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The Crucial Role Of MSPs In Offering Data Protection And Cybersecurity For SMEs SMEs today, more than ever, have a shot at sustained success against the big players

By Karan Gupta

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Earlier this year, records from the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) pegged the number of businesses in this category at over 7.9 million. Given the sheer size of the SME segment, it is evident that small businesses play a crucial role in India's race to become a $5-trillion economy. Nearly 8 million SMEs dot India's landscape today. Their resilience and entrepreneurial spirit drive India's growth story and are vital catalysts in our nation's rising prominence. That said, they have their fair share of hurdles to tackle, with cybersecurity (or the lack of it) being one of the most threatening. CyberPeace Foundation—the world's first non-profit think tank on cybersecurity—outlined some rather startling numbers in its recent report. Around 43 per cent of cyberattacks in the country target small business startups, and most SMEs are ill-equipped to handle such cyber risks. And even more alarmingly, over half of the SMEs, that fall victim to cyberattacks close down within six months.

Despite this grim scenario, small businesses do not have the requisite resources and technological know-how to bridge the gaps in their cybersecurity. Given the latent nature of cyberattacks, SMEs, more often than not, find themselves unprepared and ill-equipped. This inherently puts customer data and other sensitive financial information at risk and, in many cases, makes it harder for such SMEs to remain in business through disruptive phases.

Growing concerns around cybersecurity have swayed SMEs to look for robust IT and cloud solutions. With IT spending among SMEs forecasted to go up, the role of managed service providers or MSPs is becoming increasingly pivotal as smaller businesses look to navigate the digitized ecosystem around them. As far as SMEs are concerned, this calls for an effective yet affordable data and cyber security solution.

MSPs: Levelling the cybersecurity playing field

MSPs or Managed Service Providers are third-party entities that remotely manage a company's information technology infrastructure and services. They take on the responsibility of handling the IT requirements and security aspects, so the client company can focus on core business areas and improve its bottom line.

MSPs play a pivotal role today in ensuring data protection and cybersecurity in small businesses, which suffer from talent gaps and the lack of resources to hire in-house expertise. The primary advantage that MSPs offer SMEs today is the winning combination of effective yet affordable cybersecurity solutions, so those small entities can secure their data and IT infrastructure without compromising profitability or efficiency. In addition, many MSPs are creating stable IT infrastructures for effective and secure data backups. This puts small businesses in a position to react quickly and efficiently to cyber-attacks and minimize losses.

Homegrown managed service provider Agrim is one such MSP transforming cybersecurity for SMEs. The IT service provider offers a comprehensive suite of solutions ranging from security assessment and risk management to resilience services and more for small businesses across sectors like healthcare, banking, automobile, and education.

SecurityHQ is another MSP that is making security and data protection solutions more accessible for startups and small business ventures in India. This IT service provider gives SMEs an edge and empowers them to be more prepared for cyberattacks by running phishing attack simulations and red team assessments. The MSP also offers a wide range of services for IT security, including penetration testing and vulnerability management. Global giants like IBM, Wipro, and Verizon have also forayed into the space with their world-class cybersecurity and data protection solutions. By creating a series of recovery points and ensuring that the customer information remains intact even in case of an unexpected attack, MSPs today are helping small businesses stay in the game and contribute to India's growing GDP without any hiccups.

A no brainer for small businesses looking to make it big

SMEs today, more than ever, have a shot at sustained success against the big players. Growing regulatory support, virtual marketplaces, and accessible tools, among others, are empowering SMEs to reach new heights. And cyber security is an indispensable part of their business that must evolve with them. When faced with increasing vulnerability to sophisticated cyber-attacks, SMEs may be urged to give in to the pressure of investing resources in building an in-house security network. However, MSPs offer a much more viable and economical alternative — without compromising data protection, expertise, and, more importantly, scalability. The bottom line is those small businesses can get the best of both worlds by outsourcing data and cyber security to MSPs.

Karan Gupta

Senior Vice-President, Moglix


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