The threats your businesses faces by being connected to the Internet are far more subtle and invidious than having a hacker or virus crash your computers.
You may never even realise that your network has been compromised until real damage has been done, not only to you, but to your contacts. Your data may be lost or corrupted; you – and/or your customers – could become identity theft victims; or your computers may be used to distribute spam or malware.
Even small business are at risk
Don’t think because your business is new or small that it won’t cross the cybercriminal’s radar as a target, or that the information in your computer is not valuable enough to warrant an attack. There is no such thing as security by obscurity.
Typical attackers do not target individuals or businesses – they target vulnerabilities.
They scan the Internet continuously, and when they come across a vulnerable computer – which can happen within a few minutes of an unprotected computer being connected to the Internet – the attack is launched automatically.
It’s not about stealing your information
This attack does not necessarily have anything to do with your data: cyber criminals look for PCs that can be used as a spam relay; as an illegal file repository from where illegal software, child pornography or pirated movies can be sold and distributed; a participant in a ‘denial of service’ attack; or to host a phishing site.
It’s also important to remember that actions which compromise your network are not always confined to hostile, external actions. Internal misuse of network capacity – for example, employees downloading (porn) movies or music, playing games or visiting gambling sites – can seriously compromise productivity.
You therefore need to take action now.
Good security isn’t as expensive or as complicated to implement and manage as it used to be.
In fact, all-in-one solutions that provide mail server protection as well as unified threat management services and that make it simple and affordable for the business owner to have full control over utilisation of the company’s network are reliable, affordable and easy to use.
How much security do you need?
- At a minimum, you need a firewall, a virtual private network offering (if you are going to allow remote access to your network) and a traffic shaper for prioritising your business critical applications.
- You also need conventional email security (anti-virus, anti-spam, grey listing) that scrutinises e-mail attachments and links.
- For even greater security, you should consider intrusion protection; web content filtering; and secure web proxy with anti-virus, malware and phishing protection.
Other steps you should take include:
- Protect user accounts with strong passwords – and change them regularly
- Ensure your anti-virus, malware, phishing and anti-spy software is updated regularly
- Keep your operating system and applications current and patched
- Remove unused user accounts and software
- Regularly back up key data
- Implement network access security
- Limit access to sensitive information
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