Just like variants of human diseases, computer viruses and other cyber threats evolve and strengthen. As insidious cyber terrorists get savvier and more sophisticated, the increased risks from cyber threats are a key concern to businesses, especially those in the small-to-medium business (SMB) space.

Amy Luby, Founder of Modern MSP

AUTHOR: Amy Luby, Founder of Modern MSP

unfortunately, the media focuses on large-scale attacks on major corporations, leaving many to assume that smaller organizations are less of a target. The minefield of potential dangers facing SMBs should be a top-of-mind concern.

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SMBs are targets

According to a recent industry survey, more than 57% of senior-level decision-makers in non-enterprise businesses do not believe a cyberattack will victimize their company. Those managers’ perceptions of the risks should concern every MSP that supports those systems. While the SMB cyber incidence rate is approximately 43%, no one knows which company will be a target at any point in time. Every business owner should assume their systems sit squarely in the cross-hairs of hackers, organized syndicates, and other cybercriminals.

Every business owner should assume their systems sit squarely in the cross-hairs of hackers, organized syndicates, and other cybercriminals.

The recent shift to remote and hybrid workforces and the increasing use of cloud-based services and applications open the door even wider for this community. It doesn’t help that many SMBs shifted to remote operations without any form of a threat prevention plan.

The price of poor cybersecurity

These threats can be very costly for any business, but they are especially painful for SMBs that don’t have the financial resources of their larger peers. The current research shows that the average breach costs an SMB upwards of $149,000 today. With limited budgets and few internal IT resources to keep up with the latest threats, let alone monitor threat activity, most small businesses rely on managed services providers to ensure their cyber safety.

The current research shows that the average breach costs an SMB upwards of $149,000 today.

Common attack vectors

Here’s a list of the most common attack vectors or pathways cyber criminals use to infiltrate SMBs and what MSPs can do to protect their vital digital assets:

>> Email – Email is the #1 threat vector for exploiting cyber security vulnerabilities. According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, 94% of detected malware was delivered via malicious email attachments, and approximately 45% of malware comes in through email files containing common Microsoft Office documents. Email phishing remains the number one type of attack.

Many small business owners believe that endpoint security solutions are all they need to prevent cyber threats. However, for SMBs to prevent a full-scale email attack, consider a comprehensive cyber protection platform designed to help MSPs identify potential threats before they reach end-users.

>> Networks – An SMBs internet and intranet connections, including Wi-Fi, are extremely vulnerable to attacks. With fake access points, evil twins, and the increased risks to WLANs and WWANs, protecting an SMB’s network has never been more important. According to Government Technology, ransomware will get increasingly worse, especially with emerging RaaS (ransomware-as-a-service) groups such as Loki Locker posing significant threats.

IT service providers can implement robust protocols and tools with enhanced exploitation prevention to protect the SMB. With URL filtering, anti-ransomware, and anti-malware detection, these solutions catch threats faster.

>> Endpoints – Securing devices such as laptops, desktops, and mobile devices that can be exploited by malicious actors and campaigns is essential for IT security. According to a Ponemon Sullivan Privacy Report, SMBs suggest laptops are the most vulnerable entry point to their networks and enterprise systems, increasing the demand for MSPs to implement collaborative tools that work seamlessly and reduce client exposure.

>> Apps – the increase in remote workers since the Pandemic elevated the use of cloud-based applications and platforms. These apps allow cybercriminals to access mission-critical data and digital resources, especially when SMBs fail to update patches

TechRepublic reported that more than 70% of small and medium-sized businesses experienced a phishing attempt in the last three months, yet only 38% apply patches as soon as they were available. Automated patch management tools designed for MSPs help eliminate complexity while protecting clients against the latest threats.

>> Human error – Nobody’s perfect, and unfortunately, employee mistakes could be one of the most challenging threats to a company’s cybersecurity efforts. According to the IBM Cyber Security Intelligence Index Report, 95% of cyber security breaches are primarily caused by human error. Unintentional actions or lack of response by users could cause or allow a security breach to occur, potentially costing SMBs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Addressing this internally is key with clear policies and procedures, education, and implementing best practices.

Implementing continuous data protection solutions reduces data loss and downtime while providing the ability to restore any lost information or mission-critical business assets.

Any organization that neglects its security puts itself at serious risk, no matter the size. Many SMBs either don’t think their systems are vulnerable or don’t take the potential threats seriously. IT service providers who serve the SMB space have the opportunity to educate and provide small and medium-sized businesses with valuable tools to safeguard their company and provide the utmost in data protection.

Is it hard to convince SMBs to implement cybersecurity measures? Tell us your thoughts over at the Modern MSP Facebook group.


About the author

Amy Luby is the Founder of Modern MSP. A proven entrepreneur and pioneer in the IT services industry, Amy founded and built one of the first Managed Services Providers in America. Next, she expanded that business into one of the first Master MSPs, defining both business models in the process. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.