• Home
  • /
  • Computing
  • /
  • Collaboration is the answer to SME data security needs

Collaboration is the answer to SME data security needs

Partnerships between security organisations are the only way to develop the type of boutique-style e-mail security solutions required by the SME market.

Johannesburg, 28 Feb 2019
Herman Kriel, GM for data protection, CyberTech, a division of Altron.
Herman Kriel, GM for data protection, CyberTech, a division of Altron.

In today's security-conscious world, data of all kinds needs to be kept safe, up to and including your e-mail data. After all, it is clearly important that such business-type communications remain confidential, otherwise it may cause/create exposure that could lead to serious reputational damage to the company or the individual(s) concerned.

Data exposure via e-mail communication is fast becoming a problem of great magnitude, since as little as a single wrong click during a legitimate mailing process can expose important and sensitive information to the wrong eyes. It is not only at this time that e-mail is in danger of a breach either, suggests Herman Kriel, GM for data protection at Altron CyberTech. It is, he adds, just as important to protect the confidentiality and integrity of e-mail messages and attachments, both while in transit and while in storage, to keep it from prying eyes.

"While most enterprises are reasonably secure in this sense through the use of additional security measures, the outlook for SMEs is not as bright, with a large percentage of these businesses lacking security here. This is partly due to the fact that this market sector has both different requirements to the large corporations, as well as an inability to invest in costly enterprise-grade solutions," he says.

"A good example here would be your local GP, who may well need to share crucial patient information with a specialist or a hospital. While regulation requires that such information needs to always be secured, the fact is that this is not always the case. This example does demonstrate, however, why it is so important for this market sector to focus on things like e-mail and file encryption, thereby protecting data both on the move and at rest."

In other words, explains Kriel, it is vital that solutions for the SME space are created, and the only way to achieve this is for specialists in this field to develop a clear understanding of the target areas, and then to partner with one another in order to develop solutions that can have an impact on this market.

"Instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, these collaborations need to look at specific areas related to security, how data is stored and what threats it is under in this form versus the protection of data in any format that is used while moving, transferring or shared across multiple channels and media, versus the Internet of things (IOT) and any form or style that information is read, gathered or collected, and craft very specific, boutique-style solutions for these smaller customers, designed to meet the needs of this particular market segment.

"On the one hand, you need a player that is able to not only build a world-class security solution that meets current needs, but also one that is capable of keeping up with legislative trends, consumer commands and criminal evolution. On the other, you need a provider who can deliver this to the SME on an as-a-service basis; this is why teamwork is essential."

Collaboration in this way will help these SMEs to not only improve their security in this manner, continues Kriel, but should also help them to significantly reduce their relating operational costs. After all, with solutions such as e-mail security delivered as a service, it reduces the need for the business to invest in their own support, security and administrative staff, while also eliminating the high costs associated with investing in hardware and physical space required to run these types of operations. Most crucially, this approach should enable SMEs to gain access to what is essentially an enterprise-level solution, but at a price point that is manageable. SMEs have to understand that they are not alone any longer, trying to deal with the protection of their customer data, and that there is support available to help them cope with the growing demands placed on them to protect their data.

"It is for this reason that a partnership between a large security player, one that spends a lot of its budget on security research and development, and in staying one step ahead of the criminals, and a smaller one that is nimble enough to adapt rapidly and to implement the required services at an SME quickly, is so important.

"These kinds of partnerships are key, since no one has all the products, solutions or expertise to do it all themselves. However, with the right collaboration, it becomes possible to understand early on what the future holds and what new technologies are coming down the line here, in order to be able to build the perfect, future-proof solution to suit the particular client," he concludes.