For small and midsize businesses (SMBs), information security should be an “enterprise-grade” concern. Unfortunately, many SMBs believe they are not big enough to be targeted by cyber attackers. To the contrary, well-publicized breaches sustained by SMBs have shown that the threat is real, regardless of their industry or size.
According to a 2016 Ponemon study, 69 percent of SMBs lack the necessary budget or in-house expertise to achieve a strong cyber security position. More than half of the study’s SMB respondents experienced a data breach or cyber attack in the past year with an average cost of $879,582. It’s safe to say that smaller organizations need to be as vigilant and prepared as large enterprises in order to protect their employees, customers and partners from cyber attacks.
But as anyone working at an SMB knows, smaller companies face a series of challenges that larger ones don’t – especially when it comes to cyber security. Without the funds, expertise, or time to manage security in-house, where can you turn for security help? The answer is Managed Service Providers (MSPs) or Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs).
Here are five key indicators that now is the right time to engage with an MSSP:
1. Your company doesn’t allocate budget specifically for security
According to a recent Experian survey, 51 percent of small businesses do not allocate any budget towards risk mitigation for cyber attacks. Most smaller organizations don’t have much – if any – budget reserved for information security. This may sound all too familiar to you since managed security services have traditionally been a luxury affordable only to large enterprises. But, the recent rise in cyber attacks aimed at SMBs has caused a shift in the service provider market. The good news is that in general MSPs have started adding security services to their solution portfolios as a way to make cost-effective security available for smaller organizations.
2. Your organization is part of a much larger business ecosystem
Does your company interact with customers, multiple vendors and other businesses on a daily basis? Chances are, your business activities and applications reside in a broader ecosystem. Most smaller organizations have contractual or permanent relationships with a partnering businesses (like healthcare, hospitality, or financial services organizations). This means that no matter what industry you’re in, cyber criminals see your organization as an entry point to attack direct or indirect partners. Even if it doesn’t seem like your company’s data would be of any value to hackers, your organization needs to make security a top priority in order to protect partner information.
3. You’d have better luck finding a unicorn than a CISSP in your office
Today’s emerging threat landscape demands the attention of experienced security professionals like Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSPs). If you work at a smaller organization, you probably don’t have a dedicated internal security team. In fact, your general IT department might be fairly limited. This lack of security expertise and resources often leaves SMBs in a reactive position. If your company doesn’t have the capacity to proactively shore up defenses or regularly configure, monitor and update security products, you might need outside help.
4. Your company lacks visibility into IT
Do you know what data and IT resources your business uses? SMBs often do not have visibility into what resources are being consumed, where these resources reside, and how they potentially interact. Whether it’s a laptop running lightweight bookkeeping software, or a point-of-sale solution running a SaaS application, the ability to identify what data is being used, where this data is stored, and how it’s processed by users and applications is key to keeping your company’s critical information secure.
5. You view compliance management as an inconvenience
PCI 3.0 is a great example of a major compliance standard for the retail industry. Regulations like this are constantly evolving and notoriously arduous to manage. If you’re confused and overwhelmed by the compliance requirements in your industry, it may be more beneficial to have an expert handle them instead of taking time and effort away from your business to learn the ins and outs of compliance management. MSSPs often use comprehensive reporting techniques to identify compliance requirements and find any gaps where your business does not adhere to them.
The good news is that SMBs are beginning to realize the value of external security support. According to a recent survey conducted by Vanson Bourne, more than 60 percent of SMB security solutions resellers across the globe believe the majority of their customers do not know the difference between Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances and Next Generation Firewalls (NGFW). Of the 1,400 resellers surveyed, nearly 80 percent do not think their customers care about product categories or classification – and only want to know that their business is protected by the latest cyber security services. This data suggest that SMBs have begun to rely heavily on channel resellers and MSSPs for informed recommendations about the best security strategies and equipment.
If any of these challenges hit home for your business, it might be the right time to consider working with an MSSP to manage your cyber security needs.