Channel Partners Have a Big Opportunity in Infosecurity

Migration to the cloud. Mobility and the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon. A proliferation of IP-connected hardware. All of these evolutions are profoundly impacting how small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are conducting operations. While benefits from IP, mobility and cloud applications like cost-savings and employee productivity gains are major boons to the sector, the reality is they are at the same time opening up gaping threat vectors when it comes to information security. And that’s an issue that can be a fatal one to an unwitting SMB.

Channel partners have the opportunity to use their trusted advisor role to help IT departments—which more often than not lack their own resources to tackle a layered security approach—shore up the defenses. They also will find themselves in an education role.

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), 73 percent of SMBs say a safe and trusted Internet is critical to their success, and 77 percent say a strong cybersecurity and online safety posture is good for their company’s brand. Additionally, 87 percent of SMBs have one or more employees who use the Internet for daily operations.

More importantly, when it comes to their own readiness, more than three-fourths of U.S. SMBs (77 percent) say their company is safe from cyber threats such as hackers, viruses, malware or a cybersecurity breach.

But here’s the irony that sends the professed warm-fuzzies about security posture into the realm of the pipe dream: a full 83 percent of SMB owners say they have no formal cybersecurity plan, NCSA noted.

“It’s terrifying that the majority of U.S. small businesses believe their information is protected, yet so many do not have the required policies or protection in place to keep themselves safe,” said Brian Burch, vice president of Americas marketing for SMBs at Symantec. “Almost 40 percent of the over 1 billion cyberattacks we prevented in the first three months of 2012 targeted companies with less than 500 employees. And for the small poorly protected companies that suffer an attack, it’s often fatal.

The SMB segment thus shows a significant disconnect in areas such as the need for establishing Internet security policies and practices, handling and responding to data breaches and providing consistent IT/security management at their businesses, the organization found—ripe ground for a channel partner to lend insight and offer value-added software packages to go with network services, IP PBXs and hosted cloud applications.

 Interested in reading more? Please check out the full article in the January/February issue of ChannelVision, available online here with the option for a free download.