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New Zealand’s SMEs empowered to self-manage cyber resiliencee

Most of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in New Zealand have realised the reality of conducting their businesses in the digital space. Systems encrypted with ransomware, data breaches, business disruptions, frauds and other forms of cyber-attacks can be fatal to an online business especially to an SME.

Companies have seen small businesses brought to the edge of extinction due to a range of cyber-attacks. COVID-19 has made this worse as remote access solutions (such as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are often not effectively deployed leaving vulnerabilities that are easy to find by even low-skilled cybercriminals. The costs of having a professional cybersecurity programme are often out of the question for most SMEs.

In light of this, a New Zealand-based start-up is trying to push down the cost of cyber-security and make a business for itself by encouraging other small businesses to take control of their systems. The developer has a homegrown, software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that looks to disrupt the traditional consultant-dominated industry model. Currently, six businesses have completed a beta program with the tech company.

The tech start-up wants to give small tech businesses the ability to self-assess and confidently operate their cybersecurity programmes. Cybersecurity practice has been confusing, inaccessible and left to the domain of industry consultants, says the founder and CEO.

The developer is looking to “democratise” cybersecurity practices in the country. According to him, cybersecurity help has been traditionally out of reach for many businesses due to cost, and while the quality of service available is of a very high calibre, many businesses are starting with the basics and looking to improve from there.

He also said that they are born out of the real need to make it easier and more affordable for technology companies to improve and begin to operate their security programmes with confidence.

The company plans to give SMEs an understanding of where the gaps are, a custom roadmap of what to do next and a world-class product experience to run and operate their security programme over the long term. They believe that they are filling an important gap in the market for an offering that comes in between the thoughts “wish we were doing better” and “prohibitively expensive professional services”. There is certainly a time and place for professional help, but most do not need it in the beginning.

Accordingly, leading innovators in the country said that with the emerging situation as an unprecedented crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the way people work, live, consume, and travel. To adapt to these transitions, SMEs are actively seeking ways to reinvent themselves as per next-normal operating models. Businesses can no longer count on pre-coronavirus data and analysis that have substantially changed across different industries.

The coronavirus crisis has made it compelling for SMEs to endorse digital transformation to evolve and survive in the post-COVID world. This unexpected change has opened a slew of opportunities for SMEs to become future-ready and set the stage for a digital revolution.

Looking beyond the pandemic, the sector is already gearing up for this revolution. Cyber resilience and innovative customer service programmes will be critical. SMEs can boost its growth prospects by continuing to innovate for the sake of sustainability. Besides, no business ever grows without having to evolve into something more. In addition to these practices, SMEs can also explore venturing into new verticals that are gaining prominence in the new normal environment.

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