Online Security:  How to Protect Your Business from Constant Threats
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Online Security: How to Protect Your Business from Constant Threats

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Spyware, viruses, worms, hacker attacks, data theft and other online security threats affect organizations of all types and sizes. Without internal security precautions, businesses put revenue,......

Spyware, viruses, worms, hacker attacks, data theft and other online security threats affect organizations of all types and sizes. Without internal security precautions, businesses put revenue, reputation, compliance and innovation at huge risk. However, outsourcing provides specialized security expertise and 24/7 monitoring of your IT environment.

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  • 1. Online Security: How to Protect Your Business from Constant Threats
  • 2. Spyware, viruses, worms, hacker attacks, data theft and other online security threats affect organizations of all types and sizes. If you use the Internet or a private network, you’re vulnerable. Left unprotected, your business could be devastated by these breaches. Security threats are becoming more sophisticated and damaging all the time. Current malicious programs resist removal, easily mutate and spread in minutes. These computer programs secretly install on your computers and can delete critical files or steal passwords and other proprietary information. Larger corporations have beefed-up network security over the years. But, research findings show small and mid-sized businesses have not been as diligent with their online security. Using software tools to find unprotected networks, hackers regularly turn their attention to SMBs.   Online Security
  • 3.
    • According to industry research firm AMI-Partners, almost half of all SMBs have not implemented basic security precautions.
    • Information Week reports 73 percent of SMBs have been the victims of cyber-attacks within a one year period.
    • A January 2011 article in CIO magazine cites increased hacker attacks on SMBs through e-mail messages and web pages. Hackers regularly target users of e-mail and popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Amazon with clickjacking, fake surveys, rogue applications and spearphishing.
    •  
    • Although typically an external threat, you can’t overlook security breaches coming from within your organization. An employee may unintentionally download malware while clicking on an e-mail link or visiting a particular web site. Or, a misguided employee could intentionally tamper with your internal systems.
    •  
    Online Security
  • 4. Without internal security precautions, businesses put revenue, reputation, compliance and innovation at huge risk.   Revenue Losses. Fixing attacks can be extremely expensive in terms of hard dollar losses and productivity declines. According to a 2006 FBI computer crime study, malicious software programs caused an average loss of $69,125 per attack. The Ponemon Institute’s 2008 Cost of Data Breach Study found companies spend an average of $6.6 million resolving a security breach.   The Impact of a Security Breach
  • 5.
    • Reputation Damage. The loss of confidential or proprietary information affects a company’s reputation. For example, a security breach to sensitive customer information would cause a loss of customer confidence. A blighted reputation could discourage current and future customers from using your business.
    • Compliance Issues. Many companies must conform to regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley. Any loss of data or security breach to a company’s IT infrastructure exposes a company to hefty fines.
    • Innovation Disadvantages. Innovations for improving operations surface all the time. But new technologies may have more complex security requirements. As a result, businesses may not take advantage of technological advances.
    •  
    The Impact of a Security Breach
  • 6.
    • Determine what you have versus what you need now and in the near future. Although a good start, don’t assume the anti-virus and firewall software installed on your computers will be enough. You probably need more safeguards in place to sufficiently protect your IT resources.  
    • For example, pervasive wireless networks by their nature may allow data to be more easily intercepted. You may need to take additional security measures if employees access company data wirelessly. Creating a virtual private network (VPN) allows mobile workers to wirelessly connect to a company's network securely. 
    • If you want to take advantage of cloud computing, you’ll need special security in place to reduce vulnerabilities. Using the Internet, cloud computing makes IT resources available when and where you need them. Users operate in a virtual environment, which increases both opportunities and risks.
    •  
    How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
  • 7.
    • Formalize a security plan. For the most effective security, you should create a detailed, written plan including technology requirements, policies and procedures. Review and update your plan regularly and make sure it’s communicated throughout your organization. You want a plan ready to neutralize the daily onslaught of online security threats.
    •  
    • Turn to An Expert. If security seems overwhelming, you can hire a service provider to perform a variety of functions. The service provider can conduct a security audit. The results of an audit can help steer you to appropriate solutions. You can also consider outsourcing some or all of your data center functions.
    •  
    How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
  • 8.
    • Managing security in-house can be complex, resource-intensive and expensive. It requires specialized expertise and monitoring 24/7, every day of the year. In many companies, IT staff already juggles many priorities and are spread pretty thin. And small business owners typically have to cover many bases within their companies. 
    • Few companies, especially SMBs, have the necessary resources to eliminate security risks. However, outsourcing removes the complexity and provides a host of additional benefits: 
    • Expertise. As a specialized discipline, online security extends far beyond general IT support functions. Service providers understand the dynamic nature of current threats and continually train their security analysts.
    •  
    Simplify Security by Outsourcing
  • 9.
    • Rapid Response. Although time consuming and expensive for in-house staff, service providers invest heavily in experts to manage resources around-the-clock. A reputable outsourcing firm will provide, in less than a minute, the expertise and tools necessary to assess the severity of an attack, plan a response and execute a defense.
    • Experience. A good outsourcing company can provide you with analysts who have managed thousands of networks and dealt with a massive number of threats. This experience helps your business eliminate increasingly sophisticated threats, leverage new technologies such as cloud computing, meet regulatory compliance requirements and find the right balance between security and usability.
    • Predictable Monthly Expense. Generally, a managed service provider can design, implement and maintain your network security solution for a flat monthly fee. Many companies find outsourcing a prudent investment. It provides IT talent at a lower cost than could be achieved in-house and greatly reduces the risk from online security threats.
    Simplify Security by Outsourcing
  • 10.
    • A secure network provides more than online security protection. The more you secure your IT resources, the stronger they become.
    • Robust networks can support new technologies and provide productivity and cost benefits. You not only reduce risks from online security threats, you provide the foundation for a more competitive business.
    • Outsourcing provides security solutions and expertise to address the constant threats to your business. And it lifts a huge load off your shoulders.
    Simplify Security by Outsourcing
  • 11. Michael Duckett, President of CoreLink Data Centers, has authored “Top 5 Things Every Business Should Know About Online Security” - a free white paper about online security solutions. Visit http://www.corelink.com/data-center-network-security.htm to download your copy today.   About the Author