By Mary Ann Yule, President, and CEO, HP Canada
While we are not out of the woods yet, Canadians are beginning to move out of survival mode and back into thinking about the future with renewed optimism. Getting our economy and communities back on track post-pandemic will mean ensuring our Canadian backbone – small and medium-sized businesses – can successfully navigate the next wave of challenges.
In fact, SMB Group reported that 54 percent of SMBs plan to increase tech spending this year. Growing SMBs are also 65 percent more likely to accelerate the pace of investing in technology due to the pandemic. The pace at which companies have adopted digital tools is remarkable and ultimately, a transformation I believe will fuel innovation and future growth.
At the same time, the rapid uptake of digital tools and pivoting business models has left many SMBs vulnerable to new threats. The growing number of ways to connect online has opened doors for businesses, but also for cybercriminals. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, nearly a quarter of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack since March 2020. This reinforces the need for strong security solutions, from network security, VPNs, and firewalls to securing end-point devices in a disparate workforce.
With remote work converging personal and professional lives under one roof, many people began using their technology for multiple purposes out of convenience. In the HP Wolf Security Blurred Lines &BlindspotsReport, 35 percent of Canadian office workers admitted to using their work devices for both professional and personal purposes since working from home. While we can hope many businesses enhanced their cyber protection as they adopted more technology endpoints to meet their ongoing needs, SMBs are challenged with not having the time nor resources to deal with growing threats that come with it.
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Technology experts must help small businesses equip themselves with the tools to help them navigate this evolved and dynamic security landscape. This is one of the reasons our new Wolf Pro Security platform is tailored to meet the needs of small and mid-sized businesses. As SMBs rethink their approach to how they can safeguard their operations, secure-by-design solutions will be crucial to enhancing threat containment, malware prevention, and identity protection from surfacing cyber risks.
And make no mistake – investing in security is investing in the future of a business. Data breaches are devastating for even large corporations but for small businesses, they could be the difference between survival and closing your doors. In the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s survey, 37 percent of the small businesses who had experienced a data breach said it cost their organization more than $100,000 and one in five had no idea what the cost was. In any case, the cost is simply too high. Cyberattacks are a threat to financial security and data privacy, but also productivity, customer confidence, and the future potential to innovate.
Pivoting to the online world and partnering with other organizations were key to helping some SMBs see another day– and will be crucial to surviving the future. We may not be able to predict what is next, but we can put the tools in place to operate smarter and more securely, together.