What is it that businesses need to protect themselves from, and what measures are out there that can accomplish this feat? Business owners are busy running their business and managing their people, not keeping abreast of the latest security threats and who is trying to take advantage of their network. Some of the most common security threats are still the tried-and-true favourites of hackers.
It’s important to take note that not all hackers are professionals. These days, anyone can be a hacker within a few hours, thanks to online tools (on the dark web) allowing ransomware, virus and malware “startups” to appear every day. So what is the best measure that your organization can take to keep itself safe? At ActiveCo, we believe in layered security as a best practice. We’ll get into that in a moment.
Common Security Threats
This list is by no means comprehensive. New threats are developed every day, and security companies have their work cut out for them. As fast as they find a solution to one problem, several more take it’s place! Hail Hydra!
- Viruses: Viruses are little bits of code created to infect and spread (through your PC, or your organization!). They can range in severity from annoying to terribly dangerous.
- Malware: Similarly, malware–“malicious software”–is traditionally the delivery package for viruses in it’s many forms. Malware can be found on websites or in browser extensions, making using the internet the same as navigating a minefield.
- Spam: Spam can be anything unwanted in your email inbox, but the threatening kinds generally have files or suspicious links attached to them, or embedded in them. More targeted spam messages called “phishing attacks” can be used to target specific users or organizations.
- Ransomware: Ransomware encrypts your organization’s files and locks them down until you pay a “ransom” to the hacker. Ransomware can spread in various ways, but spam (see above!) is one of the favoured tools for distribution.
- Trojan/Backdoor: Trojan malware is the kind that sneaks into your infrastructure, hides for a time, then creates a backdoor to your network. This provides an avenue for attack in the future at the hacker’s convenience. These can be difficult to identify because they tend to remain hidden until they are uprooted by an antivirus scan or security professional.
We promised above to cover layered security. Proper network security depends on a multifaceted approach that takes into account user best practices and technology solutions.
- Unified Threat Management: Picture a beam of light trying to shine straight through a block of swiss cheese. It might get half an inch into one hole before hitting a wall of more cheese, but it can’t bend up and around to get up another hole and past the next wall of cheese again.
Each layer of protection on your network acts as a wall of cheese to a beam of light. A firewall will protect your network from incoming threats, antivirus software removes threats from your infrastructure, spam protection (filtering) keeps dangerous messages from making it to your inbox in the first place, and content filtering keeps your employees from time-wasting or malicious websites.
- Virtual Private Network: A VPN is practically required in today’s business world, as more employees are taking their business “on the go” than ever before. The issue with this is that data can be seen by outside viewers if the connection isn’t private–which is often the case out in the wild. A virtual private network can encrypt data while it’s in transit, making doing business on the go less risky and more secure.
- Password Management: Part of security best practices is making sure that your organization is using secure passwords. There are password management tools to help consolidate multiple passwords but the most important aspect with passwords is your team of users understanding how critical using correct, strong, and difficult to guess passwords are. The name of your dog and your age, for example, is not good because a professional hacker takes the time to review all your online content and develop a snapshot of your life. From there, it’s time to guess and hack into your network!
ActiveCo can offer all of the above services and more, all to help your business keep security top of mind. To learn more, reach out to us at 604.931.3633.