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Data from internal and external risk assessments provides some insight into how working with SMBs can be risky if security problems aren't uncovered and addressed.

Sean Martin

July 6, 2016

7 Slides

While they are decent targets themselves, small- to midsized businesses (SMBs) are often used as a stepping-stone to reach into their larger business partners’ networks. Cybercriminals often target smaller organizations that often don’t value nor invest properly in security.

SMBs often have limited cybersecurity staff; limited cybersecurity knowledge; and have no means to detect attacks, let alone respond to them.

Meanwhile, most large organizations don’t address third party risk of SMBs or other partners with any real assessment program. Many still rely on questionnaires, and others focus mainly on the top tier of vendors, leaving the smaller ones to fill out questionnaires. Some look at the external security postures of some of their third party partners.

“Unfortunately, self-attested questionnaires and outside-in external posture assessments only pain part of the picture,” says Jonathan Niednagel, CEO and co-found of third-party risk assessment firm DatumSec. “Our assessments have shown what most would expect but choose to ignore: the internal posture for most SMBs looks horribly worse than that found in their external assessment.”

Here are some findings on the state of SMB security that DatumSec uncovered in more than 140,000 internal risk assessment scans.

Note: The team at imsmartin would like to thank DatumSec for sharing some of their findings in support of this collection.

About the Author(s)

Sean Martin

CISSP | President, imsmartin

Sean Martin is an information security veteran of nearly 25 years and a four-term CISSP with articles published globally covering security management, cloud computing, enterprise mobility, governance, risk, and compliance—with a focus on specialized industries such as government, finance, healthcare, insurance, legal, and the supply chain

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