Security concerns and cyber attacks have increased as the majority of the workforce moved into a remote workspace due to the pandemic. Ensuring a secure network across such a disparate workforce can be extremely challenging, but security remains vital to essentially every organization in this current environment. Those security challenges are compounded for SMBs who may not have had a robust infrastructure in place to effectively support a remote workforce for an extended period of time.
A lack of understanding and resources fuels the fire for network security concerns for SMBs, with many not understanding the security differences between consumer and business routers or the importance of a comprehensive data recovery plan. “Without a partner, it can be difficult for SMBs to understand what it takes to have a truly secure network,” stated Marc Nagao, Americas Security Business Development Manager for Cisco, in an interview with EDGE360. “In the new remote work environment, businesses are facing a consistently increasing number of ransomware threats and attacks, so their need for business-grade firewalls and an effective data recovery plan is greater now more than ever.
“What’s very dangerous is a lot of times, people working from home are using older routers and their firmware hasn’t been upgraded in a couple years or they might not have the best Wi-Fi security,” explained Nagao. “So, it’s really important that some sort of small business-grade firewall is in place for these networks. It might also make sense to add another layer of security on top of that, such as web filtering or URL filtering.”
So how is Cisco addressing these specific challenges? “Based on our knowledge from the security team at Cisco, we expect SMBs to be targeted by cyber threats even more right now,” Nagao stated. “A large percent of our SMB customers reported to us that they have been hit with a cyber attack and it’s only becoming more dangerous out there for a remote workforce.”
The demands of a growing remote workforce prompted Cisco to offer incentives for partners and their customers in the early stages of the pandemic including tools like AnyConnect and Duo. And with the ever-growing cyber threats on the horizon, it also made sense for Cisco to roll out their new security scale play for their partners worldwide. This scale play provides an enhanced discount on Meraki MX and Firepower, where partners receive a better bundle discount when they add any of the Cisco security offerings to their MX or Firepower purchase.
“We think it’s critical for any partner looking to beef up their security for at-home workforces to take a second look and really consider what they need to deliver that security,” urged Nagao.
Nagao’s advice for Cisco partners striving to deliver the level of security that their customers are looking for is to leverage the expertise of their distributor. “No matter who you are, a partner can always be working to improve their ability to supply their clients a better offer,” said Nagao. “Leverage the expertise of your distributor. Collaborate with other partners. Part of evolving as an organization is navigating through bumps, but if you can avoid them, why wouldn’t you?”
You can learn more about the current Meraki offerings available for Cisco partners here.