It’s hardly a secret when a large corporation gets hacked—it’s the opposite, actually. News of controversies and scandals for big business spreads quickly (like the recent Target and Ashley Madison data breaches). Just because they sometimes don’t make the front page, it’s important to remember that smaller scale breaches do happen and happen often. In fact, small to medium enterprise (SME) companies can actually be more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Let’s talk about why that happens and how MSPs can help.

SMEs Can’t Ignore Cyber Security

The most recent Internet Threat Security Report (ITSR) conducted by Symantec found that last year, 60 percent of targeted attacks affected SMEs. This telling statistic reflects both the cyber attackers renewed focus on small to mid-sized businesses as well as those businesses’ inability to effectively protect their data. Why, though? Where is the disconnect?

Most SMEs simply don’t have the bankrolls that the giant corporations do. Couple those budgetary constraints with weakened online security in an era when more business than ever is conducted online (and often from personal devices) and what do you get? A network of sitting ducks for data-snatching hackers.

Preventative Measures

All is not lost when it comes to SMEs and cybersecurity. There are steps these companies can take to protect their data, including the following:

  • Putting in place affordable tech barriers.
  • Teaching employees proper IT boundaries, including how to construct strong passwords and pinpoint malware-laden emails.
  • Ensuring the IT plan takes into consideration the BYOD trend, including what actions can and cannot be taken using public Wi-Fi.
  • Installing and frequently updating anti-malware, firewalls, and anti-virus software on appropriate access points.
  • Disposing of old devices safely by removing the hard disks.

An Opportunity for MSPs

I just mentioned some steps SMEs can take to protect their data, but that doesn’t mean MSPs are cut from the equation. Note that the above suggestions take more than dollars to successfully implement and maintain, they take time and well-trained personnel. Staffing at SMEs can be tight, so the resources necessary to handle cybersecurity appropriately in-house could be slim or, in some cases, nonexistent. We’ve already established why this nonchalance to cybersecurity is a SME success deal breaker, so this is a key point to remember when expressing the value of an MSP: Clients don’t have to worry about keeping up with the ever-changing nuts and bolts of cybersecurity as it relates to IT infrastructure and user end systems.

When it comes down to it, leaders of SMEs need to be to be experts at running their businesses, making them grow, and doing what sets them apart. When all that’s covered, they may not feel capable of filling the cybersecurity void in-house. At this point, there is a significant opportunity for MSPs to offer their clients measurable value as security experts. Human error on IT issues? Almost zero. Weakened or infrequently updated tech barriers? So long. The always-present threat of a data breach for which the client feels unprepared and under-protected? Nope! None of those things exist when SMEs let the MSPs be the security experts.

What it comes down to is this: If budgeting can be appropriated, hiring MSPs can provide one-stop-shops for security—a move that reduces the IT burden on SMEs while giving them peace of mind in a tech climate ripe with breaches.

The Takeaway

SMEs may be small by definition, but they’re certainly not small in terms of impact. This group of companies is substantial and rising fast: In fact, it’s estimated they comprise 90 percent of the world’s businesses. Such industry expansion hasn’t been without its growing pains, and lack of proper cybersecurity has been the result for many. SMEs need technology to operate—especially cost-effective and convenient mobile devices—plus in-house infrastructure. They cannot, however, afford to skimp on IT security because the risks are simply too high. MSPs are perfectly poised to step in in these situations, by offering guidance and services that can help SMEs win at IT security.

Additional Resources on this Topic:

Five IT Security Claims You Can Quit Believing
The Top Five SME Security Challenges
Is Your Network Safe From Hackers? 5 Keys to Good Security

This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s PivotPoint. Dedicated to providing valuable insight from industry thought leaders, PivotPoint offers expertise to help you develop, differentiate and scale your business.

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