When we think about the most public cyber attacks and data breaches, we generally associate them with large enterprises. The truth is cyber attacks are not limited by company size. A significant cyber attack can happen to any company, in any industry and of any size.

According to the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach report by the Ponemon Institute, “small businesses face disproportionately larger costs relative to larger organizations when it comes to breaches.”

Typically, one of the most valuable assets for any sized company is their data, and data theft or destruction is probably the most frequent result of cyber attacks on small and medium businesses (SMB). SMBs can be very profitable targets for bad actors, because they have fewer resources and little in-house expertise to plan, implement and execute a cybersecurity incident response plan. Business drivers and modernization needs make it an even trickier balancing act with the new norm of working from home.

So how can SMBs protect themselves against costly cyber attacks? The short answer is by selecting a security information and event management (SIEM) platform that will detect threats before they’re able to wreak havoc. However, not all SIEMs are built to address the unique needs of SMBs.

SMBs are particularly vulnerable to the following security use cases, so be sure the threat detection and response software you choose to deploy addresses the following concerns.


Phishing is a concern for security teams across the world, and smaller organizations are as likely to be targeted by phishing attacks as are larger corporations. When selecting threat detection and response solutions, look for an SIEM platform with the ability to provide built-in phishing detection and remediation. This is critical for SMBs to know employees are protected on this vital communications channel.

Insider Threats

Insider threats are another key use case, particularly with the shift to remote work. Privileged accounts, contractors and employees are everyday vectors for attackers to carry out attacks, often involving compromised credentials. When monitoring for malicious or accidental insider threats, user behavior analytics (UBA) is key to building and understanding the risks associated with the activity of various users in an organization.


Ransomware is a low-risk, low-cost and high profitability option for attackers. It is no surprise it’s so prevalent in the threat landscape. A nightmare for organizations defending against that threat, it is the No. 1 most likely threat to cause a 24-hour outage at SMBs, according to Cisco. Out-of-the-box ransomware detection is a must for SMBs selecting an SIEM or threat management solutions, protecting themselves from paying a ransom and from the costly loss of availability.

The Power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

One of the toughest challenges security teams face is the cybersecurity skills shortage. Fortunately, organizations can take advantage of advanced cognitive capabilities of AI, such as IBM Watson, to enhance the knowledge available to cybersecurity professionals. Organizations gather and enrich context to improve their understanding of cybersecurity patterns and malware through analysis of structured and unstructured data. That can reduce investigation time from hours to minutes.

By being able to separate the wheat from the chaff, analysts can spend less time investigating low-priority incidents and focus their time preventing breaches or significantly reducing the impact of security incidents through timely actions and faster response.


SMBs don’t need to be alone in their fight against cybercrime and, for many, a potential solution to their cybersecurity challenges are Managed Security Services Providers (MSSP). An MSSP has a dedicated focus on threat detection, investigation and response. They are able to efficiently implement the capabilities described above to grow and mature use cases across their entire customer base, while providing customization as required.

Leveraging modern frameworks, such as MITRE ATT&CK™, SMBs and their MSSP partners can efficiently assess, implement and grow their security posture by using a common language to share information on threat actors, tactics and techniques. SMBs can also benefit from threat intelligence feeds, automation and AI tools that would be tough for them to deploy effectively with limited resources and budgets.

By partnering with an appropriate MSSP, SMBs can ensure they’re working with partners who have built modern security operations architecture and processes, allowing them to safely focus on developing and transforming their businesses.

Learn more about addressing small business cyber security challenges via an MSSP.

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