In the first 6 months of 2022, there were over 10,000 new ransomware variants discovered. As threat actors increase in number, the frequency of attacks witnessed across the globe will continue to rise substantially. No business is immune from a breach, as highlighted by the many cases making headlines today. So, how can SMEs counteract this?

High-end, enterprise-level security tools may be regarded as out of reach for the majority of  small businesses, but that thinking is rapidly changing. For the new year, companies should consider smart endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions that incorporate a robust incident management portal that effectively traces all open threats. Without investing in smart software, smaller businesses are underprepared, and consequently at risk, explains David Corlette, Vice President – Product Management, VIPRE Security Group. 

The Heat Is On

Not only are small organisations facing additional pressure to protect their business from cyber attacks, but threats are also becoming more innovative, with ready-made tools accessible in numerous forms available even to casual attackers, from Ransomware-as-a-Service and Phishing-as-a-Service, to Malware-as-a-Service.

The average breaches cost upwards of £4.5 million,but small businesses only make an average of £2.8 million per year. That’s a tight margin, and one with severe repercussions  – with one out of eight small organisations closing down as a result of  a data breach. 

Discouragingly, a new poll discovered that the majority of small business owners are not suitably  concerned. Only 4% put cybersecurity as the top risk facing their business and a further sixty-one percent were not worried about the possibility of their company becoming the target of a cyberattack. This data alone shows that SMEs need to be more cautious – and more prepared – than ever. 

Closing The Gap

Like the way that bad actors have targeted bigger organisations, small businesses are progressively becoming targets too, but are more likely to be victims due to their “it won’t happen to us” or “too small to hack”  mindset: they lack efficient solutions to protect themselves. Deterrence is difficult when the common methods – hire big IT teams, level up solutions, teach  existing employees  – are often cost- and resource-prohibitive for smaller organisations.

Nevertheless, small businesses can use their previous expertise to create an enterprise-grade endpoint detection and response strategy using newer Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) technology. When it comes to protecting their business, some EDR solutions make it easier for smaller companies to keep up with the larger players, as they deliver the sophistication of high-performing, cloud-based solutions without the problems that users may anticipate. This advanced technology gives better detection and discovery of more abnormal behaviour than users would experience from standalone antivirus file, process, and networking analysis solutions while simultaneously providing investigation and remediation tools to quicken response times.

By automating much of the elaborate work – threat detection, remediation, and response – EDR can minimise the skills gap and even put small organisations ahead. This can be more cost-effective in comparison to directly employing someone full-time to protect against the latest  threat landscape; not only are new employees becoming increasingly difficult to find but they are also expensive to hire. 

What’s more, having an EDR tool that utilises security automation is paramount to detect and stop an attack in its early stages. Using behavioural engines, security teams can trace each part of the attack as it happens in near real-time. With the help of AI and Machine Learning (ML), a modern EDR can natively recognise anomalous activities, such as zero-day ransomware behaviour, and immediately stop these processes upon detection.

Looking Ahead

According to experts, the market for EDR solutions will continue to grow. According to Gartner’s estimates, by 2025, more than 60 percent of businesses will have shifted from traditional antivirus software to remedies that provide endpoint protection and endpoint detection and response. 

Owning a modern Endpoint Detection and Response tool is fundamental for any security team’s arsenal, but is particularly important for SMEs. It offers a holistic security approach needed to challenge successful battles in the latest threat landscape, as EDR solutions provide vital and rapid containment measures, preventing the breach from doing additional harm to a network. But EDR solutions also provide strategic long-term benefits by reinforcing security posture and allowing organisations to protect against known and zero day threats.

Right now is the prime time for smaller businesses to invest in cybersecurity technologies, such as EDR,  to help small-scale teams reach the same security demands as bigger businesses, and to protect the SME and its staff from cyber attacks. Evidently, utilising the appropriate tools can make a substantial difference for small businesses and their security teams in the upcoming year.

David is the Vice President Of Product Management at VIPRE Security

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