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Leverage Artificial Intelligence Tools to Reduce Fraud and Friction for Customers

The article underscores a startling reality – while 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses, just 14% are adequately equipped to protect themselves.

In an uncertain economy, companies of all sizes are looking closely at costs, balancing short-term risk and long-term reward. While many companies are reducing budgets, there are some line items, like information security, they can’t afford to cut. Still, many will be left with limited resources at a time when they’re facing mounting challenges and risks. The question becomes how to make the best use of their resources.

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Security and identity management are an easier burden to shoulder for large enterprises, but small to medium enterprises (SMEs) often don’t have a dedicated C-level executive or IT staff focused on securing the company’s data and intellectual property. But despite their size, threats can still loom large: SMEs are at more risk to cyberattacks than larger companies. According to Accenture’s Cost of Cybercrime Study, 43% of cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses, but only 14% are prepared to defend themselves. 

Hiscox’s 2022 Cyber Readiness Report found that attacks decreased slightly for larger companies in 2021, but with most other size groupings, cyberattacks actually increased as the hackers directed more of their attention to mid- and small-sized businesses. Businesses with 10 to 49 employees saw a nearly fourfold rise in the average number of attacks. While fraud continues to rise, companies are struggling to outpace threats.

SMEs must establish strong protections against fraudsters not just to protect their business, but to also reduce friction and drive growth. Most startups and small businesses do not have access to the same security resources as large enterprises, whether due to understaffing or smaller budgets, thus leaving them in higher danger of cyber-attacks.

So, how can they harness enterprise-level protection without a major cost outlay?  

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Tech Layoffs and Data Breaches Are Causing Trouble

Due to outward challenges, such as the looming recession and understaffing, SMEs are forced to cut back on resources.  A lack of advanced security measures, however, can leave the door open for cyber criminals. Data breaches can be devastating to small businesses, often resulting in a loss of customer loyalty, decreases in growth and profit, or worse, loss of the business entirely. 

Since last year, tech companies have laid off over 275,000 employees, leading to a rise in understaffed companies. As discussions of recession and layoffs continue, small businesses are facing challenges, and for employees and employers, job insecurity is materializing. Without being able to afford expert IT staff, small businesses are struggling to keep up. 

SMEs often lack substantial security resources, but with the right solutions, they can actually employ enterprise-level protection against fraud. By assessing the business’ security and choosing the right solution, SMEs can have world-class security like large enterprises. 

Stay Up to Date to Stay Ahead

Businesses should be upgrading their security solutions to better safeguard their company and staff identity, and to best fit their needs. This can include several things such as, adopting cloud services, multi-factor authentication (MFA), facial biometrics, utilizing cyber insurance, or even using encryption software. Upgrading to more secure services can help to avoid theft. Once the identity thieves gain entry, they can open lines of credit and get business loans, leaving businesses victimized with debt.  

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Identity is critical to small business operations, from employee to customer identity. Many SMEs still use outdated identity security methods, such as password-based logins. Businesses could greatly benefit from ​​more advanced identity protection with newer cloud-based solutions, as it would streamline the onboarding customer journey. 

To avoid cybersecurity attacks, SMEs can employ a number of preemptive measures, such as using MFA. Of organizations that store data in the cloud, 76%  don’t enforce MFA for their users, while 58% of organizations also don’t require MFA for network administrators either. When SMEs outsource business operations (applications, storage, etc.) to the cloud, they need to take security measures into account, such as employing MFA and strong identity protection. 

SMEs can have the same type of world-class security defense as enterprises leveraging the cloud providers’ investments in security to ensure customer data remains safe. Cloud offers options for SMEs, such as increased accessibility, collaboration, innovation, fluidity and scalability. Cloud identity security provides a layer of security for companies, allowing them to focus on their business, instead of worrying about cybersecurity threats— SMEs can mitigate risk, while keeping costs and risks low.  

Becoming an Expert Without Being an Expert

SMEs are always looking for ways to save money, while effectively mitigating risk. Shifting to cloud-based security solutions can allow SMEs to keep up with emerging cyber and identity risks…

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There are numerous advantages of shifting to the cloud. Many industries are taking the leap and the amount of cloud users is increasing year by year. Flexera’s 2023 State of the Cloud Report states that cloud adoption continues to become more mainstream, as 65% of respondents are heavy users. 

Cloud computing offers inherent advantages that make it customizable for a business and easy to use cloud services require less IT management, putting companies at an advantage when trying to keep up with competition, cut costs and combat threats.

The cloud service provider will cover all costs from maintenance and management, and companies can scale cloud resources up or down, depending on their needs. Additionally, these resources are supplied by the provider, and available at all times, from anywhere.   

SaaS applications are also intended to be user friendly and under-resourced businesses can utilize the platform’s tools without having IT knowledge. This allows for SMEs to use updated security and cloud methods, without having to actually employ IT experts. 

Keeping Identities Safe

The flexibility and ease of cloud allows companies to adopt advanced security methods and become security experts without having to actually be an IT expert and/or employ experts. Businesses need to be informed on the challenges and opportunities that cloud solutions provide, in order to make the best and most informed decisions for their customers. 

Mishandling confidential customer and business information can result in identity theft, leaving businesses vulnerable. Cloud based solutions can offer SMEs more flexibility and safety, while keeping costs low. Moving to the cloud gives SMEs an advantage in their security methods they otherwise wouldn’t have due to budget and staffing constraints. 

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