Make the most of your budget: Cybersecurity solutions for under-resourced internal IT teams

| By:
Sajal Sahay

The shift to a remote-based workforce since COVID-19 has significantly impacted cybersecurity risks for organizations. This has been particularly true for small and midsized businesses (SMBs) across the United States, whose small IT teams perform multiple roles. Not only are they tasked with ensuring networks and IT systems perform without problems, but they are also responsible for ensuring these tools are safe from cyberthreats, which are increasing yearly.

Case in point: Data from the ConnectWise 2023 MSP Threat Report shows that in 2022, there were over 25,000 vulnerabilities disclosed that were assigned a common vulnerabilities and exposure (CVE) number and included in the National Vulnerability Database (NVD).

Even with the growing threat landscape, the average SMB IT team has yet to grow in size or budget.

For minimally staffed and under-resourced SMB IT teams, it’s extremely difficult to ensure that their enterprise’s cybersecurity is addressed satisfactorily on a 24/7 basis. Let’s delve into the four most pressing cybersecurity issues an SMB IT team faces.

1. Growth and complexity of tech stacks

The shift to cloud-based storage, virtual teams collaboration, and the number of enterprise apps being used within the company have added complexity to managing cybersecurity in the past few years. Every one of these IT tools requires safe deployment across the enterprise and continual optimization for security updates via a robust patch-management process. It takes more time and adds more risk of alert fatigue.

2. Compliance requirements

Every IT team, whether at an SMB or a larger enterprise, is responsible for ensuring all devices, applications, and network infrastructure deployed comply with cybersecurity regulatory standards. Maintaining certifications for every piece of the company’s tech stack and keeping up with changes in regulatory standards adds more complexity and stress to an IT team.

3. Outdated IT systems

Budgets are an issue for SMBs across the board. When it comes to the IT department, this usually manifests itself with antiquated IT systems that would already have been replaced at a larger enterprise. The security vulnerabilities of these antiquated systems frequently remain unpatchable because the providers no longer support them.

4. Cybersecurity staffing shortages

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, unfilled cybersecurity jobs grew by 350 percent to 3.5 million in 2021. They also predict the same number of openings to exist in 2025. This poses a challenge for SMBs vying to attract people from the same small talent pool in an increasingly competitive landscape. Keeping teams trained on emerging threats and the best way to mitigate them is prohibitively expensive for the average SMB IT budget.

Cybersecurity strategies for SMB IT teams

These are daunting challenges for minimally staffed and under-resourced SMB IT teams, but there are strategies for that are cost-effective with high return on investment (ROI).

1. Build or enlist a SOC

A security operations center (SOC) is a centralized function that incorporates the people, processes, and technology required to monitor and address cybersecurity issues affecting a company’s IT infrastructure. A SOC can provide many benefits for an organization, including:

  • Improved cybersecurity posture

A state-of-the-art SOCs use predictive algorithms to analyze all of the company’s IT networks and systems to monitor for vulnerabilities and determine potential risks. They also provide expertise in mitigating these risks before they become major issues.

  • Early detection and prioritization of threats

Automated processes combined with analytical capabilities enable a SOC to detect threats quickly with an always-on 24/7 approach. Prioritization capabilities ensure only the high-severity cybersecurity issues are addressed, minimizing costs to the organization.

  • Regulatory Compliance

A SOC provides expertise to stay compliant with all necessary regulations. Their regulatory teams also remain on the lookout for any regulatory violations and provide appropriate guidance to achieve the required level of compliance.

However, a SOC also comes with its own set of challenges. Installing and refreshing a constantly changing cybersecurity tech stack, analyzing the data for vulnerabilities, and determining the appropriate remediation all require considerable resources.

Additionally, staffing your own SOC can be prohibitively expensive, and an advanced SOC can cost up to $4 million per year.

However, SMB IT leaders don’t have to build their own SOC—they can turn to an MSP for a more resource-friendly solution. Using an outside SOC, also known as SOC as a service, gives you incredibly similar benefits to building your own, including 24/7 monitoring, but it doesn’t require the cost of the upkeep of an internal team. It’s a proven cost-effective option for SMBs.

Learn more about ConnectWise SOC Services™ here >>

2. Problem-solve and stay informed with a virtual community

Whether you build your own or partner with a SOC, it’s still important to stay informed with sufficient cybersecurity knowledge, so you can get the best result from your SOC relationship. Your IT department can only understand the true cybersecurity risks and their severity if you are armed with this information. Participating in a community of cybersecurity experts and IT professionals is the most efficient way to access such a pool of knowledge. Other benefits include:

  • Accessing many distinct sets of people that are grouped by industry vertical, regulatory oversight levels, revenue, number of employees, and even specific job type in one place. Cohorting with groups similar to you and your company can quickly get you to topics that truly matter.
  • Uncovering genuine insights on how to best handle challenges. Members of the group share historical experiences of what remediation actions worked, what didn’t, and what was the optimal approach.

Many virtual communities are free to join, and there’s a high probability that members have experienced issues that are similar to what you are seeing at your company. With all this in mind, joining a cybersecurity virtual community is a no-brainer.

For ConnectWise partners, the ConnectWise Virtual Community is a free and easy way to stay updated on emerging cybersecurity issues, with product experts and IT peers who are there to always help uncover and understand the impact of these issues on your business.

Learn more about the ConnectWise Virtual Community here >>