When it comes to data security, 2019 was the most expensive year on record. While this reality has impacted companies of every size, small and midsized businesses (SMBs) are in a particularly precarious position.

A recent report from Hiscox found that more than half of businesses suffered a data breach in the past year, a notable sum for small businesses as Accenture found that 43% of online attacks target these companies. At the same time, only 14% are prepared to defend themselves.

Unfortunately, timing couldn’t be worse. Consumers, fed up by years of continual data breaches, are fleeing companies that can’t secure their data. It’s estimated that 81% of consumers would consider abandoning an online platform after a data breach.

It was once estimated that 60% of SMBs went out of business within six months of a data breach. However, small businesses today aren’t powerless to defend themselves. In the year ahead, making data security a top priority is a matter of survival.

Here are five steps that SMBs can take to make this happen.

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