Encryption Issues Plague Cybersecurity for Small and Medium Businesses

Cybersecurity is a challenge for every organization. Monitoring and protecting a complex, hybrid cloud environment against a rapidly evolving and expanding threat landscape—or threatscape—requires a combination of the right platform and tools, accurate and relevant threat intelligence, and the people with the knowledge and skills to recognize and respond to threats. Encryption is also part of effective cybersecurity—and it’s an area that poses a problem from many small and medium businesses.

Critical Watch Report – SMB Threatscape 2019

Not every company can be a massive Fortune 100 enterprise. Small and medium businesses (SMBs) make up the majority of companies around the world. The unfortunate reality for SMBs is that they lack the resources of larger organizations and often don’t have a cybersecurity team, but they’re exposed to most of the same risks and face the same cyber threats. Cybercriminals are increasingly focusing attacks on SMBs because they realize their cybersecurity is typically less formidable. SMBs also often represent a steppingstone that enables attackers to leverage trusted connections to partners and suppliers in order to gain access to larger organizations as well.

Alert Logic wanted to gain a better understanding of the issues facing SMBs. We continually scan the environments of more than 4,000 customers around the world, which provides us with a huge cache of security event information and a unique perspective on areas where SMBs need to improve their cybersecurity.

We analyzed the data to develop the Critical Watch Report – SMB Threatscape 2019. In our analysis, we observed that while automated updates are having a positive impact on system patching, SMBs often struggle with misconfigurations and gaining visibility to the vulnerabilities these misconfigurations cause. For systems that remain unpatched, available patches are often more than a year old. This points again to hampered visibility, difficulty in locating vulnerabilities, and the use of legacy technology to which patches cannot be applied or are no longer provided, along with a challenge of keeping up with patching activities generally due to limited resources.

Encryption Issues Put SMBs at Risk

One area that seems to be a particular concern for small and medium businesses is encryption. Encryption is an essential tool for ensuring secure transmission of data and protecting stored files, but only if it is properly configured and managed.

Our analysis showed that 66% of workload configuration issues were related to weak encryption. In addition, we detected a number of instances of misconfigured encryption—which can require remediations ranging from manual reviews to complete architectural redesigns. In our analysis, we determined that 13 encryption-related configuration issues account for 42% of all security issues found. In other words, effectively addressing these 13 issues would resolve nearly half of the identified security issues.

The Power of PIE

Cybersecurity is a function of PIE: platform, intelligence, and experts. Not every organization has the resources to build and maintain effective cybersecurity on their own—nor should they. Working with a trusted partner like Alert Logic provides better protection—and peace of mind—for less cost.

Encryption misconfiguration is just one challenge facing SMBs when it comes to cybersecurity, though. To learn more about the threat landscape and how Alert Logic can help you defend your networks and data, check out the Alert Logic Critical Watch Report: 2019 SMB Threatscape.

About the Author

Tony Bradley

Tony Bradley is Senior Manager of Content Marketing for Alert Logic. Tony worked in the trenches as a network administrator and security consultant before shifting to the marketing and writing side of things. He is an 11-time Microsoft MVP in security and cloud and has been a CISSP-ISSAP since 2002. Tony has authored or co-authored a dozen books on IT and IT security topics, and is a prolific contributor to online media sites such as Forbes and He has established a reputation for effective content marketing, and building and engaging a community and social media audience.

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