As the focus of IT moves towards the cloud, hackers are turning their attention to larger targets with a higher payoff. While it may not seem worth it for most hackers to attack small to medium businesses, more and more small businesses are being compromised. How is that possible? Scripts and tools are making it easier to launch basic attacks against a network. Entry level hackers can now cast a wide net when checking for vulnerabilities, which doesn’t take much effort on their part. It’s similar to an intruder walking through an apartment building or hotel. These basic attacks are basically jiggling the door knob to the rooms to see if any of them are unlocked.
Maybe your firewall hasn’t been updated to harden it against that new exploit that just came out. If the firewall is the front door to your business, having an unencrypted wireless network is like leaving a window open. If your wireless network isn’t secured, anyone that connects to it can access your entire network, and all the intellectual property that resides there. Back to our intruder analogy, if he jiggles the door knob to your business and sees that it’s locked, chances are he’ll move on down the road to the next business that has an unlocked door.
What does this mean to your business? You have to do the basics REALLY well. Realize that, by definition, security means inconvenience. Resetting your password every 30 days may seem like a nuisance, but it’s important in the grand scheme of security. Keeping your machines patched with the latest patches and updating the virus definitions on your computers seems mundane, but these are the keys to protecting your small business.
Make sure you’re balancing risks versus cost. Your business probably doesn’t need a retinal scanner biometric device to get into the server room, but a managed firewall offering that keeps your firewall up to date for you might make a lot of sense. If your IT provider doesn’t work with management to develop and enforce policies, or have these risks versus cost conversations with you, you should find one that does.