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Why an all-in-one holistic approach to security is best for SMBs

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Many of our customers are small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). As a specialist IT distributor, we listen closely to our customers which led us to commission a survey to get a feel for the level of ‘cyber concern’ amongst UK-based SMBs.

The survey provided very useful feedback across all areas of cybersecurity. But for me, the key takeaway from our survey was that an overwhelming majority of SMBs (80%) would consider an all-in-one security solution to manage all their security concerns. Indeed, this trend towards adopting an all-in-one solution is becoming increasingly common within the SMB community. So, if you are looking to make an investment in cybersecurity, here’s what you need to know.

The challenge faced by SMBs

Our survey highlighted a major challenge facing SMBs in the UK today. There is an increasing threat of cybersecurity attacks, but a lack of expertise and budget required to combat these threats. Even with the current economic situation in the UK throwing up all sorts of challenges for SMBs, our survey highlighted cybersecurity as the top priority. Perhaps this shouldn’t really come as a surprise when you consider that on average, the potential cost of a breach is estimated to be over £1,700,000. It is therefore critical for SMBs to adopt the correct strategy and invest in the right tools when it comes to cybersecurity.

There is a misconception that cyber security isn’t as important for SMBs as it is for larger organisations – you might think that your business is too small to be a target or offers nothing valuable to cybercriminals. Sadly, however, thieves are very interested in smaller businesses because they are often badly defended from a cybersecurity point of view and offer easy pickings.  A breach of a smaller business can also be a step along the way for the attacker in getting to a larger and more lucrative target such as a customer or business partner.

An all-in-one strategy explained

Surely managing cyber security risk is too complex to allow for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution? This observation is more fitting when talking about large or enterprise level business but for SMBs we are talking about something else entirely. Rather than a specific tool or solution we are talking about an approach. Specifically, it’s all about choosing a vendor that allows your business to view all aspects of your security effectively. Visibility is key here; if you currently deal with one vendor who offers a standalone solution and yet another for a different one, it is easy to see how you can lose sight of the ‘overall’ picture when it comes to securing your IT estate.

A holistic approach

In essence, adopting a holistic security strategy means working with a vendor who can provide you with a selection of products and services to improve security throughout your business. It is very easy for a company to fall into the trap of dealing with just one aspect of security at the expense of other areas. For example, spending a small fortune on a firewall system but having no cloud security strategy. Cybercriminals are very good at probing defences and will quickly breach defences if there are ‘holes’ in your overall security.

Of course, not every business will require the same tools or solutions – horses for courses. Working with the right security partner should provide a blended security approach where you can invest in the right mix of options that suit the needs of your business. Your security blanket is customised for your business and should provide you with all the coverage that you need. And the best place to start is by identifying and mitigating any vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by cybercriminals. This helicopter view (from a security perspective) of your business should serve to identify vulnerabilities wherever they might exist in your IT infrastructure – this would include your network, endpoints (often overlooked when it comes to security) and all of your applications. And let’s not forget people – often your most vital asset and often the weakest link when it comes to security.

There is no hiding from the modern scourge that is cybercrime. Don’t think that the size of your business makes you less attractive to cybercriminals – quite the opposite in fact. By taking a proactive and holistic approach to your security, you can identify vulnerabilities, plug weaknesses, and give any potential attackers a hard time succeeding.

Francis O’Haire, Group Technology Director, DataSolutions

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