Tips to Strengthen SMBs’ Cybersecurity Approach

There typically has been little attention paid to SMB cybersecurity, making those companies prime targets for cybercriminals. Why would hackers try to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from smaller firms, when they could get millions from the big ones? The answer is simple: Because they can.

Even SMB technology environments have grown increasingly complex, furthering the need for necessary security measures. Because of that, being able to meet the security needs of these increasingly technological organizations has quickly risen to be a top MSP priority.

Ransomware, phishing attacks and other social engineering vectors have become increasingly common today. While cybercriminals typically focused on larger enterprises, hackers have now set their sights on the undefended and highly vulnerable SMB market—consisting of more than 6 million corporate targets and nearly 50 million unsuspecting individuals in the U.S. alone. SMBs are typically easier targets due to a lack of attention to—or sometimes a lack of funds for—cybersecurity.

MSPs struggle to address SMB cybersecurity needs because suitable security solutions engineered for that market are lagging. Skill- and labor-strapped MSPs also find it impossible to compete for security-certified and properly trained professionals to work in SMB cybersecurity environments. There is heavy competition from high-paying, large enterprise employers who are faced with a similar challenge.

A recent research report revealed that SMBs are planning to invest more in cybersecurity in the next 12 months. Despite this, MSPs are still reluctant to bring these issues to their customers’ attention, since most of them are woefully incapable of addressing their customers’ security needs in the first place.

It is also estimated that MSPs will be replaced more in the next two years compared to the rate over the past two decades. This further shows the enormous opportunity and demand for MSPs that can bring effective security solutions to the market.

Cyber Insurance Alone Is Not Enough

MSPs that lack a comprehensive security offering resort to buying some combination of cybersecurity and liability insurance, then recommend the same for their SMB customers. This is a very risky and unwise idea for a variety of reasons.

First, cybersecurity insurance is a nascent field with limited experience on coverage recovery. MSPs and businesses don’t fully understand the coverage requirements; and after a breach, the insured often discover that they did not truly qualify because they didn’t meet certain preventative and response requirements for proper coverage.

Additionally, the rules and regulations around coverage are complicated and unclear, with a level of subjectivity reserved by the insurance providers. Claims are not always paid, given the lack of precedence or claim history. Insurance policies appear to be inexpensive on the surface, but when a breach is not covered, the true cost becomes a completely different matter. This is a battle that the insurance companies are winning.

Even if a claim is fully covered, the best-case scenario is one in which a business loss is recovered through financial restitution. Essentially, if you had fire insurance for your home and your home burned to the ground, your claim would be equal to the value of the home—but your home would be lost.

In the same way, an SMB may get some financial restitution for a data breach and the subsequent data loss, but that doesn’t ensure the business’ reputation—or its actual well-being and continuation—will remain intact.

More companies today are simply shutting down in the wake of an attack, even though they had cyber insurance. That is not a win. Cyber insurance alone is not enough, as it too requires the addition of the right technology, skills and employee training for a truly comprehensive security solution.

Move Away From Outdated Security Plans

Modern MSPs must automate and orchestrate a comprehensive and complete approach to business intelligence data from hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of endpoints. In addition to consolidating the alerts generated from these environments, systems must capture the remediation steps taken so they can improve upon security conditions. This enables true AI, facilitated by a high volume of business intelligence.

MSPs need network operations center (NOC), security operations center (SOC) and help desk operations to immediately oversee alerts and actions taken for full remediation. Alerts are received and analyzed, with remediation steps curated into automated actions that are taken when the alert condition is repeated; this is true automation that MSPs need in an ever-evolving cyberattack landscape.

Having the right partner will ensure that MSPs can gain system adherence in a unified way, doing so quickly and inexpensively. This also empowers those MSPs to stay competitive and profitable with their service delivery. Technical MSP organizations also need to be empowered with the right level of control over the environment orchestration and remediation methods they employ.

MSPs that can refocus their own disciplines, move beyond a cyber insurance-only approach to security and leverage strategic partnerships will position themselves to win over those that can’t. And in an increasingly competitive managed services landscape, we’re already seeing a separation between the innovators and those staying idle. Now is not the time to stay in one place—move forward with a strong cybersecurity initiative, in addition to cyber insurance, to ensure you’re prepared for whatever comes next.

Michael George

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Michael George

Michael George

Michael George is the CEO of Continuum. He has more than 25 years of experience creating, building and leading world-class technology companies. He has served as CEO since Continuum was formed in 2011 and ensures Continuum provides its thousands of MSP partners with the platform and tools they need to thrive in today’s $241 billion managed IT services market.

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