Running a small business (SMB) is a little like riding a roller coaster. Inflation, consumer moods, interest rates and the labor market provide lots of ups and downs. But while coasting downhill is the most fun part of riding a roller coaster, watching business revenues nosedive is no fun at all.
Business owners want to experience a long, steady climb without hitting a peak and zooming downward. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce releases a quarterly index that measures the health of small businesses. After hitting a post-pandemic high in Q3 2023, the index collapsed back to its second-lowest level since Q3 2021.
Cyberattacks on small businesses can ruin everything
No matter how hard small business owners work, and no matter how good the economy, there is one event that can derail the roller coaster completely and leave a business in a pile of rubble: a cyberattack.
Cyberattacks on small businesses are disturbingly common. One study showed that 61% of SMBs fell victim to a cyberattack in the last year, with about 40% of those attacks resulting in lost customer data.
And attackers don’t just strike once. The same study showed that 87% of IT decision makers reported suffering two or more successful attacks in the last 12 months.
Those companies that suffered two attacks are, in a sense, the lucky ones. Research shows that 75% of SMBs would not survive for more than a week after a cyberattack. Many SMBs are woefully underprepared for a cyberattack, in large part because they don’t have time or resources to devote to cybersecurity. In fact, lack of time to manage cybersecurity is the top security concern among small businesses, even above the actual threat of an attack.
Good cybersecurity help is hard to find
SMBs need all the help they can get. That goes for a lot of elements of running their business, but it’s especially true for cybersecurity. Good security expertise is expensive and hard to find. In fact, hiring any type of employee is difficult for small businesses in a climate of low unemployment and nagging inflation. Managing security in-house is almost impossible.
The vast majority of small businesses have either one employee or no one at all who has cybersecurity as part of their responsibilities. The same is true for many small accounting firms. Small firms face many of the same challenges as other small businesses but also deal with a shortage of accountants.
However, even smaller accounting firms can help their SMB clients meet cybersecurity challenges. Forward-thinking firms have discovered a solution for cybersecurity issues that many small business clients might not even realize exists. Helping SMBs protect their data is a way for firms to develop closer client relationships and increase the value of their service offerings.
Firms that partner with a cloud provider for managed security don’t have to worry about using internal resources to fend off cyberattacks. The cloud provider does it for them, with specific security expertise, world-class data centers for storing information and always-available support. Put another way, smart firm owners know that a monthly fee is all they need to manage in order to sleep well at night.
Accounting firms can help prevent cyberattacks on small businesses
The good news for firms—and their small business clients—is that firms can help SMBs protect their data. Any firm that runs applications in the cloud and subscribes to a managed security service is already protecting the client data that the firm itself stores. Those firms also give clients secure platforms for email and other communications and protect them against phishing and ransomware attacks.
Firms can go even further by offering third-party security services directly to their clients. It’s a potential value driver for accounting firms that set themselves up as security consultants and build the cost of managed services into their billing.
Best of all, firms don’t need to do much. The managed security provider offers the expertise, equipment and other resources SMBs need to stay safe. The firm doesn’t have to do much more than suggest the service as part of an overall package of offerings.
And SMBs love it. In one recent CPA.com survey, clients listed security as one of the most valuable services a firm can offer—in the same category as accounts payable/bill pay, forensic accounting and data analytics.
Fully managed services is an option for accounting firms
Firms sometimes need a little—or occasionally, a lot—of extra help themselves. Running applications in the cloud and subscribing to managed security services will help your firm be more secure and efficient. It can even help you find and retain talent in a tight labor market.
But for firms that want to go further, managed technology services can be an attractive option.
With a fully managed application and infrastructure experience, your cloud provider takes care of maintaining, updating and securing your choice of thousands of applications. Your provider also makes apps work together that might not be compatible outside the cloud.
Subscribe to a standard cloud service, and you get a wide variety of applications you can run with a partner. With the OneSpace Firm Premier fully managed services from Rightworks, you have a choice of thousands of applications, with your partner providing a customized experience tailored specifically to your accounting firm. You also have a dedicated client success manager and team.
When you choose a fully managed environment, you’re still helping SMB clients keep their data safe. You can reassure them with absolute confidence that every application they use with you is in expert hands. Plus, you can offer managed security and secure cloud application access packages to clients and enjoy an extra level of cloud and security service for your firm.
Rightworks OneSpace Firm can help prevent cyberattacks on small businesses
Rightworks offers a fully managed application and infrastructure experience for accounting firms through OneSpace Firm Premier.
For firms that choose services that don’t offer a fully managed experience, the Rightworks OneSpace Firm and managed security offerings still offer efficiency and security benefits that will deliver value to your firm. And you can augment the offerings you provide to clients by helping them move to OneSpace Business.
You and your clients can trust Rightworks to:
- Manage your security technology without having any impact on your daily business activity.
- Serve as your cloud service provider and back up your data for maximum availability under any circumstances.
- Protect your data in enterprise-class facilities and provide US-based 24/7/365 support.
- Offer comprehensive and customized services to accounting firms that choose a fully managed application and infrastructure experience.
Running a small business is never easy. Neither is running a firm. But accounting firms can provide a valuable and much-needed service to SMBs. And Rightworks can help both kinds of businesses protect their data and focus on what they do best—without having to worry about security.
Are you ready to help your clients protect their data? Get started today.