Three Security Trends for SMBs in 2022

Kevin Drinkall, Director, Marketing & GTM Strategy EMEA at Zyxel, looks at the threat landscape, a zero trust approach and privacy legislation.

It is safe to say that, for the majority, 2021 has been shaped by a continued recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, as people and businesses have altered and adjusted their personal and working lives around the new and diverse challenges it has presented.

As the year comes to a close, attention naturally starts to shift towards planning for the year ahead. Following such an unpredictable year, this end-of-year period will be a precious opportunity for many business leaders to plan – especially those in SMBs without dedicated teams of support staff.

Whilst no two businesses will plan for 2022 in the same way, or face exactly the same challenges, a priority for every leader – regardless of the size of their business or their sector – is ensuring security across their organisation. As businesses have transitioned from a continuity to growth focus, the same can be said of cyber criminals, who have exploited the pandemic to become devastatingly effective.

With this in mind, here are three simple tips for SMBs to ensure that 2022 is a year to remember for all the right reasons:

Understand the Threat Landscape 

During the initial wave of the pandemic, large corporations were the prime target for hackers and malicious actors, with the likes of Marriott Hotels and the World Health Organisation getting attacked in April 2020. However, over the course of the last year this trend has shifted and studies by Acronis are revealing that SMBs are now the most at risk from cyberattacks.

This shift can largely be attributed to the fact that smaller organisations typically stand the most to lose if they are exposed to an attack, with media reports indicating that 60% of SMBs go out of business within six months of a data breach. This, coupled with the fact that small organisations often lack the sophisticated security defences that larger corporations have access to, makes SMBs the perfect target for cyber criminals.

As these organisations understand that they have become the prime target for cyber criminals, 2022 will see a rise in SMBs searching for solutions that can protect their networks. Unlike large organisations that have security departments woven into the infrastructure of their businesses, SMBs will be looking towards vendors and MSPs that can offer easily manageable and affordable security solutions.

With remote working here to stay, simple plug-n-play solutions that allow businesses to create and maintain secure network access will be as popular as ever in 2022. For example, Access Points that can be configured to replicate the SSID of an office and create secure tunnels and seamless access to the corporate network will become a vital solution for SMBs that have remote workers.

‘Never Trust, Always Verify’

According to recent research by XpertHR, almost 97% of organisations have implemented or are planning on implementing hybrid working in their business structure. As such, the trend has shifted towards a more distributed way of working. Rather than having one centralised network, employees are dialling in from a variety of locations and settings, with varying levels of security measures in place.

The knock-on effect of these distributed approaches to work has meant that SMBs are now witnessing a shift in the way their security vulnerabilities are coming in. Previously, smaller organisations would strive to protect one singular network point from security risks. However, now home offices can be seen as the edge of a business’s central network, meaning that there are more points of vulnerability.

To tackle this issue, SMBs will have to adopt a ‘zero-trust’, or ‘never trust, always verify’, approach to connectivity, whereby anyone attempting to access the network will have to verify that they are who they say they are. In 2022, this will see an increased adoption of multi-factor authentication, which will allow businesses to verify that the people on their network are accessing it correctly, and are not malicious actors. This will allow them to protect data for themselves and their customers.

The importance of this ‘zero-trust’ security approach has recently been emphasised by the UK Government. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) has created a National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Assessment Framework and proposed that MSPs are legally required to follow these guidelines. Within the framework, MSPs would be required to use measures such as multi-factor authentication for accessing data.

Reflect Privacy Legislation in Purchasing Decisions

Over the past few years, data privacy has become a hot topic of conversation for governments and large businesses with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and subsequent legislative reforms. However, with data breaches soaring 14% in 2021 compared to 2020, SMBs have been required to act more vigilantly to protect customer data.

This has caused a lot of issues for SMBs that lack the dedicated policy and security departments that larger corporations have access to. Faced with growing complaints from customers concerned about their personal data, these smaller businesses will need to find and adopt easy solutions that can help contain and manage data.

Furthermore, with the UK having recently unveiled its post-Brexit GDPR, 2022 will see SMBs looking to vendors and MSPs for counsel as they navigate what is GDPR-compliant within different regions of Europe.

Ultimately, as data breaches become more prominent, SMBs will need to place security as a top priority within their business models in order to survive. Lacking the internal infrastructure to implement more advanced security measures, 2022 will see SMBs turning to vendors and MSPs in order to gain knowledge, equipment and infrastructure to defend themselves against attackers.

By Kevin Drinkall, Director, Marketing & GTM Strategy EMEA, Zyxel.

Guest Contributor
Guest Contributor
Follow on Twitter @eWeekUK

Popular Articles