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SMB Cybersecurity Research: MSP Opportunities Explained

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are facing four key cybersecurity challenges that MSPs and technology solutions provider (TSPs) can help to mitigate, according to a new report from Vanson Bourne and commissioned by ConnectWise.

The report -- which surfaces amid the IT Nation Secure 2021 conference in Orlando, Florida -- points to these four SMB cybersecurity challenges:

1. Conflicting SMB Priorities: As various regions strive to reopen from the coronavirus pandemic, SMBs are working to optimize their businesses accordingly. That means SMB owners may be emphasizing areas like customer experience, supply chain management and revenue growth, ChannelE2E believes. As a result, protecting against cybersecurity attacks has fallen from being a top three priority in 49% of organizations in 2020, to 44% in 2021, Vanson Bourne finds.

2. Mitigating Remote Worker Risk: Even as some SMBs reopen their core offices, the reality of remote workers remains in place. The big challenge: 75% of decision makers agree that their organization is less secure due to the added complexity of a remote workforce. Moreover, only 35% of decision makers report their organization is very well protected against remote devices/employees being breached, Vanson Bourne finds.

3. Communication Gaps Between SMBs and MSPs: Alas, only 7% of SMB organizations say they have cybersecurity-specific conversations as a matter of course with MSPs, a fall from 13% in 2020, Vanson Bourne finds.

4. Poor SMB Cybersecurity Skills: No surprise here. Fully 61 percent of SMBs say they lack in-house skills to properly tackle security issues -- up from 52 percent in 2020. Still, there are signs of progress -- with SMBs increasing their cybersecurity budgets 10 percent in 2020, Vanson Bourne finds.

Amid those market challenges, SMBs remain prime targets for cyberattacks. The fallout includes:

  • 32% of SMBs have suffered a cybersecurity attack in the past 12 months, up from 25% in 2020; and
  • the average attack cost $104,296, almost double the figure reported in 2019 ($53,987), Vanson Bourne reports.

Will SMBs Pay A Premium for Proper Cybersecurity?

Among the silver linings in the report: Most SMBs would consider moving to a new IT service provider that has the "right" solution, and those SMBs are willing to pay on average 34 percent more for that service provider, the Vanson Bourne report estimates.

Read between the lines, and the message from Vanson Bourne and ConnectWise is clear. The report authors seem to be saying:

  • MSPs should double down on cybersecurity conversations with SMB customers.
  • Don't compete on price and don't race to offer discounts. Instead, sell the value of your premium cybersecurity capabilities.

ConnectWise specializes in IT management, automation and cybersecurity solutions for TSPs. Vanson Bourne is an independent market research firm in the technology sector.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.