One Size Does Not Fit All – Navigating Security Options for SMBs

Small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) vary from large corporations in several aspects.  For one, they do not have as much capital as large businesses do. This prevents them from investing in certain products and/or services they would like to purchase.  That said, SMBs must use their limited resources to set up their cybersecurity environment and planned measures. Resources or not, cybersecurity is a critical requirement for all companies in 2019.

Hackers and insiders carrying out malicious activities pose a cyber threat and can dismantle a business within seconds if they are successful in accessing unsecured data.  It’s incredibly important for companies, especially SMBs, to protect themselves from threat actors. However, it is just as important to understand the vulnerabilities of technology put in your network.  

Time is Money

SMBs must perform the proper research to know if they are receiving value from their cybersecurity investment.  Technology is important to creating and setting up cybersecurity programs but understanding what is being achieved assists a business to plan better.  Sure, a SMB is trying to stay in business – not become a cybersecurity expert. However, the threat of digital intrusion and data extraction has become so prevalent that a business owner can no longer afford to ignore the risks.  

Time is money and because SMBs don’t have the funds, many simply cannot afford to send their employees to be trained on the proper usage of a newly bought service.  A company may have the best technology on the market, but without knowing how to effectively use it, it may create a backdoor for hackers to enter their network.

Smaller Business, Bigger Target

Large companies have more money than SMBs and can typically absorb a cyber hit.  Larger businesses can rebound from having to pay for breach notification in various states.  The requirements of breach reporting are according to each state’s laws. Like the sky is blue, that is just a fact.  And yes, cybercriminals are always looking to access large corporate databases, but larger companies can also put up greater defenses.  

Most larger companies have top of the line technology-based security measures in place.  So, as a result, they are not the soft target. Hackers are forced to regroup and think of a different way to get in or go through an easier digital door.  This is where SMBs come into play. Often acting as third-party vendors, SMBs are hired by large corporations for a specific service. Hackers are often more successful at penetrating an SMB as compared to a corporate giant.  This is why the Verizon Data Breach Report identified that SMBs have become the target of hackers. SMBs like law firms and accounting firms hold a lot of data about big companies. In a host of cases, the SMB is digitally connected to their larger customer.  Many larger business and government agencies have recognized this and are now placing cybersecurity requirements on the SMB vendor and supply chain company. SMBs should take the same approach when purchasing services and doing business with even smaller companies than them.

It is worth asking vendors how they test and maintain the security of their products.  For instance, what is their commitment to Research and Development (R&D), and another routine testing that confirms their products are trustworthy?  This approach and asking questions like these will help SMBs determine if the service or product is worthy of their dollar.

Who Is Making That Product?

It’s fairly easy to put your company’s sticker on a product and claim it as your own.  But a variety of cyber vulnerability questions arise when this happens. For example, are chips and parts tested by a third party?  It is important to note that most technology is assembled in China or far eastern companies due to the low price of manufacturing. In other cases, the seller is just white labeling products which means they pay to put their name on the box.  

When vendors manufacture their own products, they have the knowledge and means to respond to almost any questions their customers may have.  These vendors are also committed to fixing vulnerabilities.

Hackers are notorious for finding the weakest link, and unfortunately, SMBs tend to usually fit that bill.  However, there is hope for businesses to properly secure their networks no matter the size of the business. Investment in trustworthy services is key, as well as employing a risk-reducing strategy.  Although SMBs might have limited capital, their successful protection of networks, systems and assets is possible.

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