Sage recently conducted a nine-country study exploring the perceptions and challenges that SMBs face regarding cybersecurity. The study set out to understand what SMBs think about cybersecurity and find out how they overcome the challenges they come up against.
When the results came back, it was clear that cybersecurity remains a significant challenge: many SMBs still don’t feel like they are properly equipped to handle it on their own.
The Cybersecurity Landscape for SMBs
Four key insights emerged from Sage’s study:
- Cyber Threats a Major Concern: The research indicates that 70% of SMBs are deeply concerned about cyber threats, and rightly so. In the past year, 48% have experienced a cybersecurity incident, with 25% enduring more than one.
- Confidence in Managing Cybersecurity: Surprisingly, 72% of SMBs express confidence in their ability to manage cybersecurity, and 76% regularly review their security measures. This confidence underscores the potential for SMBs to take control of their digital defenses.
- Overcoming Key Challenges: The study highlights that SMBs face several significant challenges, with 51% citing the difficulty of staying up-to-date with new threats as their most substantial hurdle. Other challenges include ensuring employees understand their roles in cybersecurity (45%), educating staff about cybersecurity (44%), and managing the cost of cybersecurity (43%).
- The Need for Support: A significant number of SMBs are calling for support, with 83% of South African SMBs expecting more guidance and support from cybersecurity companies. They also look to governments (45%) and trusted tech partners (50%) to provide assistance. Nearly 69% of South African SMBs are particularly interested in receiving help with education and training.
The Role of Trusted Tech Partners
The research also reveals that smaller businesses are generally less concerned with cybersecurity and invest less in cyber controls, despite the fact that they depend heavily on digital solutions to function.
Kevin Thompson, Senior Cloud Operations Manager at Sage Africa and the Middle East, acknowledges this issue, stating that local cyber events have been on the rise, affecting businesses of all sizes. As cyberattacks become more potent, reliable and effective cybersecurity solutions take on more importance than ever.
Looking Towards the Future
The research findings showed that SMBs are willing to invest more in cybersecurity. Two-thirds of SMBs are ready to spend more on better security, and 68% would choose a more expensive supplier if it meant enhanced security and increased transparency in their products’ privacy and security measures.
Sage’s research also reveals that 64% of SMBs currently use cyber insurance, and while they are aware that cyberattacks are becoming more and more of a problem, almost all (91%) expect their investment in cybersecurity to either increase or remain the same in the coming year.
Lynne Pace, CFO & VP of Finance for Danson Construction, sums up the sentiments of many SMBs, saying, “In today’s digital realm, cybersecurity hurdles are a constant reality for businesses like ours. Safeguarding while advancing is the name of the game, and finding solutions that fit our size is a must.”
Simon Borwick, Cybersecurity Partner at PwC UK, adds, “Cybercrime is now a real threat to SMBs, irrespective of their scale. Their digital presence can turn into a potential weak link within the supply chain. Dependence on major suppliers and government authorities requires collective action. At the same time, tackling this looming challenge also presents a unique opportunity to carve out a distinct competitive edge – enhancing an organisation’s reputation and building trust.”
In a world where cyber threats constantly evolve, SMBs are taking proactive steps to protect their businesses. Sage’s research highlights the need for ongoing support and education to empower SMBs to confidently navigate the intricate landscape of cybersecurity.
And because digital threats are always going to be there, it’s important that SMBs do everything they can to protect their businesses’ digital infrastructure. For SMBs that don’t feel they can handle that responsibility on their own, their best course of action is to turn to external IT service providers that specialise in cybersecurity who can help out.