SMBs Invest in Cybersecurity Budget and Firewall Technology

Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are proactively putting tools in place to combat attacks whilst working with limited security budgets and constrainted resources.

According to research of 500 SMBs by Untangle, 38% have allocated under $1000 to their security budget, but this is an increase of 29% compared to 2019 and 27% compared to 2018. Heather Paunet, senior vice-president of product management at Untangle, told Infosecurity that its research found “74% of respondents from the survey confirmed that network security is a top business priority.”

She said 45% of respondents also confirmed news about large scale data breaches and companies dealing with these have shifted their network security roadmap. “This shows that SMBs are prioritizing some form of cybersecurity, but within their limited budgets,” she added. “This can be focusing on a firewall solution one year, and then endpoint security options in another.”

In terms of technology, 82% of SMBs rank firewalls as the most important features when considering which IT security solutions to purchase, whilst 71% have their firewall on site rather than in the cloud.

Paunet said: “Many firewalls can be deployed easily for novice or intermediate network administrators. Many times, next-generation firewalls can be deployed with some standard presets, and as IT teams and administrators become more familiar with the technology and the needs of their company, they can adjust settings, block lists, filters and access parameters.” 

In terms of budget allocation, 32% of respondents identify budget as their greatest barrier, followed by employees who do not follow IT security guidelines (24%) and limited time to research and understand emerging threats (13%). Paunet said with fewer employees overall, the number of incidents can decrease. “For example, with only a handful of employees, email filtering or web filtering overall can be more effective, and training five employees on a consistent basis to notice suspicious activity or emails can help create a better employee-driven defense against cyber-attack,” she explained.

“IT teams do need to be aware that just because their company may be small, they can still be targeted by phishing scams or malicious links.”

Furthermore, 78% of SMB employees are temporarily working remotely with 56% suggesting some positions will be permanently remote moving forward.

“As the abnormal becomes our new normal, SMBs need to approach remote work by using a combination of cloud-based applications and on-premises solutions to keep employees and systems safe, and ensure business continuity,” said Scott Devens, CEO at Untangle.

“SMBs should be looking for technologies that incorporate multi-layered network security tools and a hybrid network infrastructure, such as SD-WAN, to avoid large-scale network vulnerabilities, regardless of budget and resource size.”

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