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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

Location

333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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January 7, 2022 | Scott Devens

3 Cybersecurity Predictions for SMBs

As the pandemic lingers and a hybrid workforce takes hold, channel pros and their SMB customers face ongoing security challenges.

Throughout these challenging times, our channel partners have kept their finger on the pulse of network security for small and medium businesses, implementing new technology and safety protocols for remote workers, and most recently, a hybrid office.

As we enter 2022 with the uncertainties of the ongoing pandemic, one thing is certain: Our partners will continue to face security challenges. Here’s what we expect for SMBs in the new year:

1. The Human Factor Is a Top Concern

The most critical security issue for organizations will be the human factor, as industry data shows a large majority of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error. IT professionals are challenged with getting employees to follow guidelines and effectively use security technology. However, cybercriminals aim their attacks at careless employees who trustingly click on unknown links, fail to regularly change their passwords, download unauthorized internet applications onto their computers, or don’t update their software.

Further, with workers and their devices no longer necessarily safe behind an office firewall, and employees managing remote access technology, cybercriminals see opportunities to target those who make unintentional mistakes or sacrifice security for productivity. For example, if a VPN is too difficult to use, or slows down systems, the employee is likely to turn it off. The challenge for IT professionals is to find solutions, such as open source WireGuard VPN, which fit the guidelines but that are also easy to use, fast, and reliable—enabling employees to turn it on once and forget about it.

Finally, network security teams will need to be diligent to prevent employees from bringing threats back to the office, such as malware that is hiding in their laptops and waiting to move onto the corporate network. Employees may have added unknown software and applications to help them while working from home that could prove dubious once on the corporate network. In addition, IT teams will need to audit devices to ensure that all applications have been updated and/or patched for employees who have been working from home.

2. Skills Gap Continues to Grow

In Untangle’s 2021 SMB IT Security Report, “lack of manpower” was named one of the top three barriers to network security for SMBs. The ongoing skills gap will continue to be a threat for 2022. There is a shortage of cybersecurity workers in just about every position, from entry-level to executive, and across industries. The core of the issue is lack of skilled workers. While computer science is a growing major in colleges, only a small portion of graduates are going into cybersecurity. To fill these positions, the industry will need to:

  • Learn how to recruit Generation Z
  • Upskill current employees
  • Invest in education

3. Zero Trust and VPNs Will be Partners in Security

The growing number of hacks and security risks has organizations investigating or moving to zero-trust strategies, with the Biden Administration even mandating zero trust for federal agencies.

For an SMB looking to set up a zero-trust solution, one of the potential misconceptions is that it requires a completely new type of infrastructure with a costly, brand-new solution. That screams: MORE BUDGET NEEDED! However, it’s feasible to build on the investments that companies have already made. Zero trust isn’t a platform or a device. It’s an initiative for digital environments based on the key principle that no access is granted unless it is specifically given. Zero trust can incorporate VPN where, before access to anything is granted using VPN, the connection must receive explicit confirmation that the user has specifically and deliberately been given permission to access it. This can be done using solutions that provide zero trust with VPN technology underneath, or with other technologies that grant or deny access.

While a recent Trend Micro report predicts “global organizations will emerge more alert and better prepared in 2022,” we’re also seeing SMBs taking cybersecurity threats seriously. According to Untangle’s SMB IT Security Report, 76% of respondents said IT security was a priority in 2021, and 80% said they are more secure now than last year, which is backed up by the fact that the businesses in the survey have larger annual IT security budgets than those surveyed in 2020.

2022 looks to be another year where SMBs are focusing more on cybersecurity, and we love to see it.

SCOTT DEVENS is the CEO of Untangle, a network security provider for SMBs.


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