Why small- and medium-sized businesses can’t skimp on endpoint security
Learn how to stay ahead of threats and keep your business moving forward

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Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face a daunting reality that’s been building for years: They are prime targets for threat actors.

Between December 2021 and January 2022, Barracuda Networks found that an employee at a small business (less than 100 employees) may experience 350% more social engineering attacks than someone at a bigger company. According to Verizon’s 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), SMBs suffered 42% and 69% more security incidents and data breaches than large enterprises, while the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) discovered that 73% of SMBs experienced a data breach, cyberattack, or both in the past year.

Although the pandemic supercharged the digital transformation of SMBs, with many embracing remote work and cloud-based services, it also expanded their attack surfaces, leaving them even more susceptible to cyber threats.

Securing endpoints becomes even more vital as employees connect to company networks from various devices and locations. Unfortunately, implementing effective endpoint security strategies can be a hefty undertaking for SMBs.

A deep dive into endpoint security

Before we get into the challenges SMBs often face with endpoint security, let’s first address the elephant in the room: What is endpoint security, and why is it so critical?

Endpoint security is the practice of protecting the various devices that connect to an organization’s network, such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and IoT devices. These endpoints serve as entry points to a company’s digital assets. If left unsecured, cybercriminals can exploit them to gain unauthorized access, steal sensitive data, or deploy malware.

With the growth of remote work and bring your own device (BYOD) policies, the traditional network perimeter has dissolved, making endpoints the new frontline in cybersecurity. Employees accessing corporate resources from personal devices and remote locations may use unsecured home networks or public Wi-Fi, which can expose their devices and the company’s data to potential threats.

For these reasons, it’s not surprising that the global endpoint security market has exploded, projected to soar from $14.61 billion in 2024 to $35.15 billion by 2034.

Why SMBs may struggle with endpoint security

While businesses of all sizes recognize how critical endpoint security is, SMBs face unique challenges that can make it difficult to implement effective strategies.

Unlike larger enterprises, SMBs typically operate on tight budgets that make it hard to allocate sufficient funds for cybersecurity. Investing in advanced endpoint security solutions, hiring dedicated security personnel, and providing ongoing training can strain their already stretched resources.

Moreover, SMBs often lack the in-house expertise to manage and maintain endpoint security effectively. SMBs may be unable to employ a full-time security team, leaving them reliant on outsourced services or burdening IT staff with security responsibilities on top of their regular duties.

The complexity of managing diverse device ecosystems also presents a significant challenge for SMBs. With the boom of smartphones, tablets, and internet of things (IoT) devices, along with the rise of remote work and BYOD policies, SMBs must secure a wide range of endpoints running on various operating systems and platforms. Ensuring that each device is properly configured, updated, and monitored can be overwhelming for resource-constrained IT teams.

Remaining compliant with data privacy laws adds another wrinkle. Regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) impose stringent requirements on how personal data should be collected, stored, and protected. You could face lofty fines and reputational damage if you don’t comply.

A roadmap to robust endpoint security

Despite these challenges, SMBs can’t afford to neglect endpoint security. Doing so could lead to devastating consequences, including financial losses and business disruption to the erosion of customer trust.

To combat these risks, SMBs should undergo a thorough risk assessment to identify possible vulnerabilities and prioritize security efforts. From there, they should develop a multi-layered endpoint security strategy that combines technical controls, such as antivirus software and firewalls, with administrative measures, like security policies and employee training.

When selecting endpoint security solutions, SMBs should prioritize products that balance robust protection, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness. Cloud-based solutions can offer scalability and reduced maintenance overhead, making them an attractive option for resource-constrained businesses.

Regular employee education and training are essential as well. They breed a culture of security and awareness while transforming staff from potential weaknesses into strong lines of defense. Implementing strict access controls and authentication mechanisms, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and strong password policies, further bolsters security.

SMBs should invest in endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions to continuously monitor endpoints, detect suspicious activities, and quickly respond to potential incidents. Additionally, by regularly reviewing and updating endpoint security strategies, they can ensure their defenses evolve as the threat landscape shifts.

A partner that understands your needs

Implementing endpoint security can feel like an uphill battle for SMBs, but they don’t have to do it alone.

Our team of experienced cybersecurity practitioners offers assessments, workshops, and vendor-neutral labs to help you select the right EDR solutions for your organization’s needs.

SHI Labs lets you see firsthand how different products perform, revealing true capabilities and uncovering potential challenges that might otherwise go unnoticed. Our controlled environment enables you to explore the real-time efficacy of various solutions and generate custom scorecards for comparing performance across different use cases.

SHI’s experts also provide valuable insights and techniques for developing a comprehensive endpoint protection plan (EPP), including strategic planning, product demos, and live malware scenarios. We offer the guidance and support you need to make informed decisions and implement the proper endpoint security measures for your business.

Staying ahead of the threat without sacrificing efficiency

As SMBs embrace the benefits of technology and maneuver the challenges of remote work, they must also confront the reality of being prime targets for cybercriminals.

That’s why they can’t skimp on endpoint security — no matter how tricky it may seem.

By proactively assessing risks, developing multi-layered defenses, and leveraging the expertise of trusted partners, SMBs can fortify their security posture and confidently face any threats that come their way.

Ready to fortify your defenses? Contact SHI’s cybersecurity experts today and discover how we can help you unlock the power of endpoint security.

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