Cyberattacks are rising fast. The World Economic Forum reported at Davos this year that cyberattacks worldwide jumped 125% in 2021. Many of these attacks were targeted at large corporations and grabbed headlines, like the ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods. But headlines can be misleading. Fewer reports focus on cyberattacks and data breaches impacting companies with less than 100 employees. And yet, SMBs are three times more likely to be attacked than large organizations.
Once attacked, SMBs are far more likely to suffer data loss because they don’t have the resources required to defend themselves against the broad range of cybersecurity threats in the world today or to recover from an attack.
A global study by Arcserve released in June 2022 found that 35% of attacked companies faced ransom payments of more than $100,000, and 20% received demands of $1 million to $10 million. For SMBs, this is a staggering and entirely unaffordable demand. And yet most do business with no defense against demands like that because their resources are limited, and they must be laser-focused on making those investments that will bring impactful results.
But as more SMBs learn about the growing threat posed by cyberattacks, more are discovering the many benefits of taking on an external partner to protect themselves and their data. Here are three ways that channel partners and managed service providers (MSPs) help SMBs prioritize data protection and gain the robust and affordable security they need.
1. MSPs bring resources to the table
There is a severe shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the market today. In a July announcement launching an effort to train more cybersecurity workers, the Biden administration noted that U.S. companies have hundreds of thousands of vacant cybersecurity positions because they can’t find people to fill them. For SMBs, the challenge is especially acute. They have less money to attract cybersecurity experts and fewer advancement opportunities to offer those they do hire.
But SMBs do have options. One of the quickest and most effective solutions for SMBs to meet their security needs is with an external partner, particularly an MSP partner that offers a team who can work hand in hand with the in-house personnel at SMBs. Such a partner can fill specific internal skill gaps and provide close support during cyber incidents.
2. MSPs create a solid and stable data-backup infrastructure
The ransomware problem will continue to grow in severity for SMBs as they leverage technologies like IoT, artificial intelligence, and 5G and generate more data. This data can be compromised and held captive in ransomware attacks. Fortunately, MSPs can help their SMB customers implement data backup and recovery strategies and ultimately thwart the massive threat posed by ransomware.
For instance, by deploying or recommending the right backup solution, MSPs put small businesses in a strong position to react quickly to ransomware attacks and minimize potential damage. Specifically, MSPs can implement an immutable storage solution that takes snapshots of data every 90 seconds, thus creating a series of recovery points and ensuring that the customer’s information will remain intact even if ransomware does sneak through. Indeed, that’s how the Italian municipality of Palermo recovered its data after a recent cyberattack.
3. MSPs keep it simple
Good MSPs keep it as simple as possible for their SMB customers. Instead of throwing out terms like recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) —which a typical, non-technical SMB owner might not understand—experienced MSPs paint a picture that every SMB owner can grasp.
Many MSPs start by asking their SMB customers what data they need to run their business daily. This question is crucial because not all data is equally valuable. An SMB that wants to save money should understand that it’s unnecessary to store or back up every bit and byte of data in its organization. MSPs can help SMBs prioritize their data and understand what data they need in the event of a disaster so the business can remain up and running.
Good MSPs also offer data-management capabilities like data tiering. Data tiering is a method by which companies can move less frequently used data to cheaper storage levels or “tiers.” This approach helps an SMB save money on data storage while avoiding damage to its essential data.
In a world of increasing cybercrime and multiplying legions of hackers, SMBs finally realize they’re in the crosshairs. Yet many continue to underinvest in protection, believing it’s too expensive. Well, it’s not. These days numerous MSP partners are offering SMBs the effective, affordable security they need to safeguard their data—and protect and grow their business.
Ahsan Siddiqui is the Director of Product Management for Arcserve.