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Maximising SMB cybersecurity bang for buck

Maximising SMB cybersecurity bang for buck

Small to medium businesses (SMBs) are massively important to the economy.

Credit: ID 151866904 © Denisismagilov | Dreamstime.com

Small to medium businesses (SMBs) are massively important to the economy. In New Zealand, the Ministry for Business, innovation and Employment says there are about half a million SMBs, employing 20 or fewer staff, accounting for 97% of all businesses and almost a third of workers1. According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, almost two-thirds of data breaches occur in SMBs, representing over $1B in financial losses. And that number is expected to explode as the number of attacks grew by more than 35 times in the past year.

Cybercrime is serious business.

The principle challenge for SMBs fighting against hackers and other threat actors is that the battle is asymmetrical. SMBs are usually constrained by time, expertise and cost when it comes to employing the latest technology and tools to thwart these adversaries. The traditional approach of installing end-point protection software and an old-school firewall is no longer good enough. Today's attacks are sophisticated and designed to bypass traditional security tools and coerce people to hand over data, money or system access.

While those security measures still have a place for businesses, it is vital to find a cost effective, easy to use and successful solution that monitors all network activity, whether it be on an internal network, with Cloud providers or the hybrid Cloud infrastructure.

It's important to consider every device on the network, including switches and access points. Everything from access control to which applications can operate on the network needs to be considered. A suite of point solutions for each of these adds complexity and requires time, money and expertise few SMBs have. But an integrated solution can provide a fabric that spans everything from core network equipment such as switches and access points through to monitoring the activity of applications and end-points. By simplifying the network, it becomes easier to secure it.

Accomplishing this in a way that doesn't burden SMBs requires rethinking the approach to information security. One method is to use Secure SD-WAN, or Software Defined Wide Area Networks. Instead of everything on the network being either hard-wired or requiring bespoke hardware, it is controlled by software in an Secure SD-WAN environment.

Advantages of this set-up include that it allows network resources to be dynamically allocated and shifted as needed and for security to be embedded in the fabric of the network. This needs to be done without compromising network access and performance. The latter is an important and sometimes under-considered part of this equation. In today's high-tech world, slow is the same as broken. The bottom line: whatever security solution is used, it can’t compromise performance. 

SMBs looking for a secure, reliable and fast network that is easy to manage, should settle on a solution that supports Secure SD-WAN with the ability to monitor the network to detect anomalous activities pointing to malicious activity or accidental acts resulting in data breaches and the like.

What SMBs need is a solution that lets them plug in and easily authorise their devices with no extra configuration needed. For example, FortiGate Cloud lets users set policies and rules so that when a new device or application tries to use the network, the solution ensures either accidental or intentional actions don't result in data loss or some other problem. Powered by FortiGuard Labs threat intelligence, Fortinet is also the only pure play security vendor with an integrated SD-WAN solution.

In the past, all of this would have required the installation of on-premise equipment. FortiGate Cloud allows SMBs to simply manage services for Fortinet Firewalls. It supports zero-touch deployment, configuration management, reporting and analytics, and lets businesses retain network logs for compliance purposes.

FortiGate Cloud can scale from supporting a single FortiGate device through to a full managed service provider solution for thousands of devices. 

For SMBs with limited resources, there's a free tier for FortiGate Cloud users with the option for longer term log retention. The service offers simple deployment of devices as well as tools to easily and securely manage connection to the Cloud service from an easy-to-understand dashboard.

With security threats representing a material risk to SMBs, finding solutions that allow business to securely manage their networks is critical. FortiGate Cloud offers an easy-to-use set of tools that allow businesses to securely deploy new devices and connect securely to Cloud services cost effectively. 

For more information on FortiGate Cloud, click here



1 https://www.mbie.govt.nz/assets/30e852cf56/small-business-factsheet-2017.pdf


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Tags firewallsSMBsdata breachescloud infrastructureSD-WANEnd-point protectioncybercriminalshybrid cloud infrastructureSoftware Defined Wide Area Networkszero-touch deployment

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