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Security player Avast has been on a mission since the start of the year to increase its exposure to the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customer base and has taken a further step in that direction through a partnership with Enterprise Nation.
The vendor kicked off the year with a decision to sign Westcoast as a distributor, with a brief to get it in front of more SME-facing resellers, and added to that with moves to refine its channel programmes to make sure it was attractive for partners and was prepared to give its top-level resellers more rewards for bringing in business.
The tie-up with the small business network group Enterprise Nation will get Avast in place as its exclusive security partner with responsibility for delivering protection and training to more than half a million SMEs.
“SMBs are the lifeblood of the UK economy and they have faced unprecedented challenges in recent times, including temporary closures of their businesses, implementing remote working, and scaling e-commerce for sales and customer communication. Many have had to do this without dedicated, or at best minimal, IT support in the face of increased cyber attacks. The focus now must be on post-Covid business recovery and growth," said Marc Botham, vice-president of worldwide channel and alliances at Avast.
“We are committed to working with Enterprise Nation to support SMBs by providing them with the tools, resources and insights they need to optimise their digital possibilities securely and effectively,” he added. “The threat landscape facing small businesses has expanded and developed over the past year. Like any major event, cyber criminals have viewed pandemic-driven shifts as an opportunity for exploitation.”
Avast will work with Enterprise Nation to support some of the organisation’s existing initiatives, which include helping small businesses implement sustainable practices and helping online retailers sell and support customers securely.
Emma Jones, founder and CEO of Enterprise Nation, said the small business community was facing an increasing volume of threats.
“As our economy shifts to digital adoption, we have seen a marked increase in requests for cyber security support. There is a high awareness of the growth in threats and a clear need for support on a range of issues from employee awareness training and securing remote working to data security and business continuity,” she said.
There have been other signs in the industry that vendors are engaging with business groups to try to increase the levels of cyber security protection across small businesses.
Last month, cyber security and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance platform player Naq Cyber teamed up with national small business organisation The SME Club.
The reasons for that partnership mirror the motivation for Avast to reach out to Enterprise Nation members, with concerns that many small firms are struggling to protect their data.
“Millions of small businesses adapted amazingly to the pandemic, and often this involved offering an online solution to their customers. The vast majority of these SMEs haven’t considered the implications of holding all of this data and the issues around cyber security and GDPR compliance, and we are calling on firms to address these issues before it has a negative impact on their business,” said James Godfrey, founder of The SME Club.
Nadia Kadhim, CEO of Naq Cyber, said many SMEs were looking for help with data protection and, given the risks of failing to get it right, it was critical they took steps to rectify that situation.