29. November 2007, 16:20 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

While network attacks are expected to rise in 2008, small businesses can protect themselves by implementing some practical steps.

  • Adopt a layered approach to security employing multiple systems, including firewalls, anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and general security “best practices”. While each component has its own weaknesses, their synergy reduces the likelihood of a successful attack by a considerable margin. It is also very important to have a adequate back-up and restore system and procedures to provide the ability to recover data and restore operations in case an attack does succeed.
  • Keep patch levels up to date as many times attacks are successful simply because companies fail to download the latest patches, and many that do still fail to install them in a timely fashion. The best way to manage this is usually to designate one person on the team to be responsible to rolling out patches within the organization.
  • While perhaps obvious, organizations should enforce an effective password policy as a large number of users forget to periodically change passwords, and often give them away or post them in the open.
  • Configure mail servers to filter e-mail as a large proportion of spyware and viruses can be avoided by setting mail servers to block unauthorized or unwanted file attachments, and to filter content for embedded code.
  • Consider network solutions for employees using mobile devices to access the network which can increase the risks by a considerable amount. As it can be difficult to efficiently manage mobile devices, set up strict policies about laptop and mobile device use and back it with appropriate security tools.
  • Perhaps the least expensive and often quite effective, it simply to train employees to be security conscious; such basics as not opening attachments unless they are expected or come from a trusted source, and not downloading software from the Internet unless it has been authorized and scanned to be virus free. This can be extended to training employees to recognize threats and teaching them the proper response

Security and network protection is not always expensive. When it comes to network attacks, small and medium sized businesses are a favourite target. This is due to the fact that they tend to have lots of confidential client information and often lack sufficently adequate means to protect this data. The costs associated with an attack can cost as much as half a small or medium businesses revenue in downtime, lost sales, labour and cleanup. The best way to prevent this happening is to be proactive to avoid falling prey to such an attack.

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Keywords: security,tips,SMB



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