Starting a business is difficult. The countless hours involved in researching, analyzing, and testing to bring a product or service to a select target audience is not for the faint of heart.

Statistically, most small and medium businesses (SMBs) fail. Those that do stay open in the first five years face a long, arduous path to profitability. Being shut down due to a cyberattack shouldn’t be an obstacle, but it is.

The global pandemic only exacerbated matters, leading to a 600% increase in cybercrime. Fortunately, VARs, agents, consultants, and other channel partners play a big part in combatting bad actors. Here are some ways they can help stop this downward spiral and equip SMBs to protect their investments from cyber criminals.

Embrace Educational Awareness

Giving SMBs the tools they need to fight against cybercrime begins with knowledge—and knowledge is power. Kelly Teal makes this point clear: “[T]alk with SMBs about the sneaky tactics cybercriminals use to infiltrate businesses. Those include clickbait; fake personas, companies, and ads; chatbots disguised as humans; and deep fakes and artificial intelligence. Each of these methods can lure-in even a seasoned pro.”

Channel partners can provide the necessary tools, resources, and support for detecting and thwarting a cyberattack. The key is educating your clients so they can understand the telltale signs of a cyber threat, take appropriate steps to mitigate it, and prevent a repeat.

Expose Critical Vulnerabilities

Eduard Kovacs at Security Week recently shed light on vulnerabilities in Cisco small business routers that could enable cyber criminals to execute arbitrary code or initiate denial of service (DoS) attacks. The networking giant has released patches to cover these issues.

Small businesses often don’t think they can afford an IT specialist to keep track of such issues. But the cost of not being mindful of the risks is even higher. Like Theresa Payton at Fortalice Solutions states, “No one can fully prevent attacks, but it is possible to make things harder for hackers.”

Leverage Emerging Technologies

Research shows that nearly half of SMBs leverage cloud-based technology solutions, such as SaaS platforms provided by consultants, channel partners, and service providers. The global pandemic only increased adoption. Forward-thinking and innovative-minded channel partners stand in a unique position to offer resources, training, and support for empowering smaller businesses with digital transformation. Such assistance may be offered through data management, analytics, and segmentation; strategic planning; and selling.

Empowering SMBs to onboard to the latest digital trends is a key business opportunity that channel partners need to seriously explore. Start by considering personalized, industry-relevant materials and targeted outreaches on social media; these can demonstrate to SMBs that you are a critical business partner in their transformation journey. Providing recommendations and support for SaaS-based IT risk management solutions will only seal the deal.

Key Takeaways

Cybersecurity is now the new normal for digital transformation. The complexity of IoT, Big Data, and cloud/edge solutions necessitates the need for SMBs to put cybersecurity at the forefront of their strategic planning. Cybercriminals are more opportunistic than ever and have taken advantage of SMBs’ general lack of readiness. By 2025, the fallout from cybercrime globally will reach $10.5 trillion annually. The threat to small and medium businesses is very real, and getting hit with a ransomware attack is no longer a matter of “if” but “when.” Cybercriminals know all the vulnerabilities and how to exploit them.

All this is to say that there’s never been a better time to provide educational awareness, training, and support for the vast SMB marketplace. Many channel partners themselves are SMBs, or started out as such, and know the ropes. Re-evaluate your offerings today and make sure this sector is in your portfolio of possibilities. Doing so can make a massive difference by helping create a safer, saner world—one small business at a time.

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