What the Prevalence of Threats in SMB Networks Means for MSSPs

SMBs are becoming increasingly aware of their cyber risk. Learn how this awareness can readily be translated into increased business opportunities for MSSPs.

4 Min Read
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For far too long, many leaders of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have believed their organizations weren’t likely to be targeted by cyberattacks. Thinking their business profiles too low, their structures too simple or their profits too small, these leaders have historically underestimated their risk.

This risk is compounded as these organizations have also found themselves limited by budget constraints, and have struggled to attract and retain skilled and experienced employees in the face of today’s acute shortage of cybersecurity professionals.

The SMB Threat Landscape

Today’s attackers are increasingly sophisticated, professionalized and motivated by the desire for financial gain. They are well aware that many SMBs maintain less robust security postures than their enterprise-level counterparts, though storing sensitive personal and financial data that can be exploited just as readily as that taken from larger organizations.

Recent research indicates that SMBs today are in fact being affected by cybercrime more frequently than larger enterprises. The 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report notes that 58% of victims were categorized as small businesses. The Better Business Bureau reported that more than 20% of small organizations had been directly impacted by cyberattacks within the past year.

As SMBs become more aware of these significant and growing threats, they are increasingly turning to partners for support in reducing and mitigating the risks. This opens an opportunity for Fortinet partners to provide value, simplify security infrastructures and support business growth by helping SMBs focus on their strengths.

Growing Awareness Creates Opportunities for Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs)

With large-scale data breaches and international cyber-espionage events continuing to make headlines, cybersecurity risk awareness is on the rise, both among members of the public and SMB leaders.

Driven by this expanded awareness of threat severity and increasing need to comply with data security and privacy regulations, such as GDPR, organizations are increasing their willingness to invest in security solutions.

However, SMB customers do not have the budgets or internal employee resources to select, monitor and maintain complex combinations of products and services. For this reason, it often makes a great deal of sense for them to outsource their IT security requirements to MSSPs.

Strong Partnerships Are Key to Secure SMB Growth

In today’s digital business ecosystem, growth usually means adding new digital tools, products and services, and each has the potential to expand the attack surface. Hiring new employees, for instance, may come with a responsibility to secure BYOD endpoints, offer safe wireless network access at a new office location or provision additional cloud-hosted resources. A new digital product offering might increase customer engagement, boost loyalty and improve existing product sales.

In order to take advantage of these kinds of opportunities with confidence, SMB leaders need to know that their benefits will outweigh any security risks they might bring. Experienced MSSPs have the skills to comprehensively manage and monitor networks, empowering SMBs with this confidence.

Over the next three years, SMBs are forecast to spend more than $300 million per year on IT services. This represents a tremendous business opportunity to our MSSP partners. To meet SMB needs and capitalize on this opportunity, partners must align offerings with what their SMB clients need most to enable secure growth.

Consider your portfolio of service offerings to ensure that you are meeting the most pressing demands of the SMB market:

  • Predictable Costs: SMBs inherently have fewer resources than larger enterprises, so the budget predictability offered by fixed-fee service offerings is particularly attractive to them. The majority of SMB IT service consumers prefers to pay for day-to-day security operations in an OpEx model, where hardware, software, engineering and maintenance are bundled in a simple, recurring monthly fee.

  • Simple, Integrated Solutions: Technology sprawl is especially challenging for organizations without the internal resources adequate to handle its complexity. To minimize this challenge, partners can leverage Fortinet’s Unified Threat Management (UTM) and its Secure Networks solution to simplify management and secure small business networks.

 Cloud Compatibility: Migrating to cloud-based services makes good financial sense for many small businesses, since it enables them to deploy, provision, and scale resources quickly and affordably. However, it can also make their IT environments more fragmented and dispersed, and thus more difficult to secure. Fortinet’s comprehensive Security Fabric readily integrates Web Application Firewall protection, strong multi-factor authentication and advanced email filtering capabilities to bolster security in the cloud.

Final Thoughts

Every well-publicized data breach or other major security incident has the potential to increase awareness among the leaders of businesses—large and small—of the risks that we all face as inhabitants of a digitally transforming world. This growth in awareness can readily be translated into increased business opportunities for MSSPs if they are able to deliver security solutions with skill and competence at affordable cost.

To learn more, take a look at our resources for MSSPs, including “Best Practices to Grow Your Business Center” on the Partner Portal.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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