The truth is, small businesses are more likely to be targeted for a cyber attack than large companies. Figures from Fundara suggest that 43% of all cyberattacks are against small businesses. Additionally, IBM reports that cybercrime can cost the average business millions of hard-earned dollars. 

Thus, small business leaders, CEOs, and CIOs need to put measures in place to keep hackers away. But how?

1. Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Practically all companies password-protect their networks in 2020. But the ability of technology to offer protection goes well beyond simple codes. Take two-factor authentication, for instance. Here, users need to verify their identity on two separate devices associated with their login credentials to access a system. 

Suppose, for instance, colleagues want to access company data remotely via their laptops. In this case, two-factor authentication might require them to both enter a password and manually confirm their login on their phone. Similarly, when entering a server room, a technician might have to scan a keycard and enter a code before a security-controlled door grants access. 

Methods like these improve security and reduce liability associated with stolen data. 

2. Use LastPass 

LastPass is a password vault that makes remembering many individual passwords a thing of the past. It operates as a browser extension, providing users with access to highly-complex, random passwords for all their sites. 

The great thing about services like these is that they cut the risk that hackers will guess obvious passwords for your business, like “team2020” or “password123.” At the same time, individual members of your organization don’t need to recall long strings of random letters and numbers because the vault automatically does that for them in the browser.

3. Undergo a Network Assessment 

Typically, businesses think of a network assessment as a wide-ranging audit of multiple network features, such as your hardware infrastructure or ability to scale. But you can also use it as a tool to assess your current security vulnerabilities and hammer out weaknesses in your policies. 

Changes following network assessment analysis could include altering permissions, implementing more robust password policies, or moving operations to the cloud. 

4. Hire an MSP 

The vast majority of SMBs can’t afford to field in-house IT teams to deal with cybercrime, and rely on external agencies instead. MSPs, or managed service providers, are quickly becoming an essential part of small businesses’ response to hacking threats. 

MSPs offer a vast range of services that keep hackers away, including network assessments, protection, and integrations. Most have network monitoring capabilities, allowing them to manually and automatically track potentially harmful data packets. 

The role of MSPs, however, often goes beyond mere passive services. Many act as cybersecurity companies, consulting with their clients on security and privacy strategy, preventing prying eyes from gaining access to sensitive information. 

Furthermore, many offer SMB staff training to provide additional skills that counteract and thwart modern hacking attempts. MSPs can also help with data backup, creating automated schedules that consign data to the cloud. 

With BYOD policies becoming the norm, more and more companies are looking to MSPs to assist them. They want remote working capabilities and the ability to protect their core systems simultaneously, independent of any devices that colleagues might take home with them. MSPs can build these policies and manage private device access to the company network, even when users are off-site.

5. Fully Integrate Your Systems

The term “integrated systems” is common currency these days. But precisely what vendors mean by it differs, depending on who you ask. The challenge for organizations that use IT is to blend their security platforms seamlessly. 

Currently, most small and medium-sized businesses have a range of online and offline security apparatuses to keep their assets safe, but they don’t talk to each other. For instance, physical security systems, such as doors, might not communicate with digital security systems, such as defining which colleagues have access to certain apps. 

Bringing the physical and the digital together can offer substantial benefits. For instance, digitizing employee access credentials allows managers to control access to individual facilities at times of their choosing via a cloud-based console. 

It also makes credential-based access possible, letting employees use a single password to gain access to multiple areas of the building or equipment instead of remembering individual codes.