Research Hub > Tips for Bolstering Small Business Cybersecurity
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Tips for Bolstering Small Business Cybersecurity

Asking the right questions and responding with the right tools will help keep your organization secure.


With the rise of ransomware attacks against organizations of all sizes, cybersecurity has become a top priority for even small businesses. Unfortunately, the unique challenges of a smaller organization can make securing the IT environment particularly difficult. IT staffs are typically stretched thin and asked to be knowledgeable across a variety of domains.

Additionally, allocating budget to cybersecurity from a limited IT budget can be grueling. Add to that the ever-evolving threat landscape and cyber defense can seem like an insurmountable task. Thankfully, there are ways that small business can easily and affordably start to address cybersecurity.

Learn more about CDW’s wide range of security services and solutions.

Since developing a security strategy can be particularly daunting for a small business, breaking the process down into simple, easily accomplished steps is crucial. There are three basic questions small business IT leaders should seek to answer:

  • Have we already been compromised?
  • How do we respond if we are compromised?
  • What can we do to prevent our company from being compromised?

While these questions are at the heart of any organization’s cybersecurity objectives, not everyone is prepared to answer them. This is where CDW’s experts in cybersecurity provide cost-effective assistance.

Have We Already Been Compromised?

The time from when an attacker first compromises a network to when they are detected is commonly referred to as dwell time. According to the FireEye M-Trends 2019 Report, the average dwell time for cyberattacks in 2018 was 78 days. That means, on average, attackers had over two-and-a-half months to operate on a compromised network before they were even detected. It’s common for organizations to be compromised and not even know it.

The answer to this problem is to hunt for threats on the network. CDW offers several security assessments that can help you identify these threats.

How Do We Respond If We Are Compromised?

An incident response plan ensures an organization can respond effectively and efficiently when a breach is discovered. Unfortunately, by conducting thousands of assessments, CDW has found that many organizations have no such plan. This means that when those organizations discover a compromise, they end up trying to engage incident response experts while they are actively breached. Negotiating terms of service, pricing and other conditions must be done before work can begin. That process can be time-consuming at a moment when minutes matter most.

To combat this, most vendors offer a pre-negotiated retainer. This allows customers to set up a relationship and get the legal framework in place so they have someone to call at a moment’s notice when an incident occurs. However, these retainers tend to be cost prohibitive, especially for small organizations. CDW addresses this issue with a zero-cost retainer. Customers can establish a contract and have trusted professionals on call, anytime, day or night. The best part is there’s no cost to the customer until they need to engage those critical services. It’s complimentary peace of mind.

What Can We Do to Prevent Our Company from Being Compromised?

To successfully reduce the risk of being compromised, organizations must first know where they are vulnerable. From there, it becomes a far easier task to prioritize allocation of limited security funds. This is where security assessments create value.

Penetration testing is a method for assessing an IT environment from an attacker’s viewpoint to identify where systems are vulnerable. Good penetration testing doesn’t assume that the attacker will be launching attacks from afar via the internet. It looks at a variety of attack vectors both externally and internal. The ability to gain network access via Wi-Fi or user-based attacks such as phishing should also be considered.

For small organizations, CDW offers our Rapid Security Assessment (RSA). The RSA can assess a network from both external and internal perspectives as well as assessing wireless network security and even user security awareness through a simulated phishing campaign. These assessments are available for a fixed fee that is based on the size of the size of the environment. This allows CDW to offer the service for an affordable cost that is in-line with what smaller businesses can accommodate.

Tying It All Together

Following this three-step process, a small organization can quickly and effectively address significant cybersecurity strategy concerns. Better yet, it can be done very affordably, especially given that the first two steps are available from CDW for no cost. CDW’s skilled security architects and engineers are here to make sure that even small business customers are able to protect their critical business assets, data and processes from attack and respond effectively and efficiently if and when something does go wrong. Contact your CDW account manager or security solution architect to get started on this process today.