South African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) take about nine months to become aware of and report a data breach.

That’s according to Jaco Voigt, MD of Cisco technology ecosystem provider PerfectWorx Consulting, who says this concerning timeframe is broadly in line with the 277 days mentioned in IBM’s 2022 data security report.

“The bad actors have become so sly that when one clicks on that dodgy link, nothing happens immediately. A false sense of security is created, particularly at under-resourced smaller firms that often cobble together defences using consumer-grade cybersecurity solutions,” says Voigt.

“In my experience, stolen or compromised credentials are the most common cause of a data breach and these types of attacks usually take the longest for local firms to identify,” he adds.

With the behaviour of people within the business the biggest security variable for early-stage firms, it’s clear an additional layer of automated breach protection is required by the small business.

Deploying cybersecurity protection at the DNS layer is where SMEs will experience the most immediate benefits, Voigt adds. DNS layer protection essentially protects users from websites that host dangerous content.

When employees attempt to access problematic sites and the SME has a solution like Cisco Umbrella enabled, the request to access the potentially-dangerous site would be denied at the DNS layer.

Rolling out a DNS layer cyber security solution is an effective first line of defence against phishing and the malware and ransomware attempting to gain access to users’ devices via dangerous sites controlled by bad actors.

With these cloud-delivered cyber security solutions focused on unsafe webpages, smaller firms can gain a new layer of breach protection in minutes that also offers Internet-wide visibility.

Essentially, DNS layer solutions protect devices and users by controlling the transfer of information between such devices and the internet at large. “Over 30 000 local and overseas customers have found that Cisco Umbrella provides the quickest, most effective way to improve the SME’s security stack. Data breaches start – and end – at the DNS layer,” Voigt adds