NETWORK SECURITY TOOLS | 5 MIN READ
Another day, another worldwide company with another major data breach. The latest company to get hit was Marriott International, which, at the time this article was written, reported almost 500 MILLION people could be affected by their latest data breach which occurred back in September of 2018. 500 Million is roughly 1/15 of the world’s population! We're talking about passport information, names, and credit card information that could be affected by this breach.
Their internal resources and network tools made Marriott's IT department aware of the breach in September of 2018. It took more than 2 months to decrypt the information that was targeted, just to find out exactly what was hacked.
I can’t even imagine having to calculate what that will cost Marriott in terms of reputation, fines, or settlements. Luckily, your network won't be as vulnerable if you successfully employ our short list of network security tools and services for 2019.
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Perhaps your company isn’t the size of Marriott, Facebook, Under Amour, Panera, or any of the companies you’ve seen make headlines for being hacked in 2018, but your business could be next.
Industry statistics estimate that nearly 60% of small businesses have been hacked. That means 6 out of your 10 neighboring businesses have already gone through this or will have to in the near future.
Most small businesses don’t have an internal IT staff. Many use a third-party IT company, or just pay as needed for IT services through a break fix provider. It becomes a hassle to know if you are truly protected or not, because as a small business owner, you are an expert at what you do, not information technology.
What tools can you use to ensure your business, your employee and customer data, and your reputation is protected?
Network Security Tools: 5 Essentials
Often over-looked, one of the primary defenses in a network's security is some type of email filtering and spam control especially since email is one of the top ways people communicate.
“Email is the number one application used to communicate, it also is the number one vector for cyberattacks. Organizations and employees are targets for increasingly sophisticated attacks designed to steal money, credentials, customer data and other valuable intellectual property. A solution such as Mimecast’sTM Targeted Threat Protection defends organizations from spear-phishing , ransomware, impersonation and other targeted attacks.”
Protecting each user’s devices in your network is another multi-layer approach to securing your company's data. Companies such as Sophos offer Endpoint Protection which...
“makes it simple to secure your WindowsTM, MacTM and LinuxTM systems against malware and other endpoint threats. Sophos endpoint protection integrates proven technology like malicious traffic detection with real-time threat intelligence from SophosLabs to help you prevent, detect and remediate threats with ease. Web, application, and peripheral access policies can follow your users anywhere they go. And, your firewall and endpoints can share a security heartbeat” ~ Sophos.com
Having a Next-Gen firewall that works seamlessly with your WAP’s, endpoint protection, and other various security subscription must-haves such as anti-virus, anti-spam, and anti-malware is the key to simplified management of potential threats.
“SophosTM offers next-generation firewall (NGFW) features which let you protect your network with an enterprise-class firewall while securing your web traffic. It protects you against modern threats like drive-by downloads and botnets, and securely connects people and offices using our flexible VPN options. And you’ll get detailed reports to help you understand what’s going on and how to improve your network performance and protection.” ~Sophos.com
By having the firewall, WAPs, endpoint point protection, and security subscriptions all under one management tool like SophosTM has to offer, will make for easier deployment, management, and threat identification across the board. SophosTM is one of the best in the industry at this.
At the end of the day, if there is a will, the hacker will find a way to breach your data if you haven't taken necessary steps to make his task more difficult. In the event that your company is hacked, or hit with a ransomware attack, you want to ensure that you don’t lose productivity in your office.
Having a backup and disaster recovery solution is step 1, but having one that allows for business continuity in the worst case scenario is the next level.
Companies like DattoTM offer on-premise local backup, takes automated snap shots of your on-premise server(s), and at the end of the day, sends those snap shots to a server in a primary data center, then replicated to a backup server in another data center.
This allows your information to be securely stored in a minimum of three locations.
In the event of a disaster at your office, or your network, all you need is internet access and an hour to move your servers virtually to the cloud. Business will resume as normal until your IT can address the issues of the on-premise servers, which can take anywhere from 8 hours or longer.
This can severely impact your business if you are “down” for that period without a business continuity solution in place.
Many small businesses don't have the resources to afford the tools to do their own audit annually, so reaching out to a third-party managed IT services company may be your best option.
If your company does possess the resources to complete an internal audit, the US government still recommends a network audit completed by a third-party (whether in house or by a company that specializes in network audits).
There are many managed IT service providers who can offer a network security audit/assessment for a fee, but there are some that are willing to complete one without charge.
I would recommend working with a third party IT company that will come back and present you their findings from the assessment, specifically detailing where sensitive data may be on your network, and recommend to you how to secure those potential issues, and protect your data in future years.
You don’t want your business’ name in the media for the wrong reasons, especially because you used the excuse of affordability. The saying "any publicity is good publicity" is not applicable, here.
It may not be reasonable for you to receive full managed services on your budget, but some level of protection isn't just smart - - it's essential.
Many of you reading this are already aware of the attacks that are going on but you may not think it could happen to you. Don't kid yourself. It's not a matter of if anymore, it’s a matter of when.
Don't believe me? Check out this report from the FBI. Nearly 4,000 breaches every single day and the majority of them are small businesses.
By applying these network security tools, devices, and services, your data will be much more secure and your business will be less likely to be the next one featured on the news.
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Posted by Jim Williams
Jim Williams is a Senior IT Consultant at Standard Office Systems of Atlanta and has been helping businesses with their network security needs for nearly three years.