Before you decide that you’re just a small business with a dozen computers and that hacker’s aren’t interested in your company data, STOP, and think again. We can’t stress this enough: Small Businesses are an even bigger target than large, corporate networks, due to the fact that they don’t have a large IT budget, and are a more open target. Now that being said, network security is not only reserved for those organizations with large IT budgets. One this is true though; If you don’t take the necessary steps to protect your network, you’re putting your business at serious risk. Below is a list of the most common security flaws on small business networks:
Passwords are the keys to your network, and the easiest things to find. Passwords travel across your network constantly as users access data, and with a well placed eavesdropping program, can be found in a matter of minutes. Resolution: Use strong passwords that are changed often (we recommend every 30 to 45 days). Include a mix of upper and lower case letters, and make your passwords at least eight characters long.
Businesses rely on email so much for their day-to-day operations, but unfortunately it is one of the most common entry points to your network for viruses and malicious software. Many attachments in email, however harmless they may appear, contain malicious code designed to infect your network and wreak havoc on your productivity. Resolution: Although not 100% effective, Anti-Virus software is your best protection. Ensure you have a licensed (not free), business Anti-Virus installed on every computer on your network, including the server, and ensure it’s updated regularly.
All operating systems and software applications have security flaws (holes). These have the potential to give an unauthorized person access to your network. As software companies find these holes in their programs, they releases fixes (patches, hot-fixes, updates). Resolution: Talk to your IT Solution Provider to ensure they are installing all necessary updates, patches and hot-fixes to the software on your network to limit the entry points on your network through software holes.
This is probably one of the fastest growing security risks on the internet, and the amount of individuals and small businesses being affected by this is growing daily. Your employees are probably one of your business’s greatest assets. Unfortunately, they can also be one of the biggest weaknesses in your network security. Through Social Engineering (or scams) employees often unintentionally give out sensitive information regarding the network, such as passwords, server names, remote access procedures. Resolution: Employee education and awareness is the only security mechanism that works, in this case. Be sure that no employee gives out network information, such as usernames, passwords, or even the software you use, without knowing whom they’re giving the information to and why they’re giving it.
If your small business requires any assistance implementing a secure and effective network security policy, please contact Partek today.