News and Insights

B2B Decision-Makers Should Utilize SMEs for their Cybersecurity Strategy

April 25, 2022

Cybersecurity is a major risk factor, which business leaders must value and prioritize to get ahead in the B2B landscape.

In a world where new ransomware attacks occur consistently, what can B2B leaders do to decrease risk? How can they use executives’ expertise to stay ahead of online threats?

Cybersecurity is serious business, especially in a world changed by COVID. According to NETSCOUT, there were 9.7 million distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in 2021, equivalent to a new hack every three seconds. About 963,000 attacks occurred in North America, with another 1.3 million in APAC.

The good news is the global cybersecurity market is growing to combat these threats. Key players’ financial statements show worldwide revenue in this sector is expected to reach almost $212 billion by 2026. That includes $78.1 billion in US revenue and $58 billion in APAC revenue.

Business leaders also realize the importance of these issues. Gartner reports that 88% of boards of directors now consider cybersecurity a major business risk and not solely an IT problem, up from 58% five years ago.

FINN’s B2B Journeys Research, conducted with Global Web Index, bears this trend out. Over 1,700 B2B buyers across countries and industries offered insights about the vendors and suppliers they use for significant purchases. 

Respondents worldwide agreed these business partners should value and prioritize data security and cybersecurity. When broken down by country, 85% of US respondents said cybersecurity mattered very much or somewhat, along with 86% of APAC respondents.

The same pattern holds in specific sectors: 85% of respondents working in IT named cybersecurity as a top priority for vendors and suppliers. Industry leaders want their partners to care about these issues as much as they do.

A vital way to showcase that expertise is through external communications. But translating complicated cybersecurity concepts into concise, shareable concepts for employees or customers isn’t always easy. That’s where subject matter experts (SMEs) come in. Bite-size content marketing videos on platforms like YouTube and TikTok are an especially fruitful investment.

FINN’s survey found that B2B audiences trust recommendations from thought leaders with proven track records in their fields, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. 

Two-thirds of all B2B leaders (including three-quarters of IT leaders) are likely or extremely likely to use information from SMEs or influencers to help them during the decision-making process. The pandemic accelerated this shift: 90% of B2B IT leaders are now either more likely (41%) or as likely (49%) to consult SMEs while making decisions.

This pattern will persist once the pandemic ends. About 72% of B2B leaders (including 81% of IT leaders) said they are much more likely or somewhat more likely to get input from SMEs in a post-COVID world.

As a result, B2B companies need to use every tool at their disposal, especially their people. Internal executives with the proper training can serve as thought leaders and SMEs, sharing cybersecurity tips, tricks, and strategies in blogs, bylines, and interviews.

External influencers will also be helpful as in-person tech conferences resume. These partners can attend events and share messaging on behalf of industry leaders who cannot be there themselves.

Communications professionals and PR firms must ensure that their clients understand the importance of cybersecurity, so they can make intelligent and well-informed decisions. B2B executives who give these issues the attention they deserve will flourish for years to come.

Learn more about FINN Partners’ Global Intelligence capabilities and expertise HERE.