The Growing Threat Landscape for SMBs

The threat landscape is growing as a result of sophisticated hackers and a deficiency in cyber professionals.

By Barry Bazen, President at PAG, & Patrick Pocalyko, EVP at CyberHat USA

The threat landscape is growing as a result of sophisticated hackers and a deficiency in cyber professionals.

As small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) mature in their use of technologies, the threat landscape increases – 50-60% of reported attacks are perpetrated on SMBs. From an organizational perspective, both enterprises and SMBs are no longer considered safe from cyber attacks. Therefore, it’s no longer plausible for an organization to have an attitude of “why am I a threat? I’m not a target.”

Most think that giant organizations – with a worldwide footprint and bigger profile – are typically targeted more, but the numbers show otherwise. So, why is this occurring?

Shifts and Changing Threats in the SMB space

Technologies that were once only available for enterprises have made their way into the SMB space, causing shifts and threats to SMBs that were nonexistent in the past. Nowadays, businesses of all shapes and sizes are digitally connected to the web and are using the same systems and applications, creating a giant, effective community. 

For years, hackers have swept and scanned technology that enterprises use to find vulnerabilities that can open those businesses to attack. Because smaller businesses are now using those same technologies as enterprises, the SMB is now open to the same vulnerabilities. Their systems are getting scanned and searched in the same way as large enterprises. And because we’re growing more digitally connected – with more devices added to networks every day – this threat will only continue to grow and threaten the SMB space.

To make matters worse, one disadvantage that the SMB has when compared to an enterprise is its ability to bounce back after an attack. An SMB that gets hit with a crypto or an attack that destructs business continuity or pulls money out of their resources will experience much more trauma. An enterprise usually has the means to rebound in a more resilient fashion. 

The Growing Sophistication of Hackers and the Death of Cyber Security Help

As hackers grow more sophisticated, a huge deficiency in cyber talent grows as well. The deficiency in professionals is so great that businesses are implementing solutions claiming to be artificial intelligence so they can eliminate the use of people altogether. 

The industry needs true cyber professionals that have intrinsic experience from a technical perspective, but instead, organizations are using new tool sets to fight off sophisticated hackers – changing their defense posture. 

Having one tool or even a specific suite of different tools doesn’t necessarily mean that a business will be protected. Those tools must still work together to form a strategy where:

  1. They’re being customized for the environments they’re working within.
  2. You have somebody on the other end who’s able to synthesize the data being produced.
  3. It’s not just a one-time process of conforming the network.

If small businesses don’t have cyber professionals, they could open the door for hackers to attack and configure their networks with ease, leaving them blindsided and vulnerable to more threats.

What the Future Holds

The need for cyber professionals will continue to grow as the threat landscape increases. And instead of having crossover IT professionals that try their hand at security out of necessity, there will be a push towards getting a larger workforce trained in the art of cyber security. Having trained professionals with technical background will ensure that businesses can bring that expertise to the table, as well as context, in order to troubleshoot and draw the right correlations.

While there’s excitement surrounding artificial intelligence, it will be some time before it’s truly considered artificial intelligence, considering machine learning still requires human supervision. This growing need to establish cyber professionals in the industry will pave the way for the establishment of new programs that allow access to both academic and real-world experience. 

Meanwhile, as we wait for new programs to emerge, shifts and changing threats in the SMB space won’t stop. That’s why it’s essential to protect your business from sophisticated hackers with the right tools and monitoring solutions to utilize them effectively. Despite the deficiency of talented professionals in the cyber arena, it remains important to seek out security operations that are agnostic with different tool sets and agile enough to adapt to the ever-changing threat landscape.

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