NIST Drafts Major Update to Its Cybersecurity Framework: Why MSPs Should Pay Particular Attention to the Ransomware Section

AUGUST 9TH, 2023

As an MSP, no one needs to tell you about ransomware. You deal with protecting your clients’ data from these attacks every day

The numbers bring the impacts home, with Statista finding that there were 493.33 million ransomware attacks worldwide in 2022. Meanwhile, Sophos’ The State of Ransomware 2023 reported that the average ransom reached $1.54 million this year. Sophos also found that the mean recovery cost of a ransomware attack was $1.82 million.

The Revised NIST Cybersecurity Framework: “A Consideration for Senior Leadership” 

We share these dire numbers because, as an MSP, you can help your customers avoid those painful impacts. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has just announced that it has “revised its widely used Cybersecurity Framework to help benefit all sectors, not just critical infrastructure.”

The framework is built on five main pillars:

1. Identify
2. Protect
3. Detect
4. Respond
5. Recover 

NIST also notes that they have added a sixth pillar, “govern.” This addition “emphasizes that cybersecurity is a major source of enterprise risk and a consideration for senior leadership.” That opens the door to massive opportunities for MSPs as these leaders seek expert guidance and proven solutions that protect their organization’s data from cyberattacks and ransomware.

NIST Offers MSP’s Guidance for Protecting Against Ransomware

The NIST and the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) have created a guide for MSPs for conducting, maintaining, and testing backup files. The guide titled Protecting Data from Ransomware and Other Data Loss Events states that “backup systems implemented and not tested or planned increase operation risk for MSPs.” Those risks include customers experiencing lost productivity, revenues, and customers and negative impacts on their reputation. 

Capabilities and Technologies MSPs Should Employ to Fight Ransomware

For this post, we’re going to focus on the section that describes the capabilities NIST says MSPs should employ to reduce the impact of data loss incidents. From Arcserve’s point of view, it’s as if the NIST was describing our industry-leading solutions. With that in mind, let’s review the NIST’s list of storage technologies that should be considered in the fight against ransomware.

Employ the Cloud for Offsite Storage

The NIST points out the pros and a few cons of using the cloud for offsite storage. But the pros—including encryption, regulatory compliance, backups to and from anywhere, and backup redundancy, to name a few—should make the cloud a core element of your ransomware protection offerings. 

Arcserve Cloud Services disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) delivers on the promise of the cloud for more than just ransomware protection. With the Arcserve cloud, you can protect your customers’ on-premises business systems in a cloud built for total business continuity. And the service offers everything from file and folder recovery and machine virtualization to instant failover of an entire site and network. 

Your customers count on you, and you can count on Arcserve to keep their data safe and always available in our distributed, scalable, fault-tolerant cloud, explicitly built for disaster recovery. You can centrally manage and monitor all Arcserve Cloud Services accounts. And with Cloud Premium, you can ensure your customers hit the ground running by letting them run their network in our cloud, just as they’d run it onsite. 

Include Immutability for Local Drives

In the following two sections, the NIST writes about local hard drive storage—whether network-attached or physically attached to your customers’ workstations and servers—and the write-once-read-many times (WORM) format. When your customers back up their data in WORM, also known as immutable storage, unauthorized users can’t alter or delete their data. That makes them immune to ransomware.

When you offer your customers Arcserve OneXafe as a network-attached storage option, they get more than incredibly cost-effective scale-out storage. OneXafe combines the advantages of a distributed, immutable object store with the accessibility of SMB and NFS protocols. And OneXafe’s unified architecture cuts management complexity while giving your customers enterprise features such as global inline deduplication, compression, continuous data protection (CDP), and encryption at rest. 

Offer Removable Media Storage for Offsite Data Protection

The NIST also covers removable media storage to protect data from ransomware. We often refer to the 3-2-1-1 backup strategy in these posts. One aspect of the strategy is that your customers store one copy of their backed-up data offsite in the cloud or secure storage. Tape backup is one of the most affordable and cost-effective technologies for meeting this requirement

Arcserve Tape Backup fits the bill perfectly as an addition to your offerings. The software has been a staple in global data centers for over two decades. Arcserve Tape Backup lets your customers retain data longer, reducing storage requirements and integrating powerful deduplication into their backup environments. And the software enables your customers to quickly restore individual application objects from Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft SharePoint.

Make Automated Backups a Priority

The next section of the NIST guide focuses on automated backup systems. Arcserve has your customers covered here, too. Our industry-leading line of data resilience solutions automates backups to ensure your customers’ data is always safeguarded. The NIST also talks about data encryption at rest and in transit. Arcserve solutions meet those requirements, too. 

Finally, the section closes by talking about cloud-based service providers, like Arcserve DRaaS, and the backup of data processed in cloud services. That refers to software as a service (SaaS), and that’s another opportunity for MSPs. 

When you offer your customers Arcserve SaaS Backup, you help them protect their precious SaaS application data from ransomware attacks. And the solution covers every major SaaS platform, including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure AD, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, and Google Workspace.

Partnership Is Powerful

The guide is worth taking the time to read. And we believe that once you do, you’ll be convinced that Arcserve is the right partner to help you and your customers leverage the NIST framework. We can also help you grow your business with existing customers, add new customers, and polish your reputation as a leader in the MSP community.

You can learn more about the Arcserve Partner Success program here.