While most small to midsize businesses (SMBs) understand the need for strong IT security, they are also struggling with the financial realities required by effective cybersecurity protocols. Limited financial resources, both in IT equipment budgets and personnel headcounts, have placed SMBs at a disadvantage when compared to their larger enterprise counterparts.
According to a 2018 report published by Untangle, only 30% of respondents to its survey of 350 SMBs have a dedicated IT security expert on staff. As a result, more than half of the SMBs are forced to distribute cybersecurity responsibilities across personnel with job roles other than security. SMBs in the survey said they can't afford to hire personnel focused solely on IT security.
Combine this fact with the ever-increasing trend of SMBs being the primary targets for cyberattacks by malicious criminals, and you have a formula for disaster. However, there are effective strategies SMBs can use to stretch their IT budgets toward better cybersecurity that do not involve hiring new personnel.
SEE: Information security policy (Tech Pro Research)
Consistency is the key
SMBs can improve their ability to establish and enforce more effective IT security by reducing overall system complexity. By keeping their IT systems standardized, uniform, and as routine as possible, SMBs can streamline operations and make the job of IT security easier and their IT environment more predictable—perhaps even to the point where the lack of dedicated IT security personnel is not a great disadvantage.
Regardless of their size, SMBs that can coordinate equipment purchases, standardize components based on job responsibility, and prepare for maintenance, repairs, and upgrades will have more systemic knowledge of their IT environment. Even though this knowledge stems from budgetary planning, it should allow SMBs to see and react to security breaches much more quickly because changes in network activity will be so much more obvious.
SEE: Essential reading for IT leaders: 10 books on cybersecurity (free TechRepublic PDF)
The coordination of financial budget and IT department planning necessary to bring such a plan to fruition requires a fully realized budget strategy. TechRepublic's premium sister site, Tech Pro Research, offers a New Equipment Budget Policy that provides a comprehensive framework for standardizing IT equipment purchases and deployment. When all is said and done, consistency of IT equipment may be one of the most effective ways for SMBs to combat ever-increasing cyberattack threats.
- The average SMB website is attacked 44 times per day (TechRepublic)
- 10 tech tools that will help bring digital transformation to your SMB (TechRepublic)
- Infographic: How to delegate responsibilities in your SMB (TechRepublic)
- Cryptojacking: Has cryptocurrency-mining malware already reached its peak? (ZDNet)
Does your SMB have a consistent IT equipment deployment policy? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.