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RECENT STUDY: Information Security Lagging for SMBs - What This Means for MSPs

Posted December 23, 2013by Hunter Smith

A recent study conducted by McAfee and Office Depot has found some pretty surprising results regarding SMB readiness for an information security breach. Many small businesses are unaware of flaws in their security systems and have simply turned a blind eye to protecting their data. They simply don’t think it will happen to them. What that means for managed service providers (MSPs) is that there is a huge gap in the marketplace that needs attention.

Small businesses need lots of help when it comes to protecting their data, and they don’t even know it. While you might need to do some convincing, putting together the right offering that educates your prospects on the importance of security planning can help you expand your service offering and open new revenue channels. And who doesn’t love new revenue? We thought so.

Key Findings

So what were some of the key findings of this study? According to the press release:

  • Only 9% of SMBs use endpoint/mobile device security
  • 80% don’t use data protection
  • Less than half use email security
  • About half use Internet security
  • 45% of SMBs do not secure company data on employees personal devices

The most interesting aspect of these findings may be that 66% of the respondents felt their data was secure and a full 77% felt they had never been hacked. Yet, 72% of data breaches investigated by Verizon Communications forensic analysis unit involved companies with less than 100 employees!

Many small businesses have a false sense of security regarding their information, and there’s a great opportunity for MSPs to educate and assist SMBs in information security procedures.

MSP Implications

So what is the implication for you, the managed services provider? Clearly, SMBs need help when it comes to protecting their data, but MSPs must also know how to go about helping their clients. The first step is awareness. SMBs must be aware of the threats they face, since most of them are simply oblivious to the fact that their data could be hacked. The second step is education. They need to know how to best prepare their systems to avoid a security attack. This is your chance to showcase your expertise to them and gain their trust, which will make the sales process a whole lot easier for you.

Along with security threats, SMBs also need help complying with the latest security standards, especially if they serve industries where client information is highly confidential. This can be difficult for them because standards continuously change, and many SMBs rely on compliance in order to maintain their credibility and stay in business. Showcasing your compliance expertise is another way for you to gain their trust and ultimately give you the chance at winning their business. (For more information about HIPAA compliance, visit our HIPAA Resource Center).

When it comes to information security, SMBs not only need assistance, they need an education. Many SMBs aren’t even aware that their data is unsafe, and a number have already been hacked without even realizing it. As an MSP, what are your current offerings when it comes to information security and compliance? Are you well-positioned to help businesses protect their data? There is clearly a need, and there are big opportunities for MSPs to fill that gap.


As Chief Information Officer (CIO), Hunter is expected to take Continuum's IT operations to the next level of performance as our company continues its rapid growth and expansion. Most recently, Hunter served as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Acadian Asset Management. Prior to Acadian, Hunter held positions at Plymouth Rock Companies as Director of Enterprise Technology Services as well as positions at Hobbs/Madison, MFS Investment Management and CSC Consulting. Hunter has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Dartmouth College. He is responsible for all IT resources for Continuum’s U.S. and India locations.

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