Cyber Risk

How Partners Can Lessen Cyber Risk for SMB Customers

By Srinivas Hebbar

Small and medium-sized businesses are experiencing increased pressure to provide digital experiences for their customers and end-users due to changes in today’s evolving, competitive landscape. By providing digital experiences and services for their clients, your SMB customers are able to compete with similarly-sized businesses, and can even take on larger organizations in the digital marketplace. The tools and technologies that enable digital engagements allow SMBs to improve communication efforts and build loyalty to meet the growing demands of online consumerization.

Equal Risk

Modernisation introduces a number of benefits to SMBs but also opens the door to many security risks. Taking shortcuts with strategy can be detrimental to the success of the digital transformation. It’s essential to develop a well thought out approach to ensure that you are protecting against potential security and customer data risks. Start by considering how you are planning for regulatory requirements, security, and data privacy.

When compared to larger organizations, though many do not realise it, SMBs are at equal risk of cyberattack. Cybercriminals are looking for high-value customer data, which is stored by both SMBs and larger enterprises. However, adversaries are also aware that SMBs are typically less equipped to defend against attacks – making these organizations an easy target.

By offering the tools needed to secure new technology deployments, as well as services and expertise, partners can assist in areas where SMB customers lack resources. For the year 2019, 47% of SMBs have noted information security as a priority investment.

“SMBs need to keep their networks secure as they deploy cloud technologies, integrate third-party CRM tools, and allow for accessibility from IoT and mobile devices. Partners can offer unique coverage in each of these areas by providing customers with integrated tools that offer security-spanning endpoints, LAN, cloud, and other environments with single-pane-of-glass visibility”, Srinivas Hebbar, MD, Mass Infonet.

Solutions

Fortinet’s FortiGate Unified Threat Management, for example, can be installed on customer networks within 20 minutes. This solution works to stop attacks before they get the chance to enter the network. Digitalization can further be enabled for SMB customers through FortiAP and FortiSwitch, which extend security to the network edge, prioritize applications for optimal traffic flow, and add extra switch ports for offices with more devices.

The fact is, many SMBs have turned to the cloud because it offers speed of growth and digitization at low upfront costs. Partners can aid in their deployment of cloud environments by assisting customers with their understanding of their cloud exposure and by demonstrating the right tools and processes necessary for security. This effort should begin with a strong identity and access management process and incorporate the use of web application firewalls (WAFs) and CASBs where necessary.

Additionally, FortiClient endpoint security enables mobility by securing the expansion of IoT devices and maintaining visibility into various endpoints, protecting these devices with high-impact threat prevention.

By leveraging the right tools and services, partners can play a key role in enabling SMB customers to modernize their networks while simultaneously reducing complexity and mitigating security and compliance risks.

The author is MD, Mass Infonet

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