A recent article in eWeek magazine stresses that Web threats are becoming more harrowing for small businesses and provides some interesting tips about protecting against an increasingly perilous threat landscape. The article pointed out that two recent studies, one done by Hewlett-Packard and one by Symantec, found that while the number of cyber security vulnerabilities is falling, the number of cyber-attacks is actually rising – doubling in the latter half of 2011. The studies also found that small and midsized businesses are feeling the brunt of this increase with more than half of the targeted attacks aimed at companies with fewer than 2,500 employees and 18% aimed at organizations with fewer than 250 employees.
The article explained that because the Internet has provided a convenient way for smaller businesses to market their products and services inexpensively, they are particularly vulnerable to targeted attacks – and often they are the least prepared to handle them. Of particular concern for SMBs is the prospect of having their intellectual property, confidential customer data or financial transaction information stolen or corrupted. The article included some security tips for SMBs faced with the daunting task of protecting organization assets and reputation:
Employee Education – The cyber-criminals who target organizations are more frequently using customized malware and social engineering tactics to get users to open links or attachments that can unleash a catastrophe. It’s important that organizations train their users to be suspicious of any email from an unknown source. Tell users if they have doubts – don’t click or download. Users should also be warned about the dangers of social networking sites where information is shared freely.
Be Aware of Mobile Device Risks – In 2011, there was a 93% increase in vulnerabilities associate with iPhones, iPads, tablets and other mobile devices. Make sure you have security in place my insisting on passwords protection and restricting application downloads through the corporate network.
Protect Sensitive Information – Data breaches are on the rise where hackers are intent on stealing personal data such as customer credit card and social security numbers. Make sure you have Data Protection technology in place to minimize your risk.
Defend Against Botnets and other Malware – A recent study showed that smaller websites, those with 2500 or fewer visitors per month, can have as much as 83% of their traffic coming from bots and other non-human visitors. Bots aren’t inherently bad, but unless you are protecting your organization from bots, viruses and other malware, you are asking for trouble.
Design a Comprehensive Security Plan – Make sure you incorporate strategies that protect endpoints and throughout your network. The article suggest multiple forms of protection, having a strong AUP in place, employee education and policies you can enforce.
EdgeWave Security Solutions, including iPrism Web Security with cloud-based Remote Filtering and iPrism Social Media Security and the ePrism Email Security Suite, including Continuity, Data Protection Services with Encryption and DLP and secure Archive, offer multi-layered protection, ease-of-use and low TCO. They are the affordable and hassle-free solutions that are ideal for small and mid-sized organizations in any industry or sector.