How the channel can best support SMB security goals

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Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face an uphill battle when it comes to managing cyber security. 

While smaller firms must fend off the same increasingly sophisticated and aggressive cyber threats as their larger peers, they do so with very limited access to resources and expertise. This can easily lead to smaller businesses feeling isolated, as they are tasked with battling a swift and relentless enemy with little support. 

Against this backdrop, technology providers and partners which specialize in the field of cyber security are becoming a critical lifeline for these businesses. As revealed in recent research from BlackFog, an increasing number of SMBs are recognizing the invaluable support provided by partners. 

Dr Darren Williams, CEO and founder of BlackFog
Dr Darren Williams

Dr Darren Williams is currently the founder and CEO of BlackFog, a global cyber security company focusing on ransomware prevention and cyber warfare. 

Dr Williams is responsible for strategic direction and leads global expansion for BlackFog and has pioneered anti data exfiltration technology for the prevention of cyber attacks across the globe.

In fact, 69% of the respondents reported they were more likely to seek advice on cyber security solutions from their partners now compared to the previous year.

This growing reliance underscores a significant shift in the cyber security field for SMBs, with the channel playing an increasingly pivotal role. 

Here, we will delve deeper into the unique challenges SMBs are grappling with, the indispensable role of channel partners and how partners can best identify and engage with businesses to bolster their cyber security efforts.

The hostile threat landscape for SMBs

The scale and complexity of cyber attacks targeting SMBs are escalating at an alarming rate. There has long been a trend of treating smaller firms as stepping stones to attack the larger businesses in their supply chains

Increasingly though, it seems SMBs are no longer collateral damage in cyber warfare; they are direct targets. 

According to BlackFog's survey, over two-thirds of SMBs reported that they had been victims of a successful cyber attack in the last year, underlining the gravity of the situation.

What's more troubling is that these attacks are not isolated incidents. Of the SMBs that experienced a successful cyber attack, a staggering 87% reported two or more separate incidents. 

The typical SMB has not simply had the misfortune of being hit by an opportunist criminal but has more likely been specifically struck by threat actors targeting a particular profile. 

These cyber attacks have serious repercussions for businesses beyond just operational disruption. A startling 40% of the businesses surveyed reported a loss of customer data following an attack, and a third even faced customer attrition as a direct result. 

SMBs will usually feel the impact to their customer base far more keenly than larger firms that can weather losses. 

So how can a trusted channel partner can make a difference in helping SMBs survive this hostile landscape? 

The vital role of the channel for SMBs

SMBs have several decisions to make ahead when choosing the right provider. There is a clear and growing need for SMBs to work with specialist providers that can alleviate the burden of managing security.  

In fact, at the beginning of this year, Analysys Mason projected spending on cyber security solutions for SMBS will increase from $69 billion in 2022 to $77 billion in 2023.

This combined with the ongoing skills shortage, means that MSPs and - increasingly the round-the clock SOC services provided by an MSSP – will be increasingly in demand.  

Key to the success of the MSSP is delivering a robust, comprehensive portfolio and full-service offering, that is flexible and can be tailored to the specific needs of the client and their budget. 

Underpinning this with the latest advice on new technologies that can help businesses to explore and deploy the latest and most innovative security solutions. 

This is important in a fast-changing threat landscape as threat actors continually adapt their tactics.  And whilst there are encouraging signs that, broadly, partners are meeting the security needs of clients, there is still some work to do, with just 39% of respondents stating that their providers fully understood all of their challenges.  

Only by taking the needed time and asking all the right questions can proper guidance be provided, enabling organizations to focus on their core business capabilities rather than getting bogged down attempting to keep up with cyber threats.

A shining light for beleaguered SMBs

Channel partners can be more than just service providers – they have the potential to be a real lifeline for SMBs' digital security. This impact extends beyond safeguarding sensitive data; they bolster SMBs’ overall business resilience, fostering trust with customers and stakeholders alike.

An SMB's perfect IT partner is one that profoundly understands the business and offers a comprehensive, multilayered strategy for cyber security. The partner must be able to adjust to the fluid cyber security ecosystem and take initiative by sharing industry knowledge and insights. 

By fully assuming these roles and obligations, SMBs can make judicious choices about their IT partners, constructing a resilient security framework that ensures sustained value protection against the most persistent threat actors.

For the enterprises involved in our study, ransomware ranks as a top concern, primarily because cyber attackers often perceive smaller firms as more vulnerable, and more likely to agree to pay any ransom demands. 

Therefore, a purely defensive stance is no longer adequate; organizations need to take proactive measures that safeguard them from exploitative tactics like data exfiltration.


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Partners also need to exhibit both agility and flexibility when it comes to meeting security needs while receiving the best ROI. 

Companies should know that their IT providers are adapting their services and enhancing their offerings in step with changes in the threat landscape when threats like double and triple extortion ransomware attacks are now commonplace. 

With the right partner, an SMB doesn’t have to face these battles alone, they have an ally who understands the intricacies of their business and who is dedicated to safeguarding their network, assets and data. 

This frees up business leaders to focus on growth, innovation and customer engagement, secure in the knowledge that their cyber defense is robust. 

Dr Darren Williams
CEO and Founder, BlackFog

Dr. Darren Williams is currently the founder and CEO of BlackFog, a global cyber security company focusing on ransomware prevention and cyber warfare. Dr. Williams is responsible for strategic direction and leads global expansion for BlackFog and has pioneered anti data exfiltration technology for the prevention of cyber attacks across the globe.

Dr. Williams holds a Ph.D. and Bachelor of Science with Honors from the University of Melbourne, authoring several scientific papers and software applications for auto-radiographic densitometry and analysis. He is a dual citizen of both Australia and the United States where he now resides.