SMBs Put a Priority on Convergence of Cybersecurity and Data Protection for 2019
Outages occur for a wide range of reasons, but a 2018 global survey of 1,287 IT and security professionals shows how closely linked backup and security are becoming.
Well over half the respondents (58%) cite cybersecurity and data protection as their top concern for 2019, followed by the capacity of network infrastructure at a distant second (34%).
That compares to 54 percent citing overall security in 2018, followed by reducing IT costs at 31 percent.
That focus on security and data protection exists even though 65 percent of respondents had not experienced a single security breach in the prior 5 years. Among the 35 percent that had experienced a security breach, only 12 percent had experienced a security breach in the prior year.
What is changing is the nature of the attacks being launched against SMBs. Among those respondents impacted by a security breach in the prior year, 44 percent got hit with ransomware. In total, 22 percent of all respondents reported being impacted by ransomware to one degree or another.
Obviously, the best defense against ransomware is to maintain a pristine copy of the organization’s critical data. On average, respondents rely on four backup and recovery technologies, the survey finds. A full 90 percent says they backup servers, while 69 percent say they backup data locally and offsite. Another 37 percent are backing up data to an appliance.
But only 38 percent have a formal business and disaster recovery plan. A similar number (38%) can automatically recover to a separate site and only half report being able to back up a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application using a third-party service.
Despite their best efforts, nearly half of respondents (45%) report they still experience two to four outages a year.
Nevertheless, it’s clear SMBs have made significant strides when it comes to cybersecurity. Over three quarters (77%) centrally manage antimalware scanning, while 75 percent report regularly backing up data. Among respondents with no outages lasting longer than five minutes this past year, the monitoring third-party applications appear to make a significant difference. Over half of respondents (52%) monitor third-party software announcements and apply patches for critical issues within 30 days of release compared to 43 percent of all respondents. Similarly, 56 percent of those respondents scan all servers and workstations for third-party software patches regularly compared to 45 percent of all respondents.
The rise of ransomware has clearly driven a significant overall improvement in cybersecurity hygiene among SMB organizations that appears to be poised to improve in 2019. The challenge most SMB organizations now face is not necessarily finding the right technologies to defend themselves from ransomware, but rather converging what have been historically separate cybersecurity and data protection processes. In an ideal world, ransomware would be eliminated altogether. But in the absence of a miracle, the goal now is to not only back data up more regularly but also automatically kick those backups off the minute a ransomware attack to detected.