Using the Right Tech to Keep Your Business Secure in 2021

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It’s no longer just large businesses and global corporations that are being targeted by criminals. We’re seeing small businesses targeted in both cyber attacks and physical premises breaches. If you don’t have a plan to protect yourself against these threats, a reckoning could be right around the corner.

The Lowdown on Burglary and Theft for Small Businesses

When it comes to business security, most business owners immediately think about things like cybersecurity, data, servers, and phishing. And while we’re certainly going to discuss the cyber side of things in this article, we’d be doing you a disservice not to begin with physical security issues like burglary and theft.

Research shows that 95 percent of businesses experience some sort of theft on an annual basis, while one in three U.S. business bankruptcies is caused by employee theft. In all, seven percent of annual revenue is lost (on average) at the hands of theft.

For retail businesses, shoplifting accounts for more than 35 percent of all losses. And for companies that have self-checkout lanes, these numbers are even higher.

On top of theft, there’s always the risk of burglary and property damage from intruders. And even though most business transactions are now conducted using plastic, check fraud still happens. (Small businesses account for 70 percent of all check fraud theft incidents.)

Top Physical Security Technology for 2021

It’s impossible to prevent all theft and burglary from occurring, but you can prevent, detect, and even deter most of these actions with the right technology. Here are a few to consider:

  • Cloud security cameras. Nothing beats having a cloud security camera system in place. IP video surveillance is convenient, cost-effective, and allows you to store thousands of hours of video. Depending on the system, you can even set up automatic detection and custom rules to keep you acutely aware of what’s happening in every nook and cranny of your business (at all hours of the day).
  • RFID tags. If you’re in a physical products business, staying up to date with your inventory is crucial. RFID tags make this simple. As Kenton Brothers explains, “Placing RFID tags on products manages and tracks inventory, which eases administrative duties by monitoring inventory at any stage from packaging, assembly and storage to point-of-sale, etc. With RFID tracking, you can store and back up data to the cloud in real time.”
  • Biometric access points. Controlled access is a must for most businesses. Unfortunately, the traditional method of using keys, card scanners, and keypads aren’t as effective as they could be. (Each is fairly easy to compromise.) Biometric access control systems are a much better option. They use eyes and/or fingerprints to grant access, which makes them nearly impossible to evade.

There are obviously dozens of other physical security gadgets and systems on the market, but these three will get you moving in the right direction. When layered together (and combined with other options like intrusion detection systems, metal detectors, perimeter fencing, security signage, proper lighting, etc.), these tools will set you up for success.

The Lowdown on Cyber Attacks for Small Businesses

For many businesses – particularly virtual or remote companies – physical security isn’t really an issue. Cyber security, however, is a major problem. (And it’s no longer something that only large businesses deal with. Small businesses are bigger targets than ever before.)

Research shows that 43 percent of cyber attacks specifically target small businesses. Shockingly, 60 percent of small businesses that are victimized by a cyber attack go out of business within just six months.Cyber breaches have increased by 424 percent over the past year, which leaves 66 percent of small businesses “concerned” or “extremely concerned.”

Despite knowing that cybersecurity is a major problem, just 14 percent of small businesses say their current defense mechanisms are likely to be “highly effective.” Even more troubling is the fact that 47 percent of small businesses have “no understanding” of how they can protect themselves against attacks.

Top Cyber Security Technology for 2021

While most businesses are wholly unprepared to withstand a serious cyber attack, the good news is that the technology and infrastructure exists. It’s simply a matter of recognizing the need, choosing the right technology, and making the investment. Here’s a look at some of the top cyber security tech for 2021 and beyond:

  • 2FA access systems. The old days of having an ID and password to access an account are gone. This singular method is far too flimsy for today’s advanced attack methods. Instead, businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on two-factor authentication (2FA). While there are a variety of ways to implement a 2FA system, it’s usually done by requiring the user to input an ID and password, followed by a one-time pin code that’s sent to the user’s mobile device. This pin code is then put into the system, which then grants the user access.
  • AI integration. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the cyber security space has been exciting to observe. When properly integrated into a tech stack, AI helps under-resourced security teams proactively protect against outside threats. These systems typically use a combination of structured and unstructured data to make critical decisions based on a set of dynamic rules that are designed to remediate threats as they emerge.
  • XDR. As data breaches grow, it’s becoming more difficult for security teams to get proper visibility of customer and enterprise data. With Extended Detection and Response (XDR), this becomes more practical. Security teams can effortlessly (and automatically) gather data from a variety of endpoints and quickly facilitate faster incident response and real-time threat detection. It’s a game-changer in every sense of the term.
  • SASE. With the rise of remote working and a sharp increase in the number of businesses that operate 100 percent virtually, there’s a major need for advanced, comprehensive security solutions. And Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is becoming the go-to option. SASE technology allows organizations to secure their remote workforce and cloud applications by safely routing network traffic through an intentionally architected cloud-based security stack. By 2024, it’s estimated that 40 percent of businesses will adopt SASE strategies (up from just one percent in 2018).

The cyber security defense industry is constantly evolving in response to the latest cyber threats. But the hope is that innovative and adaptable technologies such as these can actually get ahead of the criminals and provide proactive defenses that ward off new trends before they’re even given a chance to emerge.

Keep Your Biz Safe With the Right Tech

Whether your business is facing physical threats, cyber threats, or a combination of the two, it’s nice to know you have options. By being proactive in your defense against attacks on all fronts, you can keep your business safe and protected. Use this article as a guide to get started, but be sure to consult with the appropriate professionals to ensure you have a comprehensive security framework in place.

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Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.