When talking with your customers about their cybersecurity strategy and investments, being outcome driven is key to their success. You’ll remember back in December we launched our 2021 Security Outcomes Study.  This report provided a ton of insightful data on the security outcomes our customers are looking to achieve.

This week we launched our 2021 Security Outcomes Study for Small Midsize Businesses (SMBs). The approach with this study focuses on the 18% of participants who represent SMBs that originally participated in our Security Outcomes Study, in which 4,800 organizations were sampled from 25 different countries.  The findings in our 2021 Security Outcomes Study for SMBs reflect the outcomes that are most relevant for small and mid-sized businesses.

It is no secret that a large majority of small to mid-size businesses rely on the help and expertise from a partner to guide them through their security investment strategy. Aligning these security investments with the outcomes they can achieve sets you – as a #CiscoSecurePartner – up to have a more powerful and active role in a customer’s overall business.  Here are our top findings:

Small Business doesn’t mean small cybersecurity

Small businesses are looking for the same level of security capabilities as larger enterprise-level customers. However, SMBs need simplicity and security that works with their business—not against it. The good news is 44% of SMBs say that their security is keeping up with the needs of the business, which is a higher level success than that of large and enterprise level organizations sampled. This means that SMBs can invest in security to meet and evolve the needs of their changing business.

Having a comprehensive security strategy in place allows SMBs to prioritize their investments and get the most “bang for their buck” given their already resource constrained IT teams. As a partner, it’s a great opportunity for you to help your customers formulate their security strategy and offer up your security services and expertise to augment any gaps.

Having a plan for the worst 

Adversaries target organizations of all sizes. But small businesses seem particularly vulnerable because the financial impact of a breach can be devastating. SMBs should have a recovery plan in place for “when” not “if” a security breach occurs. Having a proactive vs. reactive approach can help mitigate risk and minimize the overall impact of a security event. In fact, the study found that the highest correlation to managing risk for SMBs was having a timely incident response.

This is a great opportunity for partners to have a conversation about a proactive security strategy and incident response services.  Partners can position their own incident response (IR) services or use our Talos Incident Response Services.

Keep the tech fresh

Another interesting finding of our study is that SMBs who maintained a modern security stack were rated more successful across the security outcomes that we measured.  Additionally, the SMBs who had a regular refresh cadence reported that they were able to cope and shift more easily to the security implications caused by the increase in remote / hybrid work due to COVID-19.

It’s hard to protect against new threats with yesterday’s technology. A strong refresh practice also presents a great opportunity for you as the partner. Cisco Secure has some compelling partner offers built out for migration and competitive displacement, most notably we have new discounts specific to our Cisco Secure Firewall that you should check out.

I encourage all of our partners to check out all of the findings in the Security Outcomes Study for SMBs and share it with your customers. Take these findings into your customer meetings and use them as a launch pad for a discussion about the outcomes your customers are hoping to achieve and how you can help them take that next step.  If you missed our #CiscoChat Live that covers the findings of the report, you can listen to the recording here. Together we can help support our SMB customers to use their security investments to grow their business and achieve extraordinary outcomes.


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Dana Miller

Global Lead

Security Partner Marketing