Recent security breaches highlight increasing threats to large and small businesses alike. Proactive measures help businesses avoid becoming the “low-hanging fruit”
Once again, retail customers recoil as a huge data security breach at Home Depot was recently confirmed and additional hacks at Kmart, HP, Jimmy John’s and Snapchat were announced.
According to security experts, the Home Depot breach involves more stores over a longer period of time than the Target breach earlier this year. As many as 60 million customers’ credit and debit card information may have been stolen. The breach was discovered when large numbers of stolen cards entered the cybercrime credit card market. The stolen account numbers may be selling for as much as $100 apiece.
Increasing Attacks from Anywhere
Electronic payment systems spawn electronic data thieves. The Internet makes it possible for cyber criminals to operate anywhere in the world, hence the recent theft of 1.2 billion user names and passwords by Russian hackers. Threats have increased to the point where experts are saying that it’s no longer a question of “if” but “when” a business will be hit and how they will respond.
With Home Depot and Target dominating the headlines, small business owners may incorrectly think that hackers attack only giant corporations. Although the larger attacks make the news, security experts say that hackers like to pick the low hanging fruit. Small businesses make attractive targets because they spend less on data security technology.
“Hackers are opportunists looking for the easiest marks,” stated Jennifer Mazzanti, President, eMazzanti Technologies. “Home town businesses need effective data security as much as Home Depot and Target.”
According to the National Small Business Association, small business owners lack the requisite understanding and knowledge of data security technologies, in spite of well-publicized breaches. The association reported that 44% of respondents to a recent survey had fallen victim to one or more attacks, costing an average of $8,700 per breach.
How to Avoid and Repel Attacks by Hackers
Security experts suggest several steps business owners can take to prevent unauthorized access by hackers and to avoid being the low-hanging fruit. Any business can follow these simple and effective recommendations:
- Take the data security threat seriously
- Be proactive about security, don’t wait to be hit
- Get current security technology and keep it up to date
- Employ a coordinated approach
- Partner with a data security expert
Although small businesses are at risk along with larger enterprises, they may find it difficult to keep up with ever more sophisticated threats. They have neither the time nor the expertise to effectively manage security without assistance.
Partner with an Expert
The most effective strategy to combat hackers and other security threats is to partner with a security expert. Outsourcing security gives business owners more time to focus on growing the business, and may end up costing them less in the long run; almost certainly if an attack is prevented. Find a consultant with deep IT security experience and connections to the best security solutions providers.
Whether you do it yourself or consult with an expert, a basic understanding of the available security technology will help. Here are five technologies to discuss with a prospective data security consultant:
1. Software vs. Security Appliance – Software on each PC in the office can be difficult to operate, inconsistent in deployment and often lacks the central management tools needed to aggregate data. A security appliance which protects the entire network is essential to get insight into what is going on in the environment and is easier to manage and update.
2. Secure Wireless Connection – Look for a high standard of encryption and preferably a system that can monitor both wired and wireless connections within the same framework. Customer or guest wireless networks should be isolated from the core business network.
3. Next Generation Firewall – NGFWs have the intelligence to protect against more sophisticated methods of breaching a network. Look for one that’s easy to manage.
4. Advanced Threat Protection – ATP combines antivirus, intrusion protection and web filtering to guard against the multi-pronged attacks now being employed by hackers. The ability to simultaneously monitor multiple avenues of attack reduces the chances of hackers breaking into your network.
5. Data Loss Protection – A security breach may look like ordinary network traffic to basic firewalls and anti-virus software. DLP technology can detect and block the unauthorized transfer of sensitive data to unapproved locations via email or other methods.
Secure the Benefits
Effective network security will minimize the risks of data loss from security breaches, including the loss of customers, loss of reputation, and costs of litigation. Secondary benefits of network security include:
Improved customer experience from greater access to personal data and the confidence of shopping in a secure retail or B2B environment
Increased productivity from less down time and quick recovery from attacks
Improved collaboration between employees and with vendors, partners, and suppliers using secure remote network access
Expert Security from eMazzanti and WatchGuard
With increasing attacks by hackers and other IT security threats affecting businesses of all sizes, companies seeking to protect their reputations and ongoing business viability can work with IT security consultants at eMazzanti Technologies to develop an effective IT security strategy.
eMazzanti Technologies’ eCare IT Network Security and Service provides a proactive approach to security, keeping customers a step ahead of evolving security threats. With eCare, business customers get tailored, comprehensive protection for an affordable flat monthly fee.
WatchGuard Technologies, an eMazzanti partner, supplies a family of security appliances that provide all of the essential data security technologies, NGFW, ATP, DLP, and combined wired/ wireless security. Their award-winning solutions are reliable, easy to manage and affordable.
eMazzanti, a 5X WatchGuard Partner of the Year, has established a higher level of customer service for WatchGuard customers by solving many problems before the customer is aware, giving them more time to focus on growing the business. eMazzanti engineers are fully certified to diagnose and repair the full line of WatchGuard’s network security solutions.