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Cryptzone’s Taddeo: Small Companies Face Big Security Threats

Lynn HaberSmall and medium-size businesses (SMBs) aren’t immune from security threats. In fact, companies with fewer than 500 employees make up 99.7 percent of the approximately 5.6 million employer firms in the U.S., according to government figures, and are increasingly targets for cyber criminals.

Why?

Because a growing number of SMBs understand that IT – mobility, cloud, analytics – is key to business growth and success but lack the technical resources to plan, design, implement, manage and secure a robust IT infrastructure. To help these vibrant SMBs grow their businesses, they’re increasingly partnering with VARs, MSPs and consultants.

Cryptzone's Leo TaddeoHowever, not any old IT channel partner fits the bill for these SMBs who represent an enormous opportunity for years to come. Security savvy is a must for channel partners – for differentiation as well as ensuring customer success. If you haven’t yet considered adding a security practice to your channel practice, Leo Taddeo might change your mind.

Channel Partners caught up with Taddeo, CSO at Cryptzone, a security solution provider, and a former Special Agent in charge of the FBI’s Special Operations/Cyber Division in New York City, to understand the security demands put on partners to keep their customer’s data safe. Taddeo is the keynote speaker for “SMB Security in a Globalized World” at Channel Partners Evolution, Aug. 14-17. in Washington, D.C., where he will discuss the demands on partners to keep SMB data safe.

Channel Partners: What’s going on in the cyberthreat landscape?{ad}

Leo Taddeo: The cyberthreat landscape has changed. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting SMBs that aren’t paying attention to security, especially as they expand their workforce and take advantage of mobile and cloud-computing technologies. Channel partners need to be familiar with cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions and best practices that SMBs should consider to safely expand their remote workforce and migrate IT functions and resources to the cloud.    

CP: Elaborate briefly on security/SMB challenges and potential outcomes.

LT: SMBs often lack the budget and staffing to maintain highly specialized IT security professionals. One way to overcome this challenge is to outsource cybersecurity functions to a cloud provider. While cloud solutions can provide an enormous security advantage to SMBs, the management of security in the cloud still requires …

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… careful consideration. Not all cloud security providers (CSPs) are the same when it comes to security.

In addition, the shared security responsibilities between tenant and CSP shift based on whether the deployment is SaaS, PaaS or IaaS model. As such, SMBs need to fully understand their security risks and build effective strategies to migrate those risks.

Also, BYOD allows employees to access data and applications from almost anywhere. The challenge here for SMBs is to ensure that employees are restricted to the data and applications they need to do their jobs.  Failure to tightly control access can lead to intentional or unintentional data leakage, or worse.

CP: At Channel Partners Evolution, you’re going to discuss what a digital IT infrastructure for an SMB might look like, potential security vulnerabilities and what it takes for a partner to keep this company’s data safe. Would you share a couple of security tips that conference attendees will learn?

LT: SMBs face the same compliance requirements as large enterprises. While meeting these requirements is a drain on business resources, failure to comply could result in catastrophic fines, oversight, and loss of market share. SMBs need to be able to build compliance into business processes so that reporting and auditing functions are as streamlined as possible.

Another tip: Isolating sensitive data, such as credit-card data, into protected segments can not only increase security but reduce the scope of an audit and the work required to demonstrate compliancy.

CP: What advice would you offer about security and SMBs?

LT: SMBs that aim for high growth should adopt information-security practices to fit the company they are growing into, not the company they are today. Proper IT security protects the brand, allows for complete and efficient compliance, and makes the company more competitive. Customers will trust a company and want to do business with them if they know they take information security seriously.  


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