Sometimes I imagine that the fight waged against hackers and malware in cyberspace is like a good science fiction space battle: starfighters locked in a dogfight, firing vibrant blasts of metal-rending plasma back and forth. Pilot characters, like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, always hope to dodge the web of laser fire, but know that sooner or later a shot of plasma is likely to hit them. Lasers that find their mark either get shrugged off by the starfighter’s shields or cause the doomed pilot to erupt into a brilliant shower of sparks and space dust, like Darth Vader’s wingmen.
Like the starfighter pilots in a chaotic science fiction battle, companies are frequently under attack by malware, as well as hacker attempts to steal sensitive corporate financial data, company secrets, and other critical information. Data breaches can take only minutes—even seconds—to occur, but the financial and reputational damages that victim organizations suffer as a result can be quite long-lasting. Companies that are not large enough to invite an attempted hack must still stave off innumerable virus intrusions whenever an employee accesses the Internet.
However, it became known in a recent AT&T poll that two-thirds of all US small businesses lack any kind of emergency or disaster preparedness plan to defend against potential threats that could severely hamper productivity and detriment the company’s reputation. Additionally, only 31 percent of small businesses surveyed send their company data to a remote location, leaving those businesses defenseless should their data become compromised.
The fact that so few small businesses have the proper security and emergency backups is truly perplexing, considering that 71 percent of small businesses in the poll felt it important to recover computer data in the event of a disaster (system failure, hacker sabotage, virus infection, etc.). Few things are as crucial to the well-being of a small business as ensuring that it remains productive at all times and does not screech to a sudden halt because of preventable setbacks. That is why keeping the company systems protected and running reliably is not optional—it’s imperative to any successful business. No one wants to sit out of the competitive scramble for hours, days, even weeks because of the tampering of some hotshot hacker stealing company information or a malevolent malware immobilizing the computer system; even moreso, few companies can afford such interruptions.
Most SMBs shield themselves with native security features and/or perimeter security (basic firewalls, network security, and the like). However, these solutions are far from adequate to handle the increased growth in volume and complexity of attack aimed at businesses today; they also fail to stop any inside threats, such as unauthorized or malicious activity on the part of privileged users, as perimeter security features focus on external attacks.
Small businesses guard themselves best when they have real-time threat prevention against external and internal attacks. Combining hardware that forms a perimeter firewall and also identifies and blocks unauthorized or malicious actions (such as the WatchGuard XTM Security Appliance Series) and with software that guards against downloading malware and keeps users from accessing dangerous websites (like Symantec’s Endpoint Protection) provides the best protection to keep company data secure.
If you hope to pilot your company into a successful future, stay on target, and keep your shields up.
For more information on the WatchGuard XTM series, Symantec’s Endpoint Protection software, or other small business security solutions, visit www.guruconsult.com, or contact us directly at email@example.com.
You can also learn more about WatchGuard’s award-winning XTM series by reading our blog.