While SMBs realize they face several security risks, resource constraints keep them from acting on those worries, according to an Untangle report published on Thursday. Untangle surveyed more than 350 global businesses, and 80% said security was "very important" to the business.
But limited resources put SMBs at a huge security disadvantage, according to the report. Between budgeting and headcount restrictions, these companies are often left to fend for themselves.
SEE: Cybersecurity strategy research: Common tactics, issues with implementation, and effectiveness (Tech Pro Research)
Only 30% of SMBs having an IT security expert on staff, so over half of respondents (52%) have to distribute IT security responsibilities across other roles, said the report. This means that the majority of employees are forced to assume the responsibilities of two jobs.
Budget constraints are the biggest obstacle for SMBs. Some 50% of respondents had less than $5,000 per year allocated toward IT security, said the report, and half of those had less than $1,000 per year. Gartner estimates $96.3 billion will be spent on enterprise security efforts in 2018, which means the budget SMBs are given make it almost impossible to protect themselves from emerging cyber threats, said the report.
Within the past 12 months, phishing attacks, malware, and ransomware remained the most common attack vectors for SMBs, with almost 40% of SMBs having experience an attack, stated the report.
While SMBs face many hurdles when it comes to protecting themselves, there are small measures that can still be taken. Untangle recommends little things like separating the internal network from public or mobile devices, and educating employees on what attacks look like. Multi-factor authentication is also a simple, and necessary, way to protect employees against hackers. If this tool also proves too expensive, companies can take caution by encouraging employees to change passwords frequently.
For more tips on how SMBs can protect themselves, check out this TechRepublic article.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- 80% of SMB employees believe security is the top concern for their companies, but limited resources prevent them from taking action. — Untangle, 2018
- The biggest obstacles for SMBs in cybersecurity are budget and headcount restraints, but companies can protect themselves by educating employees. — Untangle, 2018
Macy Bayern has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.