Now that we’re in the last quarter of 2023, it’s important to consider the economic pressures facing SMBs, and how they may impact technology spending going forward.
The first six months of 2023 left business owners questioning how to plan their futures. The current economic downturn, the constricted labor market, and the fact that 90% of small to medium business (SMB) leaders are making – or expect to make – budget cuts this year doesn’t leave much room for optimism. Interest rate hikes potentially will slow down after more than a year of consistent upticks.
However, a recent survey from IDC showed most SMBs still share the sentiment that technology and IT spending are critical. Technology is now considered an essential piece of operations for two reasons:
- The world increasingly relies on digital services.
- Cyberattacks are rising as cybercriminals get more creative with automation-driven malware and AI-crafted phishing emails.
As a result, most companies seek to increase their IT spending over the next year, despite economic downturns and anticipated decreases in revenue. In other words, the desire for comprehensive cybersecurity and company innovation is too crucial to overlook, even in the face of financial pressure.
The question, then, is not so much whether SMBs will incorporate cybersecurity and IT spending, but rather how they can implement these measures without extensive technical knowledge or resources – and without sacrificing substantial amounts of revenue.
It falls on IT professionals, security providers, and channel partners to give SMBs access to resources and products that fit their needs, taking into consideration their current economic state and limited resources.
SMBs must work smarter, not harder, as a matter of necessity. It’s no different when it comes to cybersecurity and IT operations.
Currently, nearly 50% of SMBs have no in-house IT employees, demonstrating that amid harsher economic realities and uneven distribution of tech knowledge across the sector, there’s an opportunity for MSPs and managed security service providers (MSSPs) to fill the gap. The desire for efficient and low-maintenance security measures is clear with some SMBs incorporating AI into their IT departments to streamline tasks.
A recent survey of managers, C-level executives, and security specialists at MSPs/MSSPs showed a majority (86%) of MSP and MSSP customers want to consolidate their security tools. Through comprehensive and consolidated security tools, providers can directly respond to SMB needs by reducing security spending and increasing the efficiency and harmony of their IT departments.
By consolidating security offerings, providers can create a one-stop shop for SMB leaders, helping them increase efficiency and save revenue without sacrificing the integrity of their security measures.
Geoff Bibby is senior vice president of OpenText Cybersecurity.