AWS Smart Business Blog

How to Do a Cloud Cybersecurity Checkup for Your SMB in 2024: Benefits, Checklists, Requirements, and More

Each year, you likely visit your physician for an annual physical to make sure your health is intact or conditions are manageable. Much like your own health, your small or medium business’s (SMB) IT status should also be regularly evaluated. Regular security checkups are vital to identify issues, protect sensitive data, enable compliance, maintain business continuity, and build trust. This is important for desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and other internet-connected devices.

SMBs like yours are the backbone of economies around the world, providing jobs, innovation, and economic growth in their communities. But with limited resources and many competing priorities, safety can often take a backseat. However, robust cybersecurity is crucial, which will help you protect your company against common IT security issues. Implementing basic cyber hygiene—like using multi-factor authentication with strong passwords, installing software updates, and training employees—can go a long way to protecting these businesses. Strong cybersecurity practices enable small business owners to thrive in an increasingly digital global economy.

Why cybersecurity is important for SMBs

Unintended security events can disrupt business operations and impact your bottom line. For example, SMBs are more frequently targeted by cybercriminals (compared to larger companies) due to fewer safeguards, less sophisticated firewalls, and unpatched software. Whereas larger companies have dedicated security staff, you likely have that as one of many hats to wear on any given day. Ultimately, businesses of your size are perceived to be easy targets, so much so that the estimated cost of cybercrimes against US small businesses was US$2.4 billion in 2021.

Maintaining strong IT protection enables companies to reduce risk and minimize business disruption to keep you offline longer than needed. Proactive monitoring, updating software, training employees on best practices, and having an incident response plan can help strengthen defenses against issues. Addressing them promptly limits potential impacts to sales, customer data, productivity, and overall reputation.

Man in home office

Benefits of a cybersecurity checkup

Customers that conduct regular cybersecurity checkups can maintain a secure and resilient cloud environment on Amazon Web Services. Whether you are fortunate enough to have an in-house IT leader—or outsource it to a third-party managed services provider—we recommend starting with the following: configurations, access control, and potential vulnerabilities. These checkups enable SMBs to identify and remediate security gaps promptly. SMBs can confidently navigate the digital landscape, knowing that they can make their own AWS environment secure and able to adapt to evolving security issues.

Here are some key advantages:

Mitigate risk

Regular cybersecurity checkups help identify and address potential issues and risks in your AWS environment, which helps you reduce the likelihood of security incidents. For instance, if you process payments on your website, assessing ongoing risks can help prevent fraud. Another common issue is not disabling accounts or file access once employees leave your company.

Address compliance

Cybersecurity checkups help organizations address industry compliance standards and regulations. We empower our customers to reduce legal risk in the cloud and maintain a secure cloud environment. SMBs in regulated industries such as healthcare or financial services know how their operations are tied to compliance efforts.

Prepare for common security incidents

Assessing and testing incident response capabilities ensures that your team is well-prepared to detect, respond to, and recover from security incidents in a timely manner. For example, if an employee at a small law firm clicks on a phishing email link and unknowingly installs malware or ransomware, the firm’s incident response solution can jump into action to contain the infection and restore from backups, minimizing downtime and avoiding data loss.

Continuously improve your security efforts

Checkups serve as a proactive measure for ongoing improvement, helping SMBs stay ahead of emerging issues and adapt. For instance, employee cybersecurity training is not a “one and done” activity. Ongoing, annual training helps reinforce secure practices and keeps employees aware of new issues like phishing, social engineering, and unsafe web browsing habits.

How to conduct a cybersecurity checkup for your SMB

Security is an ever-evolving field, so it’s important to use security tools that can regularly evaluate your environment for issues, misconfigurations, and more. With just a few clicks, you can enable powerful security services that help protect your business’s cloud environment. Read on to see what you need to do a thorough checkup.

1. Get the security solutions you need to manage your business

If you have an in-house staff member responsible for cloud IT, they can use AWS Security Hub to get a unified view into the company’s overall security posture so they can quickly identify risks. We also recommend Amazon GuardDuty, which uses machine learning to continuously analyze issues and detect unexpected activity to help protect your AWS accounts. Amazon Inspector scans your workloads for vulnerabilities so you can proactively address issues before they lead to problems. Together, these automated AWS security tools provide intelligent threat detection and vulnerability management so you can focus on growing your business with confidence that your cloud environment is secure.

Download the More Secure, More Productive eBook to learn about three key ways to reduce risk and increase momentum for your business in the cloud.

2. Automate or setup security assessments

Read the Guidance for Baseline Security Assessment on AWS to automate the assessment of your AWS account(s) for security vulnerabilities and get a report that explains how to resolve the issues. If you do not have in-house support to help you automate, you can also explore AWS Partner Network consultants who help SMBs with infrastructure, app, and data security as well as managed detection and response.

AWS Partners who focus on cybersecurity can also evaluate your cloud if you lack internal expertise. They use automated tools and insights from security experts show where improvements are needed. The goal is to make your business applications more secure and reduce risks. For example, if you’re based in Canada, you can redeem a free AWS Cloud Security Compliance Report from our AWS Premier Tier Partner, Ingram Micro.

3. Scan all of your AWS accounts for potential issues

If your SMB has more than one AWS Cloud account, use the Account Assessment for AWS Organizations solution to programmatically scan all accounts for identity-based and resource-based policies with organization-wide conditions. It presents results on a dashboard to help understand dependencies between accounts.

The AWS Solution Automated Security Response on AWS is an add-on that works with AWS Security Hub and provides predefined response and remediation actions based on industry compliance standards and best practices for security threats.

4. Read our free security checklist for specific tactics

Not sure where to begin and need more education? Our colleagues published a checklist that helps small businesses such as yours become a smarter, more secure business.

What are the business requirements for a better cybersecurity checkup?

These are our recommendations on how you can implement better security protocols, regular system vulnerability assessments, employee training on security best practices, and more.


Figure out a realistic schedule for the cybersecurity plan that prioritizes your most important AWS Cloud workflows. Make sure to allow enough time to look at all the settings, controls, and potential issues. This way, you can do a thorough job of checking and fixing any problems. SMB customers typically conduct cybersecurity checkups annually, but increasing frequency to bi-annually or quarterly enables timely identification and mitigation of issues.


Create a budget for AWS security expenses such as tools, services, staff training, and outside expertise. A budget helps guide investment in the proper resources to enhance security, implement best practices, and address any vulnerabilities identified during assessments. The appropriate budget will depend on business needs, infrastructure, risk tolerance, and other factors. Remember: delaying regular security expenses could potentially result in a much larger expense at a later date.


If there are gaps in your staff’s security knowledge, think about providing extra training. AWS Training and Certification prepared set of on-demand courses will help your company develop critical security skills to simplify your organization’s journey to the AWS Cloud, protect data and applications, and innovate with confidence.

How SMBs like yours manage cybersecurity in the cloud

With AWS, even SMBs have access to the same infrastructure, services, and best practices used by the largest enterprises to keep their data safe. By implementing security best practices like encryption, access controls, and vulnerability scanning, AWS customers are able to reduce risk and protect sensitive information in the cloud.

Legal tech SMB, weetrust, built a secure and scalable cloud infrastructure on AWS to support business growth with limited IT staff. With tools like AWS Security Hub, weetrust strengthened security, achieved ISO 27001 certification, released features faster, and gained efficiency to focus on customers.

ZS, an SMB consulting firm, used AWS security services to centralize visibility, simplify compliance efforts, automate issue management, and accelerate incident response. This enabled ZS to innovate faster and empower employees to be more vigilant.


We explained how small businesses are more likely to be targeted by cybercriminals than larger companies, how to improve security efforts, and what is required. SMB customers that conduct regular cybersecurity checkups can maintain a secure and resilient cloud environment. In this blog, we covered few ways on the benefits and how you can conduct cyber security checkup for you SMB. Leverage our AWS Certified experts to secure your business. If you are brand new to AWS, contact us to kickstart your security journey.

Pranjit Biswas

Pranjit Biswas

Pranjit Biswas is a Solutions Architect at AWS. He has over 16 years of experience leading, developing, and supporting B2B tech integration scenarios. Before joining AWS, he was a lead technical architect for a large American retail client at Infosys. Pranjit holds a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology and is based in Arizona (US).

Adil Can

Adil Can

Adil Can is a Sr. Solutions Architect who specializes in delivering innovative solutions to customers, accelerating their cloud adoption to realize value, and allowing them to maximize their investment in AWS. Before joining AWS, he was a Sr. Consulting Engineer for Advanced Network Management (ANM). Adil holds an MBA from Yeditepe University. He is based in California (US).

Vamsi Pitta

Vamsi Pitta

Vamsi is a Solutions Architect at AWS based in Seattle, Washington, where he supports SMBs with technical guidance and best practices. He is responsible for helping customers achieve their goals and optimize their cloud performance. Vamsi holds a master’s degree in management information systems from the University of Illinois Springfield.