How SMEs Can Reduce Cybersecurity Spend Safely

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a nightmare for businesses of all sizes. This unprecedented scenario has forced companies to make huge changes to the way that they operate, and made many rethink their plans and goals. Ultimately, it has hit businesses where it hurts: the bottom line. Many SMEs especially, have found themselves struggling to survive and have had to make cutbacks.

At the same time, cybercrime has been rising dramatically. For example, over the first quarter of 2020 – when the pandemic was hitting its stride – large data breaches were recorded to be up 273% year on year. Since then, more businesses have gone online than ever before, and cybercriminals have constantly evolved to take advantage of the situation.

These two events happening simultaneously creates a real challenge for businesses: how do you maintain a very high level of cybersecurity while you cut back on your budget? It is something that SMEs need to find the right balance for.

Here we take a closer look at how your business can reduce its cybersecurity spend without putting the company in danger of a cyberattack.

How SMEs Can Reduce Cybersecurity Spend Safely

Work with cybersecurity professionals

It is important first to recognise that every SME is different. This means that each will have specific cybersecurity challenges and needs that will have to be fulfilled. It may be the case that you have in your team the kind of expertise in cybersecurity to fully understand those requirements. But for many smaller businesses, this is unlikely.

In that case, it is a great idea to speak with cybersecurity consultants who have a full understanding of protecting a business against cybercrime. They will be able to provide you with information on the right measures to put in place for your business, as well as the ones that you can do without – potentially saving you a significant amount of money.

Outsource where possible

Some SMEs make the mistake of trying to bring their cybersecurity expertise in house. This can be tricky as there is currently a growing cybersecurity skills shortage – meaning it is a jobseekers market, and cybersecurity professionals can demand high salaries. This can make them prohibitively expensive for SMEs.

This is why it can be so valuable to look at outsourcing some of your cybersecurity needs. When you work with an outside cybersecurity business they can provide you not only with 24/7 monitoring and on-call assistance, but also that extra level of ongoing expertise that can make it far easier for you to make decisions about your cyber defences.

It may be the case that using outsourced cybersecurity services could save you a significant amount of money compared to an in-house team, while actually providing you with a better overall service.

Test your defences often

The worst possible way to find out that you have a vulnerability in your cybersecurity that can be exploited is by suffering an attack. Unfortunately, this is how the majority of businesses realise that they have a problem: when it is too late to do anything about it. Remember that the cost of dealing with the aftermath of a cyberattack is far more expensive than the cost of getting those defences right in the first place.

It is important, then, to regularly test your system. For SMEs, it can be valuable to run both vulnerability scans and penetration tests. A vulnerability scan is an automated assessment run through software that looks for known vulnerabilities and weaknesses that could be exploited. This is the first step in checking your system.

A penetration test is the next step. This involves a cybersecurity professional conducting a check on your system. A penetration test is ‘a more in-depth assessment which utilises a combination of machine and human-driven or even physical approaches to identify hidden weaknesses’.

Final thoughts

It is important that SMEs should take their commitments to cybersecurity seriously, but with the need to minimise spending as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is also vital to strike a balance between the two needs.

Finding the right level of spending for your business can allow you to remain safe and secure without potentially overspending on cybersecurity products that aren’t actually delivering a great deal of value to the business.

Article by Annie Button – Finance & Business Writer

How SMEs can reduce cybersecurity spend safely

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