Have you ever set the alarm off in your car accidentally? How about your home alarm system? If you have, you are aware that these security systems exist, and furthermore work.
You probably see the value in these systems as you have heard of cars being stolen and houses broken into, perhaps it has even happened to you. Now consider the following question:
Is a well-funded, highly organized group of international criminals watching your car or your home for an opportunity to perpetrate a theft?
I will assume that your answer to the above is “probably not” or “geez, I hope not”. I am sure we can all agree that it would be a frightening world if groups of criminals hovered around our cars or homes looking for a weakness that they could exploit for their gain.
The problem is that when it comes to your business computer systems, there is a large well organized group of international criminals hovering around. In fact if they don’t already have access to your computers, they may be as close as a mouse click away.
Cybercrime is a 3 billion dollar a year industry in North America and it is growing every year. Converting a stolen car or items from your home into cash is difficult and fraught with risk. Converting personal or financial information stolen or phished from your office computer systems or employees is easy by comparison, a task made easier by the fact that most businesses are not even as well protected as their owner’s cars.
The 5 Most Common Signs of Flawed Small Business IT Security
So what are the security flaws most often observed during our network audits? Here are five to consider:
No Unified Threat Management Firewall
The device provided by Rogers or Bell to share your business Internet connection, or that $49 router you purchased at Stapes provides little to no protection for your business. Only a true Unified Threat Management firewall can protect you from the malware and phishing attempts that your staff are exposed to.
Weak Anti-Virus Protection
The free antivirus software installed on your computers, besides not being licensed for use in a business, is a scaled-down shadow of the full software they sell for business use. Your office door likely doesn’t have the same kind of lock as you house, it is business-grade for a reason. While antivirus software is only a small part of a layered security approach, it is an important one.
POP email and clear-text passwords. Out of date email systems transmit passwords in such a way that anyone with the will and a small amount of knowledge can capture it. What other systems might you or your staff use the same password access.
Mobile Device Security Vulnerabilities
Lack of security on mobile devices and laptops puts your information at risk. Something as simple as a lock screen on your phone or tablet can prevent a privacy breach should you forget it in a cab, bus or at that restaurant you just had lunch at. Without it all your email and documents are exposed.
Open Wireless Networks
Improperly secured wireless networks are a problem. Even if you have taken the step of enabling wireless security with appropriate passwords, how many clients, family, friends or worse, disgruntled past employees might this password be shared with?
Criminals by nature will take the path of least resistance. Large businesses have invested heavily to protect themselves, so small businesses, ones like yours have become the target. The good news is that it does not take a Fortune 500 budget to properly eliminate the flaws in your security, it simply needs some time and effort to apply some best-practice solutions.