In roughly the amount of time it takes you to read this paragraph, some company somewhere will be hit by a ransomware attack. Estimates vary by source, but most researchers put the number at one ransomware attack every 10 to 14 seconds. Globally, cybercrime is projected to cost businesses more than $10 trillion (with a T) by 2025.
Just a few years ago, consultants like myself often used to hear the question, “Do we really have to put all this focus on cybersecurity?” Suffice it to say, I don’t hear that anymore. These days the question is, “I know my organization needs to improve security . . . but how?!”
Large organizations can fund entire IT departments with teams of dedicated cybersecurity specialists. But for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), it can be tough to know where to start. Funds are very limited, for one thing. Expert IT staff can be hard to find and even harder to keep. Also most SMBs don’t have enough tasks to keep an IT staff busy all day, every day.
So… what’s a “little guy” to do?
To protect sensitive data, fight ransomware, and maintain operational continuity, are increasingly turning to IT consultants who specialize in cybersecurity.
What Do Cybersecurity Consultants Do?
IT consultants perform multifaceted roles aimed at helping SMBs safeguard their digital assets. Drawing on extensive expertise and experience, these professionals offer tailored solutions for each organization. Here are just a few of the missions a consultant can make easier for you.
Risk Assessment and Analysis
Consultants conduct thorough assessments of an organization’s cybersecurity posture. They identify vulnerabilities, assess potential threats, and scrutinize existing systems, policies, and practices to pinpoint areas requiring improvement.
Once vulnerabilities are identified, cybersecurity consultants design customized solutions. These solutions may encompass recommendations for updated hardware or software, the implementation of stringent security protocols, and comprehensive employee training programs.
Incident Response and Recovery
In the unfortunate event of a cyberattack–and really, the question is not if it will happen but when–cybersecurity consultants provide immediate assistance. They assist in isolating the threat, mitigating its impact, and developing strategies for recovery, ensuring minimal downtime and damage.
Keeping abreast of evolving data protection regulations is a challenging task. Cybersecurity consultants keep SMBs informed about these changes and ensure that their cybersecurity measures remain in compliance with the latest mandates. Non-compliance can result in hefty fines and reputational damage, making this role particularly critical.
Employees are the heart and soul of every SMB . . . but unfortunately they represent the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Cybersecurity consultants offer training programs that educate staff about best practices, thereby reducing the risk of human error leading to security breaches.
How Can Cybersecurity Consultants Benefit You?
A 2022 survey conducted by the insurance company Hiscox found that 48 percent of the companies they interviewed reported a cyber attack within the previous 12 months. Worse, SMBs don’t necessarily have the resiliency of the “big guys.” About 20 percent of the companies that had been attacked told Hiscox that the attack threatened the solvency of their business.
In the face of these increasing challenges, IT consultants can offer an affordable, manageable solution. The potential benefits include:
Making Your Limited Resources Work
Many SMBs lack the in-house expertise and resources required to establish robust cybersecurity measures. Cybersecurity consultants provide a cost-effective way to bridge this gap, ensuring that SMBs can access the skills and knowledge they need without the overhead costs of maintaining a full-time cybersecurity team.
Understanding the Evolving Threat Landscape
The cyber threat landscape is constantly changing, with hackers employing increasingly advanced techniques. Cybersecurity consultants are well-versed in the latest threat trends and can proactively safeguard SMBs against emerging risks that may not be on the organization’s radar.
Offering a Fresh Perspective
Bringing in “outsiders” to assess your company can be stressful at first, but there are a lot of benefits. Because consultants aren’t soaking in your organizational culture, they can offer an unbiased perspective. This makes it possible for them to identify problems that employees may have grown blind to and opportunities for improvement that you may not have noticed.
Preventing and Responding to Breaches
Data breaches can be catastrophic for SMBs, opening them up to significant financial losses and reputational damage. Cybersecurity consultants help prevent data breaches through robust protective measures and develop response plans in case of an incident.
Assuring Business Continuity
In the event of a breach, system failure, or even natural disaster, cybersecurity consultants play a crucial role in enabling SMBs to recover quickly and resume operations. This minimizes disruption and mitigates potential financial losses.
Consultants and Cost-Efficiency
One of the often-overlooked advantages of outsourcing IT consultancy, especially for SMBs, is cost-efficiency. While the upfront cost of hiring consultants may seem like an added expense, it can ultimately result in significant savings.
Yes, there is an initial cost involved in hiring consultants. But do you know what is more expensive? Doing nothing and suffering a security breach or being fined for regulatory noncompliance.
Large firms solve this quandary by hiring their own IT staff. But maintaining an in-house cybersecurity team can be prohibitively expensive for SMBs. It requires hiring (and retaining!) skilled personnel in the teeth of an employee drought.
Outsourcing IT consultants allows SMBs to access top-tier expertise without incurring the continuous overhead costs associated with full-time employees. Cybersecurity consultants are typically equipped with the latest tools and technologies. SMBs can benefit from these advancements without the need for significant upfront investments.
SMBs can scale their cybersecurity efforts up or down as needed when outsourcing IT services. This flexibility allows them to allocate resources efficiently, adjusting their cybersecurity strategy to match their growth and evolving threat landscape.
Outsourcing IT consultancy allows SMBs to concentrate on their core business functions while leaving cybersecurity to the experts. This streamlined approach enhances operational efficiency and can result in increased profitability.
Wrapping Up . . .
IT consultants who specialize in cybersecurity offer cost-effective approaches to risk assessment, incident response, regulatory compliance, and employee training. They are the frontline guardians that enable SMBs to navigate the perilous cybersecurity landscape with confidence, resilience, and financial prudence. By partnering with these experts, SMBs can protect their digital assets and ensure the continued success of their businesses in a digitally driven world.
Can the team at TMG help your SMB handle its security needs? Find out more about our company and the many services we offer and let’s talk!