By TerryAnn Fitzgerald, SMB Solutions Marketing Manager, HP Networking
SMBs may be considered “low-hanging fruit” for malicious hackers, but with the right holistic security approach, your network can be fully fortified regardless of who threatens to pick.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but my personal email was hijacked last week and spam was sent to everyone on my contact list. Because I read and write about security on a regular basis, I am extremely careful not to open emails or click on links from people, groups or organizations that I don’t recognize. But it happened anyway, just going to prove how insidious security attacks can be. And yet I still consider myself one of the lucky ones since I didn’t lose any data or deal with the after effects of a malicious virus or bot. I only had to deal with a few emails from my friends and family.
Many SMBs are not as lucky. In 2010, computer fraud cost SMBs upwards of $2.61 billion according to a survey by Javelin Strategy & Research. Believe it or not, that’s just a fraction of the total $8 billion worth of damage that is absorbed by insurance firms, financial institutions and others.
Why smaller businesses can be more vulnerable to security attacks
Increasingly it’s the smaller guys that are falling victim to these security attacks that cost them more than just sensitive data, but also revenue, productivity and even reputation. Unlike enterprise businesses with big budgets and dedicated IT departments, SMBs must typically cover their own bases—and losses—with fewer resources and personnel.
In a recent article by DarkReading, the security website questioned whether SMBs have become the “sweet spot” for nefarious hackers. It’s both a compelling and realistic observation; small and midmarket businesses possess more valuable data than consumers, yet have fewer defenses in place than large enterprises, making them an obvious target. It’s clear that SMBs need to change their network security game plans. Network protection needs to be more than just a security device aimed at one part of the network; SMBs should take a comprehensive approach to network security.
Why holistic security?
Security applications have traditionally been disparate, with tools for every aspect of the business, from email to Web access to network access. The result was plenty of data—too much even—but less visibility to security threats as a whole. Without the tools or manpower to filter through the data, suspicious activity can slip through the cracks.
Comprehensive security takes a systematic approach by understanding your business challenges as well as security challenges. While business challenges can be varied—like dealing with reduced staff, BYOD (bring your own device) initiatives or the danger of increased social media presence—security challenges are ubiquitous. To fend off attacks and prevent costly data breaches, here are three ways to streamline your security approach.
1. Intrusion prevention—Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), which monitor your network for suspicious or malicious activity, are a must-have for businesses big and small. Appliances from HP TippingPoint provide enterprise-level intrusion prevention by providing in-line protection and automated security updates for seamless coverage.
2. Security and compliance management—All SMBs, regardless of size or scope, must comply with industry-specific governmental regulations. Thus, it’s imperative that your business employ a complete management system that identifies and then assesses the risks and costs of non-compliance. With HP ArcSight, you can reduce risk, decrease the cost of compliance and increase network overall security.
3. Software security—You depend on your business-critical software applications, but often they’re not as secure as you need them to be. Some of these apps can be compromised with unseen security flaws. HP Fortify protects SMBs from these threats by addressing unknown and unmanaged security risks across all applications and preventing insecure code from being introduced to the organization.
Combined, these three solutions form a comprehensive approach to network security. Learn more about HP’s comprehensive network security solutions for SMBs.
How does your small or midmarket business plan to address pressing security challenges?