You don’t need me to tell you the world today is as dangerous as ever. Hackers and bad actors are waiting in the wings for an opportunity to cause havoc and disrupt business operations.

The good news is we live in an era where the prudent use of technology can reduce the imminent threats facing businesses. But it does require companies to take the threat seriously and take action.

The pandemic has exponentially increased the cybersecurity threat. Research from Accenture revealed 43% of online attacks target small businesses, and a minuscule 14% are prepared to defend themselves.

Simply put, many SMBs do not have the budget internal IT team to handle the challenge. However, it can take years and cost millions of dollars to recover from an attack.

Sadly, according to some estimates, an alarming 60% of SMBs will go out of business within six months of a cyberattack.

Small business owners face enough challenges, but navigating the ever-expanding cybersecurity landscape does not need to be one of them. Here are five ways to reverse the trend and make sure your unified communications (UC) platform is protecting your business against cyberattacks.

Start with sound policies.

The best defense starts with a strong foundation. Every organization needs sound policies that make security a centerpiece of every action.

As a starter, consider the most basic — and often the most vulnerable — touchpoint: passwords. Regularly changing passwords may be an annoyance for employees but is a minor one compared to responding to a hack.

Consider a shocking statistic in the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, which revealed more than 80% of breaches within hacking involve brute force or the use of lost or stolen credentials.

Deploy the right tools.

While policies establish a firm foundation, they alone will not stop bad actors. Whether it’s a firewall, two-factor authentication or a virtual private network (VPN), businesses need a mix of easy-to-deploy and scalable solutions that will grow with them.

Additionally, consider deploying managed tech support access, tools that establish rules for access control and automatically block known problematic — and suspicious — IP addresses.

As with any tools, it’s essential to recognize the solutions will continually evolve as the threats and the landscape change.

Maintain device security.

Device security is almost as central a tactic as a sound password policy.

For starters, companies must keep track of all their devices and associated licenses. Deactivating unused and unneeded devices is one way to reduce the number of access points into a system.

Additionally, develop a plan for how to respond to lost devices. Who should an employee call if they lose their phone or their laptop? What will the IT team do to cut off its access and render it harmless?

Conduct regular security audits.

Security policies cannot be one-and-done affairs. They must be reviewed regularly and refined to make sure they are ready to handle new and emerging threats.

These audits should not be designed to find fault with or place blame on anyone. Instead, they should focus on solutions to discover weaknesses and help with the development of any disaster plans to jump-start recovery in the event of a security breach.

Weaknesses exist, and if you don’t find them, you can bet a hacker will — and they are ready, willing and able to exploit it.

Make sure everyone is on board.

All the tools and protocols will be worthless if there isn’t genuine buy-in from everyone on the team. It only takes one misstep from one team member to open Pandora’s Box.

Therefore, an organization’s leadership team must instill in the organization why everyone has a role to play in security. It must be a part of the company’s culture.

The world is evolving, and the security threat will continue to change with it. What works today may not work tomorrow, and companies cannot afford to let their guards down again seen and unseen threats.

Given the threats today, do you feel prepared, or do you think it’s time to reevaluate your approach to security?