Many small to medium business (SMB) owners share a common misconception. In a world of rapidly accelerating cybercrime targeting enterprises, public infrastructure, and even governments, they often think they are far too small to entice hackers or cybercriminals. On the one hand, cyberattacks on SMBs are unlikely to make the news in the same way that breaches impacting the personal details of millions of Australians will. However, that does not mean SMBs are immune to attacks.
Between July 2021 and June 2022, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received over 76,000 cybercrime reports. The average cost per cybercrime reported was over $39,000 for small businesses, $88,000 for medium businesses, and over $62,000 for large businesses. Unfortunately, SMBs are being targeted by threat actors, and the costs are significant.
Cyberattacks are increasingly sophisticated and SMBs are being targeted because they are often viewed as easier targets than enterprises that are able to invest heavily in cybersecurity. This means that SMB leaders need to prioritise cybersecurity in the most effective and cost-efficient way possible—which is migrating to the cloud and leveraging built-in, cloud-first security protocols.
Improved security is only one of the many benefits of the cloud for SMBs. Access to new business models, reduced costs, improved collaboration, and better opportunities for innovation are giving SMBs an edge in the competitive market.
Misconceptions are derailing the cloud journey for SMBs
Despite these benefits, some SMBs are still hesitant about the cloud. The most common concerns include:
- Security: SMBs often fear that cloud services might be more susceptible to hacking, data breaches, or unauthorised access compared to on-premises solutions.
- Cost: while cloud services reduce costs in the long term, initial costs and ongoing subscription fees are sometimes believed to be more expensive than existing on-premises servers.
- Customisation: out-the-box cloud services are built to cater to a broad audience, and this lack of customisation can be frustrating for SMBs that have unique processes or specific workflow requirements.
- Dependency: when a business moves its data and services to the cloud, it becomes dependent on the cloud service provider, creating concerns about business continuity and reliability.
- Compliance: SMBs might not be sure if the cloud provider meets the necessary compliance standards or how to ensure that they remain compliant while using cloud services.
- Data sovereignty: data is subject to the laws and governance structures of the country in which it is located. By storing data in the cloud, it might be stored in a different country with different laws regarding data privacy and security.
- Legacy systems: transitioning to the cloud can mean abandoning investments into legacy systems.
While these concerns are persistent, even after many cloud-native businesses have proven the agility and flexibility of operating in the cloud, they are unfounded. For example, the cloud can mitigate the risk of cybercrime and prevent hackers from accessing and capitalising on sensitive data that can compromise employees, suppliers, customers, and businesses. Cloud migration can be a minimal initial investment that opens up more budgeting agility with fixed monthly subscription costs or pay-per-use consumption models.
The dependency on cloud up-time is also an unfounded fear, as most clouds have several redundancies built in, offering high levels of guaranteed uptime. Similarly, out-the-box services are built on best practice and actually help SMBs to follow tried and tested processes that support business growth rather than investing in expensive customisations that are difficult to scale.
Finally, the cloud offers SMBs the ability to reduce costs associated with IT teams, deliver on-demand work environments, provide readily accessible data in real-time, and improve decision-making and the customer experience.
Simplified migrations to the cloud
Operating in the cloud can be both simple and intuitive; however, migrating to the cloud is often more complex than many SMBs expect. A DIY approach tends to feed into the concerns SMBs initially had, derailing digital transformation even further.
The different types of clouds and services, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, can be overwhelming. Migration to the cloud requires a thorough assessment of the business’s infrastructure, careful planning, testing and retesting, scaling, and ongoing management.
Enlisting the support of experienced partners can alleviate the complexity associated with cloud migration and help SMBs identify the best cloud solution for their needs while providing guidance on using these solutions effectively.