankech that revolved around threat intelligence, incident response, and the role played by human expertise.

Jankech, the vice president for North America for the SMB and MSP segments with Bratislava, Slovakia-based cyber security vendor ESET, an organization that has been in business since 1992, provided both a pep talk and lecture to delegates.

“I am looking forward to sharing this talk in Canada,” he said prior to the event. “It is designed to help audience members learn how raw information transforms into actionable insights for proactive threat detection. It will cover a deeper understanding of how this process empowers MSPs to proactively safeguard their digital landscapes.”

The bottom line in his presentation, entitled The Path to Cyber Resilience: Unveiling the Secrets of Threat Intelligence and Human Expertise, was this: MSPs can simply not afford to be complacent.

“We live in an era of advanced cyber attacks, and it has changed so much now with the huge growth of artificial intelligence (AI),” said Jankech. “The AI is a good servant, but it’s also a very bad master, because you are easily able to take advantage of ChatGPT and write sophisticated attack emails or even  simple malware, which will be a modification of something that was created before. And they can do it. It’s malware as a service even. And we do a lot of coverage of breaking news out there.

“So, what is threat intelligence (TI)?” he asked. “First of all, it involves a lot of data. Second, it’s also about speed, it’s not about when you receive the data, it’s about how fast you get it, because adversaries are operating at – I don’t want to say at the speed of light – but at the speed of optical connection, so they are very fast. And in order to be able to defend against them, you need to get your intel quickly and it also needs to be accurate.”

Having a proper TI provider, he said, also brings a “lot of non-technical benefits. It brings knowledge, it brings effectiveness, it reduces the risks, and it reduces costs and eventually it raises value. And it allows you to differentiate, because like you can be a bright tech shop, but you can also position yourself as the cybersecurity expert, by bringing intelligence into the communication with your end customers.”

In an interview with IT World Canada following his presentation, he was asked how in tune MSPs are about having sound security measures in place.

There are many, said Jankech, that can do a better job, and they have to do a better job because their “customers trust them, they trust them blindly.

“I’m always using this comparison: What’s more important, the sales guy in the car dealership or a service rep? The sales guy just sells you a car, and usually you know what kind of car you want to buy, but when the service is not done properly, the car breaks down.”

Cybersecurity, he said, is an industry that is here to stay, because computers  run everything, they run air control systems, they run utilities and as a result, we need to protect those systems.

In a blog post released last year, Jankech wrote that “many events cause MSPs concern, like unwanted changes to partner programs, acquisitions between vendors serving the MSP community, or the widespread blocking of sales in the wake of the Ukraine invasion, followed by the breaking and forging of many partnerships.

“In addition to this tumultuous time for service chains around the world, the concerns about cyberthreats remain ever present, with governments simultaneously advising the solicitation of help from security experts and caution about the security posture of third-party vendors.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paul Barker
Paul Barker
Paul Barker is the founder of PBC Communications, an independent writing firm that specializes in freelance journalism. He has extensive experience as a reporter, feature writer and editor and has been covering technology-related issues for more than 30 years.

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