By Sean Sykes, Managing Director, Avast
Your SMB customers are facing a cybersecurity crisis. Threats are more complex and coming at us fast, and small businesses are becoming more frequent targets. Ponemon says that the risk of a cyber attack is increasing for companies of all sizes and industries when compared to last year, but more than 61 percent of SMBs have been breached in the last 12 months, up from 55 percent in 2016. The quantity of stolen data in an average breach nearly doubled, to 9,350 records from 2016’s average of 5,079, and SMB respondents are very worried about IoT and mobile devices.
Yet as many partners know, SMBs often lack the budget, resources and security knowledge to put an effective defense in place. Complicating this, enterprise-class security software is often packed with features and complexity they don’t need, and more expensive than they can afford.
The channel must find smarter ways to respond with flexible service options customized for SMBs’ specific business need.
For security service providers, this creates both challenge and opportunity. How do you provide the right tools and techniques while accommodating a small business budget? And once the service plan is delivered, how do you ensure users are educated about security threats so you can also minimize human error?
VARs, MSPs and consultants that can respond effectively will add real value for their businesses and strengthen client relationships. Done right, managed security can help SMBs mitigate the threat of downtime, lost revenue and damage to their reputations. Keep in mind, though, becoming a trusted security adviser is not as simple as adding security software to existing managed services. Creating a robust managed security service offering requires the right combination of products, processes and people.
I recommend three pillars of a service with a dozen base technologies. You can build from here, but this is a good foundational bundle.
Safeguarding data: Managing and securing a growing amount of data is not just an enterprise issue; SMBs are piling up the gigs. Whether they store this data in the cloud, on premises or on endpoint devices, it is important to have the appropriate protection in place, and to be able to recover it in case of a disaster or cyberattack. A basic bundle should include:
Securing devices: The growing number and diversity of user devices mean more gateways for attacks. SMBs require continuous monitoring and protection of devices to ensure complete protection.This bundle needs to include:
Protecting people: Admittedly, the human component is the hardest to control, but it is vital. IBM says some 95 percent of security breaches are attributable to human error. Creating a culture of cybersecurity is essential so that everyone understands they play a role in the company’s safety. This starts with:
Effective cybersecurity ultimately comes down to partnerships — not just between employees and their employer, but between SMBs and their IT partners. Managed services need to deliver the right combination of technology and trust — this is especially critical in cybersecurity. In today’s climate of insecurity, MSPs are in a unique position to naturally extend their expert services to help their SMB customers better navigate critical issues of security and privacy that threaten the well-being of their businesses.
Sean Sykes is managing director for Avast and leads revenue responsibilities for the company’s Avast Business division. For the past twenty years, he has helped technology firms position their offerings and build successful direct and indirect sales channels in North America and LATAM.