Why Business Network Security Measures Are Crucial For Small Businesses

Why business network security measures are crucial for small businesses? The internet has enabled us to connect with each other on a level previously unimagined.

Why Business Network Security Measures Are Crucial For Small Businesses

It has been so disruptive that it has changed the way that we communicate and it has influenced the very lives we live. The near entirety of humanity’s collective knowledge is now accessible to almost everyone, anytime, anywhere.

But it’s value is not merely limited to the knowledge that we are able to acquire with our fingertips, but also in how businesses are able to reach prospective buyers from all over the world. However, with a new set of advantages come a new set of challenges, the most dangerous one being that of security vulnerabilities.

If you think your small business is not a target worth attacking, you might want to think again. All it takes is for a hacker to successfully exploit a vulnerability in your network and this would pave the way for the invasion of dangerous computer viruses, adware, spyware, and denial-of-service attacks. Businesses, especially ecommerce sites, store valuable information such as personal information and methods of payment, which makes them prime targets for hackers. So, how do you keep your business from falling victim to these attacks?

Invest In Network Monitoring Software

Your defense should be secured locally before you can consider taking things online. Monitoring your network does not only help you ensure that your servers are functioning properly by detecting any bandwidth hogs, it also helps you determine what is normal network behavior and what isn’t.

An anomaly is easy to detect once you’re able to set a baseline for how your network performs. This also allows you to detect any unknown devices that are on your network, which will be indicative of any attempts to infiltrate your network.

It’s also a widely-known fact that malware tends to slow your network speeds as well as disable devices and nodes in your network. Again, something as simple as monitoring your network bandwidth (Comparitech has a list of the best tools) is going to help you determine what circumstances are normal and which ones are suspicious, and when you’ve been able to establish a pattern, you might even be able to predict when an attack is imminent.

Update Your Systems

Keeping your systems up-to-date keeps your security patches up-to-date. You may have noticed that whenever there’s news of a widespread exploit, there will almost always be an update that follows soon after the attacks. Cybersecurity is an arms race between black hat hackers and white hat hackers. System updates are free and they help bolster your system to resist any recent exploits that were discovered.

Limit Device Access To Your Network

If you’re maintaining an IT infrastructure, you have to take note of physical security measures. Access to your physical servers should be strictly guarded, and portable storage devices should be heavily regulated around your systems. Remember that attacks could come from anywhere, even from within your business. It’s also for this reason that most businesses invest in network monitoring tools because they provide network administrators with an idea of what is normal activity and what isn’t.

Invest In Security Software (But Beware Of False Positives)

These come in the form of firewalls and antivirus software. If you aren’t using any security software, you’re leaving yourself open to attack. This software isn’t just able to prevent external threats from infecting your system, but it also ensures that threats that are already in your system do not spread and cause more damage to your system by quarantining them.

However, it’s also important to only download security software from official sources. This is because rogue security software is fairly common. They are commonly found as notifications on questionable websites that alert users to a vulnerability even when in truth, their systems are completely healthy.

This causes the user to download security software from an unknown source which then installs the viruses. Some of these will even charge users prior to downloading their software before installing malware.

This is also where employee training comes into play, where each member of your production team needs to be made aware of these threats and to avoid committing these mistakes.

The internet has granted us an effective means of communication but it has also exposed us to new threats. Given the fact that we rely heavily on the internet, it’s important to secure our networks to prevent unscrupulous people from stealing confidential information from our systems. The size of your business doesn’t matter. As long as confidential customer information is transmitted through your website, that alone is enough to paint a target on your business for hackers to attempt to steal this information.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • Identitytheft.gov: If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at www.identitytheft.gov. This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Why Business Network Security Measures Are Crucial For Small Businesses