The mid-sized business is a unique and often improperly appreciated animal in the business field. Its goals, concerns, and even threats are wholly different from those seen at the small business and enterprise levels. Too often, mid-sized businesses are lumped in with small businesses to be part of the SMB monolith, even when the mid-sized business faces much different issues from its smaller cousin. As such, the cyber security priorities for the mid-sized business are fundamentally different from those seen elsewhere.
What Should Mid-Sized Businesses Prioritize in Cyber Security?
Mid-sized businesses have some of the biggest cyber security problems around. They have more resources than their smaller brethren, yet they often don't have the kind of high-end security profiles their larger counterparts do. This combination of a fatter prize than a small business and lower protection than an enterprise makes it a clear target for hackers. So there are some key points in particular to watch out for that should make for cyber security priorities.
This isn't the kind of problem that can be fixed with software. This is the fundamental basis of cyber security priorities in any business, and without that leadership and strategy, the very will to protect the business, nothing else will do. Don't listen to the voices that say “We're not big enough to be a target.” or “We can't afford proper security right now.” Instead, develop leadership, develop strategy, and start focusing on the protection your business needs right now. Knowing your biggest risks, and how to respond to these, helps ensure you have the right plan going forward. Only proper leadership will be able to determine that plan.
This is also another problem that can't be fixed with the judicious application of software. The National Center for the Middle Marketrevealed that 30% of firms studied had no action plan at all, and over half had an action plan, but it hadn't been updated in years. That's at least 80% of firms whose security is lagging. Are you one of them? Answer that question honestly, then get your plan in place to address the modern threats in the landscape.
Regularly updating current plans.
Not being up to date in security is actually worse than having no plan at all. While the lack of any plan might spur businesses to develop and activate better protections, the lack of an updated plan provides not only a failed response to current hacking methods, but also a sense of false security that prevents the plan from being analyzed and modified according to conditions on the ground. A faulty plan encourages entropy and the natural desire to leave well enough alone. That's a desire that could cost your business everything.
Getting the right materials in.
A 451 Research study found that 82% of businesses spend anywhere between 20 and 60 hours of staff time per week just on finding, implementing, and managing various security products. That's a lot of time spent on merely finding the right materials, so try and trim that by keeping to a strategy as much as possible. There's some value in being prepared to try something new and different—as well as not being hidebound to one particular plan—but without at least some kind of focus, there's a lot of room for waste. Work to make sure you have some time to experiment and research, but sticking to the plan will have more immediate payoff.
Getting the right people in.
A McKinsey report found that the best performers are fully 800% more productive in “highly complex occupations.” There are few occupations more complex than cyber security, so be sure to push for the very best in your hiring. As Steve Jobs once remarked: “Go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.” Having the right people helps assure team cohesion, and that you're not scrambling to replace a lost employee in the middle of an extended fight on the hacker front. That's not to say you won't lose people from time to time—even in the best environment, sometimes there's a better offer—but by doing what you can to prevent such things, you'll give yourself the best chance at success.
Effectively address issues of return on investment.
It's not easy to quantify the value of cyber security priorities. We all know they're valuable, but being able to say just how valuable is a tall order. With workloads increasing and budgets not doing likewise—especially in the IT department—it is a particular challenge to execute any of the items previously noted. You can't get the right people if you have to fire someone to hire someone new. You can't get the right materials if there's a spending freeze. You can't effectively plan for the future if you're spending all your hours putting out fires. Nothing on this list can be accomplished without the direct support of the C-level staff, and without adequate explanations of return on investment, that support will never materialize.
How to Take These Cyber Security Priorities and Act on Them
Now that you have a better understanding of what qualifies as cyber security priorities for the mid-sized business, you have a responsibility to your business to act on these priorities accordingly. The best place to start is by getting in touch with us at UTG. Our 4-Layer Security Stack system offers some of the best coverage around for a network, helping users better determine what parts should be included in a system, and how these can work together to produce the best overall security system. Mid-sized businesses, your security needs are unique. Act on this fact accordingly and drop us a line today to make your unique business as well-protected as it can be.