Verizon this week announced a new secure internet feature for its SMB customers. Known as Business Internet Secure, it consists of enterprise-grade security features for SMBs that use Verizon for broadband services. This follows last week’s mobile counterpart, Verizon’s Business Mobile Secure.

All of the above flows from Verizon’s Business division, which works with Small Businesses on their telephony needs (more on that in a bit). Heightened security features are driven by the company’s own data that indicate 28 percent of data breach victims last year were small businesses.

In addition to standard security vulnerabilities, Verizon cites Covid-era lockdowns as an additional factor that can heighten security issues. In other words, patterns have been disrupted due to the shift to remote work and online fulfillment, which can create openings for cyber-attacks.

For example, employee device usage happens in new environments such as non-secure home networks. To quantify this, Verizon Business’ survey data indicate that 38 percent of SMBs have transitioned to remote work, yet only 21 percent have implemented new security measures.

Active Ingredients

To remedy this, Verizon’s new security protocols focus on two places where the biggest vulnerabilities lie for displaced SMBs: employee devices and internet activity.  The program specifically employs Cisco’s Umbrella security service, which will be the white-labeled active ingredient of the new rollout.

Verizon lists the full slate of features and intended users as follows.

Verizon’s Business Internet Secure bundle, helps protect customer’s routers and the devices connected to that router by filtering access to dangerous content and protecting their endpoints:

— Internet Security powered by Cisco Umbrella: Uses predictive technology to identify threats and prevents users from visiting malicious websites

— BlackBerry Smart Antivirus: Next-generation anti-virus software that uses artificial intelligence to predict and prevent threats

— Dedicated Security Support: Verizon’s dedicated security tech support, enables small businesses to connect with a tech expert to receive services that cover onboarding, setup, and end-user support.

Verizon’s Business Mobile Secure bundle, helps customers manage their mobile devices and protects them from a variety of threats:

— Mobile Device Management (MDM): This platform enables businesses to more easily streamline device and app deployments, set controls and maintain security

— Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) by Lookout for Small Business: In partnership with Lookout, a leader in mobile device security, Mobile Threat Defense ensures that both iOS and Android devices are better protected against app, device and network based threats

— Dedicated Security Support: Verizon’s dedicated security tech support, enables small businesses to connect with a tech expert to receive services that cover onboarding, setup, and end-user support.

Channel Choice

As for opportunities around Verizon’s business division, we’ve long examined various channels into SMB spending. These are the high-scale sales channels that have unique access to the coveted long tail of SMBs — traditionally comprised of yellow pages, newspapers and broadcast entities.

Telecom services are an oft-forgot channel that have lots of access to SMBs, given the pole position in serving them with such a necessary (and sometimes monopoly-advantaged) service like broadband and cellular service. They sometimes share legacy familial ties to the original local channel: yellow pages.

The question is, how that channel is serving SMBs. Is it following broader market trends towards an expanding bundle of adjacent services (think: websites, eCommerce, SEO). In such situations, ISPs like Verizon can partner and white label these functions, thus holding opportunity for SMB SaaS players.

That’s the case with this week’s security updates, given that they’re powered by Cisco and Blackberry. The question is, where will Verizon’s (and other ISPs’) bundle expand to next? We’ll keep tracking those gaps in the spirit of our “Skate to where the Puck is Going,” series.

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