June 12, 2013

Security Threats: No One is Immune


Hostway Team


Think that because you are an SMB you’re not at risk of an online attack? Think again. In Symantec’s 2013 Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 18, they found that 31% of all targeted attacks aimed for businesses with less than 250 employees. This infographic  from Hostway talks about where malware might be hiding – in your email or Facebook applications, in those free movie tickets you won and downloaded, and yes, even on legitimate websites like Amazon.

So what can you do to protect yourself from malware? First and foremost, use some common sense and do not click on links that look suspicious. If a friend emails you something that seems out of character, then it’s probably not a good idea to open the attachment without first verifying with your friend that it is legitimate.

Second, make sure you have the latest anti-malware and anti-virus software installed on your system. A small investment now can save you hundreds of dollars and countless headaches later. There are a number of good free anti-malware software programs available. But be careful: Some of those are malware themselves. If you aren’t sure, it may be safer to pay for a brand name solution. And make sure you schedule regular scans of your computer and files.

The implementation of anti-malware scanning software on one’s website can help you stay safe from these malicious attacks. Typically available through the cloud, it scans customer-facing sites for signs of malware and lets the website owner know if any is located. A relatively simple yet effective tool, it helps keep your site safe from malware and helps keep your customers safe as well.

Those are just a couple of things that you can do at a personal level, but what about at a network level? That is where things like firewalls and managed security come into play to protect you against more sophisticated cyber attacks. These sophisticated cyber attacks can be even more detrimental to your business.  According to a 2011 Ponemon Institute LLC Research Report, the average cost of a data break is $214/record1. Multiple that by the number of records your business houses and the amount an attack could cost your business might be astronomical. Not to mention the customer and reputation loss.

Firewalls are your first level of protection against unwanted intrusion. They help keep the bad guys out and the good guys in. With Hostway, you have the option of having either shared or dedicated managed firewalls. Our firewall solutions ensure the highest level of security by tracking and controlling the flow of data coming into your network using stateful packet inspection of the traffic stream. Hostway's network security experts will manage the solution for you, making sure your firewall is properly set to protect your business assets.

Another aspect of security is having an intrusion detection/prevention system (IDPS).  Even with firewalls and anti-malware software, your internal data is susceptible to attack should something slip through, so having an intrusion detection/prevention system in place at the network level is critical. IDPS detects anomalous, inappropriate, or unauthorized data attempting to enter your network. If it detects suspicious traffic, protective measures are automatically implemented.

Phishing scams, viruses, malware, hackers – it can be scary out there. However, with the proper safeguards in place and some common sense, you can avoid being victimized by data zombies!

1 2011 Cost of Data Breach Study United States, Ponemon Institute, March 2012

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