Protecting SMEs, not just big business, from cyber attacks

SA ranks sixth on the list of most targeted countries for cyber attacks, and worldwide, small and medium enterprises are considered most vulnerable for cyber attackers to breach. Affordable cyber protection is essential.

Johannesburg, 19 Mar 2019
Read time 3min 40sec

The global Cyber Exposure Index ranks SA sixth on the list of most-targeted countries for cyber attacks.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not immune to this; far from it. One global study suggests that 58% of all breach victims are categorised as SMEs. Without access to the same skills and technologies as larger enterprises, SMEs remain vulnerable to attacks and often lack the appropriate response and resilience capabilities that can restore normal operations in the aftermath of a successful cyber attack.

Consider a denial of service threat. It is an attack meant to shut down your machines or networks, making them inaccessible to intended users. These attacks often target SMEs because hackers know how devastating the cost is when time and efficiency mean money, and the difference between an SME's ability to keep the lights on and salaries paid or having to close its doors.

In First Distribution's experience, large enterprises can survive cyber attacks. For SMEs, they can be far more devastating.

Accessible cyber security solutions

What does all this mean for SMEs? There's a reason hackers take a chance on them: many of these businesses lack IDS and IPS DDOS protection. SMEs are also 'softer' targets that hackers can use to access the data of larger, enterprise customers.

As lifelong allies in business transformation, Microsoft believes success made possible by the cloud should be accessible to every business and organisation, large or small. In many ways, the cloud is a democratising force. Systems and solutions that were previously unattainable for SMEs simply because of the expense involved are now freely available, including cyber security.

Azure is a trusted hybrid cloud solution: 95% of Fortune 500 companies trust their business on the Microsoft cloud. All the services that are available to the world's largest organisations are available to SMEs as well.

Because it's in the cloud, Azure essentially becomes a software solution; a way for SMEs to access the platforms, software and functionality they need, as they need it, without investing in on-premises hardware and servers.

The key to Azure from a security perspective, however, is that just by using it, SMEs are protected against cyber attacks. Azure has built-in protection automatically, so even SMEs that are accessing the simplest functionality are automatically protected.

Over 3 500 cyber security professionals at your fingertips

This can, of course, be increased as well. Advanced threat protection for workloads, whether in Azure or on premises, can be extended through using other applications, such as Kaspersky, to further protect and guarantee protection against multiple cyber attacks.

Consider how Azure can so successfully cater to the SME market: Microsoft invests over $1 billion annually into cybersecurity, including the Azure platform, to ensure its government, Fortune 500 and enterprise clients are protected.

A total of 3 500 dedicated cyber security professionals work together across the Cyber Defense Operations Center, digital crimes unit and other teams to help protect, detect and respond to threats in real time.

For physical security, Azure has hundreds of data centres in 50 regions, and these have extensive, multilayered protections to ensure unauthorised users cannot gain physical access to your customer data.

Because Azure is a cloud-based solution, however, all of that security and expertise is available to any business that utilises the platform. When Azure was initiated, the goal was to offer SMEs the same functionality as large enterprises, which means SMEs can benefit from Microsoft's 3 500 dedicated cybersecurity professionals just as much as a Fortune 500 company can.

The most important element of Azure's security features, however, is that these are constantly evolving. As technology and data science evolve, cyber attacks evolve in intelligence. In Azure, applications and services are always changing and being updated to keep up with the evolution of cyber attacks, with no additional investment from Azure users. It's simply built into monthly user fees.

First Distribution

First Distribution is the leading value-added distributor in Africa. Its offering includes a product portfolio of global leading data centre, cloud, networking and security products and services. This embraces hybrid solutions with access to any combination of on-premises, private and public cloud, end-to-end solutions from multiple vendors.

The portfolio, together with highly skilled staff who support and manage vendors with an unrivalled level of expertise, ensure that First Distribution's partners have the key elements required for success.

Additionally, First Distribution hosts one of the largest technology partner-to-partner networks in Africa, allowing partners to extend the reach of their solutions across the continent.

Visit to find out more.

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First Distribution Natasha Bezuidenhout
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