The rise of cybersecurity threats and what that means for the Channel

The rise of cybersecurity and managed services alongside the emergence of SME as a security market hotbed has, as some might claim, played into the channel’s hands. But the threats faced by SMEs are still a wild jungle of dangers that many channel businesses are trying to navigate safely, without exposing themselves to unnecessary risk.

The changing nature of cybersecurity threats, the unique challenges that SMEs face, and a growing skills gap across technology and cybersecurity, has led to confusion over what security assurances channel businesses and resellers should offer the end customers, without overpromising their quality.

Here’s a deeper look into what needs to be done from all sides, to ensure the channel can continue to mitigate the ever-looming threat of an advanced, often crippling, cyber-attack.

How can the channel tackle cybersecurity skills gap?

There is a clear skills gap that exists in the Channel when it comes to tackling cyber threats against SMEs. Channel businesses should be investing in their workforce and training up those who want to explore a specialism, or career, in cybersecurity. But that doesn’t mean the Channel is restrained by the skills gap. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Channel organisations, both large and small, can overcome knowledge challenges and boost sales while upskilling their team by simply partnering with the right cybersecurity vendor.

Working with a vendor or master agent, for example, who joins sales calls, offers time to explain technologies and stays in regular contact, means resellers can ‘dip a toe’ into the market and get to grips with the various processes and ways of thinking.

Then, they can better understand the prerequisites before looking to hire an in-house security expert or investing in training to upskill colleagues – even leveraging a vendor’s own training to accomplish the same.

What cybersecurity threats do SMEs face?

Right now, many enterprises are taking a second look at their rushed remote working solutions that have held together for the past couple of years. For those to work over the long-term, security, network optimisation, and a cloud-first approach, must be deeply embedded into IT strategic planning, allowing for seamless movement between on-premises and remote locations.

Thankfully, phishing, supply chain attacks, ransomware, DDoS and all the most common threats SMEs face, are all interconnected. For most attacks, capturing the account credentials of a staff member – likely with top-tier admin privileges – is the most probable route to deliver a system-wide attack in the future.

Therefore, simple safety features such as two-factor authentication, well-designed firewalls and threat detection all contribute to minimising that danger. However, preventing major system vulnerabilities from being exploited requires a constant, vigilant eye to thwart rising attacks.

While the traditional channel solution of combining multiple services, to develop a broad security solution, may be ‘fit-for-purpose’, the principle of stitching together various systems often leaves gaps and hidden vulnerabilities. Therefore, the Channel needs a better, all-in-one solution that provides a solid defence for all types of attacks; internal, external and even those masquerading with the right credentials!

Aryaka overcomes this through tightly integrated technology, service delivery, and support, spanning implementation and operation; an approach that can’t be replicated internally by traditional resellers, aggregators, or even enterprise customers themselves.

What are the must-have elements of a comprehensive security solution?

ICT resellers looking to broaden their existing portfolio with managed security services need to focus on simple pricing for the SME market. End-users don’t want a mishmash of prices for specific features. They want one price and the assurance that all their needs are covered.

That’s why Aryaka’s packages are sized like clothes (S, M, L), encompassing every business from start-up to enterprise, without having to get ‘into the weeds’.

Resellers should also offer comprehensive security. There’s no point in selling a solution when integral features like a Secure Web Gateway, or content scanning aren’t included. Instead, resellers need a strong foundational service that allows them to promise safety without caveats or conditions.

SMEs will be looking for a vendor with a strong track record of success. Resellers should look for regular names in industry reports, as well as specialist cybersecurity award wins, to assess a vendor’s quality.

Then try to find as much as possible about their support; How flexible are they to your needs and ways of working? What about commission? Do they work via master agents, offering more bespoke sales and marketing support, or will they just leave you to your own devices?

There is certainly work that needs to be done both from the channel and resellers to counteract the rise of cyber-attacks and equip SMEs with the right tools to fight back. There are many ways in which businesses may choose to do this, but education is the most crucial. Resellers that deal in the SME market need to take the lead in sharing their accrued knowledge and expertise to ensure that their customers not only stay cyber-safe but stay loyal too.

By Jon Selway, VP of Channel sales EMEA, Aryaka.

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