Value-added distribution is helping SMBs make better decisions

As more firms tap into new services, more are putting themselves at risk of security attacks. Exertis’ former MD of VAD solutions, Grahame Smee, believes customers need to expand their knowledge of such hacks.

By affording easy access to a global customer base and creating a more level playing field in which to operate, it’s little surprise that SMEs have been quick to embrace the potential of cloud technology.

Yet with greater opportunity comes a heightened security risk; namely due to the wealth of data now at their disposal. Compounded by the more rudimentary preventative measures often employed by time and cash-strapped small business, the result provides an increasingly enticing proposition for hackers.

It’s a flipside that many SMEs are unprepared for as they become ever more vulnerable to the kind of attacks which have traditionally befallen their larger counterparts. Compromised data involving intellectual property and private customer information is not only costly to the business itself but also more broadly, the wider UK economy, of which the SME sector has long been the lifeblood.

At the heart of the issue is a failure to prioritise and invest sufficiently in security protection with even basic measures, such as a secured company email, to prevent phishing scams frequently overlooked. Latest figures from the Government’s Cyber Essentials programme survey bear out the complacency, revealing that two thirds of SMEs still do not consider their business to be vulnerable to a cyber attack.

With so many products and solutions on the market, the choice available and where to start can seem daunting to SMEs, particularly without a designated IT specialist to point them in the right direction.

In a bid to remedy the knowledge gap, focus is turning towards the role of the channel, which is uniquely equipped to both recommend specific solutions while promoting best practice. It’s an example of value-added distribution, which is beginning to underpin the role of the distributor as it transitions from being solely a wholesaler of the vendor’s products, to one that is more closely aligned to that of the tech vendor and developer.

The aim is to stimulate more security savvy behaviour amongst employees as well as a better appreciation of the monetary value of the data they are handling. Security protection solutions ranging from anti-virus and anti-spam software to those that scan emails, network or website traffic for possible risks can be recommended, and backed by on-site support.

Cyber threats remain an ever-changing beast, so the way in which businesses respond needs to be agile. The threats to SMEs are the same as those facing the largest corporations. Ensuring the solutions are just as sophisticated is where the channel can really add value.

 Grahame Smee is the former MD of VAD solutions at Exertis. He departed the distributor last week – two years after Exertis acquired security and communications distributor Cohort Technologies.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed the past two years and seeing the results of my contribution to the business result in further success for Exertis. I wish the business and the great teams I worked with every success in the future,” said Smee.

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