Regardless of their size, many small businesses still need to meet strict compliance regulations, such as PCI and HIPAA. In addition to any special requirements, there are a few security technologies every small business should have in place.
Here are our four security must-haves.
Firewall – It sounds passé, but firewalls are still the de facto solution for minimum security. Small businesses are no exception. We frequently see vendors attempting to coax small business owners into boxes bigger than they need, with full redundancy and licensing. As expected, most small business owners will balk at the price tags that hang off these shiny new boxes. The truth is, for bandwidths typical in smaller organizations, a small ASIC-based firewall even with gateway services (e.g. anti-virus, anti-spyware, IDS or IPS) can be found for an affordable price. Even if it’s not tweaked to perfection, having some firewall solution is better than none. And no organization should rely on their Internet provider for this security.
Client anti-virus – Whether your small office is three people or a hundred, client AV is a must-have. Depending on the number of users, an organization may opt for boxed consumer licenses and manual management, or a centrally-managed AV solution. All mainstream AV vendors will have both options available, but the licenses may not be upgradeable or transferable. Take the time to do a little research and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the affordable licensing structure of centrally managed AV. The right Security-as-a-Service solution can perform reliably and effectively and deliver the flexibility and control associated with on-premise solutions — at a significantly lower cost — without compromising privacy and security. Whether as the sole deployment platform or part of a hybrid on-premise/ SaaS solution, SaaS helps provide a greater return on an organization’s security investment through coverage that scales to meet an organization’s needs and by reducing costs associated with maintaining on-premise solutions.
Password management tool – These are great little tools and I’ve found they’re an easy and inexpensive solution for small offices that aren’t using single sign-on or authenticating to a directory (such as Active Directory) for management. These tools allow a team or entire company to post, update, and share key passwords used in the organization. They can contain login info for bank accounts, the server admin account, email management or CLI logon for switches. They reduce the use of default passwords and re-use of shared passwords while making it easier to incorporate complexity into all credentials.
Backups – We can’t overemphasize the importance of a good backup and disaster recovery plan. You don’t have to have a fully-executed DR methodology, but if your small business currently has no backups, start here as your next step in securing your business. You never know when there will be a fire, a flood, or a disgruntled employee who decides to wreak havoc before leaving. Even if you’re not taking backups of all the computers, identify your key data – such as accounting records, customer data, and anything critical to operating your business such as emails, website content, intellectual property and marketing materials or graphics – and back it up. Look for software-based backups that can take regular snapshots of servers or storage, or consider a hosted online backup solution. If you can, find a remote site or hosted solution in case your location backup experiences a disaster or even theft.
Using these four tips you will certainly improve the security of your business for now and for the future.
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