Cisco has today published its 2021 SMB Security Outcomes Study, a derivative of Cisco’s flagship cybersecurity report, 2021 Security Outcomes Study, highlighting what SMB leaders are doing to thrive in today's ever-evolving threat landscape, as well as offering actionable insights on where they should focus their digitization, security planning and cyber defense efforts in the year ahead.
The double-blind study is based on a survey of over 850 regional IT and security professionals from small (50 to 249 employees) and midsize (250 to 499 employees) organizations in 25 countries from the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR). The report examines how security leaders in SMBs organizations can achieve success in their cybersecurity programs by looking at which specific practices help to enable their businesses, combat advanced threats and targeted attacks, and operate efficiently.
Commenting on the study, Fady Younes, Cybersecurity Director, Middle East and Africa, Cisco said: “Historically, vendors, practitioners and the cybersecurity industry as a whole have assumed that bigger means better. However, agility is what makes small and midsize businesses uniquely positioned to build successful approaches to security. Our findings reveal that SMBs place higher importance on having the right security strategy in place, and that they take the time to understand how this factor can best align with the digital transformation and growth agenda of their business. Planning for resilience and modernization of technology remain critical factors for today’s SMBs looking to advance their security fabric.”
The survey revealed that security teams in small and midsize businesses are doing a better job in enabling the mission of their organizations. With fewer resources, 44% of SMEs say their security teams are keeping pace with the changing needs and growth of the business, compared with 42% of large enterprises.
The study identified three areas where small organizations should focus on to achieve success in their cybersecurity programs: enabling business, managing risk and operating efficiently.
The study highlights three factors to achieve security outcomes:
Sufficient security staff
A secure development approach
IT and security collaboration
Each of these components have been shown to increase confidence and buy-in from peers and security success. For example, the probability for security success in obtaining peer buy-in increases up to 22% when small businesses have sufficient security staff and up to 17.6% when IT and security functions work collaboratively together.
Compliance as well as the growing threats of cyberattacks have been a driver for security adoption in SMEs. However, as more standards emerge, regulations increase and threats develop, the minimal requirements bar keeps getting notched up. To tackle this ever-shifting landscape, the study demonstrates that with appropriate investments organizations and collaborative teams can meet regulations and reduce risk.
Besides the sufficient security budget and having teams working together, the study finds that SMEs that proactively and regularly upgrade to best available IT and security technologies improve the chances of mitigating critical cyberthreats and avoiding major incidents.
Enterprises large and small are budget conscious and must seek ways to streamline both IT and ensure security optimization. According to the Cisco’s study, small and midsize organizations are finding success when teams understand security. Understanding how security strategy and planning can support business imperatives streamlines incident response and minimizes unplanned work. Moreover, the study again emphasizes the value of teams working together as this factor contributes wildly to cost effectiveness.
The study also highlights the role of establishing well-integrated technology and incident response solutions for operating efficiently in midsize companies. Ensuring these two factors helps effectively minimizing unplanned work and increasing cost effectiveness.