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Small Business Survey: Supply Chain, Security Concerns Linger

Small business owners remain concerned about supply chain and cybersecurity issues as the navigate the COVID-19 pandemic heading into 2022, according to survey results released by Cisco Systems and the NSBA (National Small Business Association).

The 2021 U.S. Small Business Recovery and Technology Report features data gathered through September 2021. Even before the omicron variant spread worldwide, SMB owners described how the pandemic had impacted their companies. Among the key viewpoints:

  • 51% of SMBs are navigating delays or closures in their supply chains.
  • 41% are facing reduced customer demand for products and services (though that's far better than the 56% reported in October 2020).
  • 29% are facing increased employee absences.

Among the silver linings in the report: Fully 21% of SMBs said the pandemic had actually boosted demand for their products and services.

SMB Technology: Top Nine Challenges

Seventy percent of small-business owners report some level of remote work by either themselves or their employees over the past year.

Amid that work-from-anywhere (WFA), SMBs face these nine top-ranked technology challenges:

  1. Taking appropriate precautions
  2. Disruptions in service
  3. Time it takes to fix problems
  4. Cost of maintaining technology
  5. Cost of needed upgrades
  6. Dealing with security breaches
  7. Response time from external IT (i.e., MSPs and channel partners)
  8. Lack of technology expertise
  9. Access to high-speed internet.

Read between the lines, and SMBs are struggling to balance innovation, technology maintenance and risk mitigation.

On the risk mitigation front, 42% of business owners are very concerned about cybersecurity -- though that's down from 62% the previous year.

Fully 29% of those SMBs say their business has suffered a cyberattack -- though the SMBs may not actually be aware of additional, undiscovered attacks.

Small Business Cyberattacks: The SMB Impact and MSP Security Opportunity

Of the know attacks, the SMB fallout included:

  • Service disruptions (39%)
  • False info sent from the SMB's domains (25%)
  • Website outage (18%)
  • Sensitive information and data was stolen (11%)
  • Hackers demanded ransom involving business data (9%)
  • Hackers gained access to business banking accounts (4%)

Dig a little deeper, and only 46% of SMBs say they have sufficient security technology, and only 36% have prompt disaster recovery capabilities.

Bottom line? Those figures reveal potential cyber resilience opportunities for MSPs -- especially channel partners that specialize in SMB risk mitigation and data protection.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.