Small Business – Big LossesPosted Mar 9, 2012 @ 9:12 pm, Viewed by 1115 Visitors, Read 1130 Times.
Small Business – Big Losses
The SMB (Small Medium Business) is on the same Internet as everyone else, and they come face to face with the same cybercriminals that Fortune 500 companies fight on a constant basis. Even big companies suffer security breaches, and losing sensitive data and have corporate accounts cleaned out by sophisticated banking Trojans. SMBs are typically on the hook for these losses and lack effective means to prevent them. Even high security organizations like Stratfor, the FBI and Treasury Board Canada are not immune.
What should the SMB owner do to reduce the risk?
Change .. your Attitude
The SMB is the target! The five top excuses for not improving security posture of the SMB are:
Read the story in the Wall Street Journal by Krebs about the guy running the magazine store, you can’t get much smaller than that. The criminals weren’t after the business itself, they wanted access to the customers! The breach cost the SMB $20,000 plus the loss of customers.
You have lots of resources worth going after. Cybercriminals may want access to your bank account or something simpler. They may want to use your computers as a bot on their botnet. They may want a place to store their pornography, or stolen documents and files because they certainly don’t want to store them on their own machines. They may want your customer lists, prices, contracts or contact info about one of your customers because that may be their final target.
In many cases, the SMB has no idea if they have been compromised. Symantec reports that 80% of the companies that were breached were told by outside sources, either by customers, their partners or the police. Most rootkits go undetected, most bots go undetected. When is the last time the SMB had all the log files on the router examined for a anomalies? Probably never! Sadly, most SMB’s may never know if they have been breached.
In many cases, the increase in staff productivity and reduction of IT workload means the return-on-investment (ROI) is immediate. Add to that, the reduction in spam, improving the safety of staff from phishing and identity theft and this can actually add to your profitability. If it saves one breach, it pays for itself probably ten times over!.
Most SMB owners by nature have to do many of the tasks themselves and that is often what makes them successful. They also know that at times, it is better to rely on specialists, like lawyers, accountants, dentists and cardiac specialists; security should be added to that list. Can you identify a rootkit? Would you know if you were part of a botnet? The SMB does not have the resources, the extensive knowledge or expertise: let the specialist do what they do.
Best Practices to Secure Your SMB
Clearly, the cybercriminals are skilled, aggressive, have more resources: they have the upper hand. In addition to antivirus software and up-to-date patches to reduce the chances of an attack, there are numerous steps you can take to help protect the business before cyber-criminals damage or even destroy your business.
Whether you’ve been victimized, or will eventually be victimized, you should consider these measures to safeguard your business:
· Change your attitude! The SMB is the target! Don’t be lulled into a false sense of safety, read the part about the most common excuses. Improve your security posture before something happens: No sense closing the barn door after the horse is gone!
· Don’t do your banking on the same computers you use for business or Web surfing. You can save the cost of a PC by putting two virtual machines on a single computer, one to do banking and one for everything else.
· Centralize your Anti-virus control. Management consoles will tell you who is up to date, who has had an attack and allows you to control the system from one central point: remove the user from the equation.
· Restrict banking access according to business needs. The more people who have log-in credentials, the higher the risk.
· Limit the information on your company website. Don’t include names, email addresses, phone numbers or other specifics about key personnel. Don’t include personal information attackers can use for social engineering.
· Educate your employees continuously. Most managed security service providers (MSSP) have information, presentations and whitepapers to help the SMB.
· Establish company policies for security, computer usage and company networks.
· Restrict employees’ online activities, using advanced Web filtering. Prevent employees from using P2P applications and certain types of websites. Most SMBs adopt an open approach, because they don’t realize the risks or have the technical expertise. Monitor for aberrant activity or pay a security service provider to do it for you.
· Utilize the concept of ‘Defence in Depth’ by adding integrated security modules. If the cyber-criminal bypasses your anti-virus on the desktop, an Intrusion Prevention system will probably stop them.
If you would like more information, read some free whitepapers on our website: http://www.its-secure.ca/white_papers
Chief Security Officer