WatchGuard Blog

Usability, the key to cybersecurity in small and medium-sized businesses

In the case of small businesses, it is well known that employees are even more important as the first line of defense in cybersecurity, as small businesses often do not have the specialized personnel or the resources of large organizations to invest in training them. The available data confirms this: in the United Kingdom alone, 38% of SMEs suffered a cyberattack in 2021, according to a report by the UK Government

Moreover, a large part of this business fabric is made up of distributed enterprises, which increases the attack perimeter and therefore the chances of threats succeeding, as we have addressed in previous blogs.  

Therefore, in this context of the lack of specialized personnel, scarcity of time and training resources and widespread remote working, it is essential that all programs SMBs run are based on the premise of usability, and this includes their cybersecurity tools, since they protect critical assets for the organization.  

But what does usability mean? The Nielsen Norman Group, a leading global consultancy in user experience (UX), defines it as "a quality attribute that evaluates the usability of user interfaces; it also refers to methods to improve usability during the design process." Five quality components are assessed in usability: 

  1. Ease of learning: how easy is it for users to perform basic tasks the first time they encounter that design? 

  2. Efficiency: once users have mastered the design, how quickly can they perform tasks? 

  3. Memorization: when users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they master it again? 

  4. Errors: how many errors do users make, how serious are they, and how easily can they recover from them? 

  1. Satisfaction: how enjoyable is the design to use? 

With these components in mind, the ideal cybersecurity solutions for SMBs should be

  • Intuitive: so they can be employed simply from the first use, for basic tasks such as endpoint monitoring or scanning for malware. 

  • Efficient: with fast, automatic analysis and, in addition, covering behavior patterns that go beyond known malware. 

  • Programmable: with processes that are easily automated and manageable, so that the same processes can be resumed in the future without difficulty. 

  • Error-proof: even if users make diagnostic errors by underestimating threats, they must go beyond this and start from a zero-trust model, which distrusts any binary by default, no matter how legitimate it may seem, and analyzes it before executing it.  

  • They must generate customer satisfaction: this factor goes beyond design and means users must be able to count on adequate technical support when they face doubts and difficulties. Learn more about what to consider when building your cybersecurity strategy in our Buyers Guide: Inverting in Cybersecurity.

Solutions built on these pillars prove that they place the customer and cybersecurity at the center of their strategy, with usability as the key premise at all times so that learning and handling them is as simple as possible. These are the tools that SMBs should trust.  

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