There was a time when it took small businesses a great deal of convincing that they needed to take network security seriously. Today, thinking about security is critical for all Boston businesses, regardless of size. The data behind this speaks for itself—Small Business Trends reports that:
- 43 percent of all cyberattacks target small businesses.
- 60 percent of companies go out of business six months after a successful attack.
- 48 percent of data breaches occur as the result of malicious intent; the remainder is due to human error or system failure.
Cyberattacks show no sign of slowing down. With troves of financial data, intellectual property, and other types of sensitive information available, the bad guys continue to come up with new attacks that target Boston-based businesses of all sizes.
The Good and the Bad
One of the benefits of the extensive and continuing coverage of cyberattacks against small businesses is that business leaders are taking notice. Fewer small companies still feel that they are too small for attackers to worry about. As a result, business leaders are taking steps to better secure their networks and data, including creating network security plans.
Security vendors know that small businesses are in the market for security products, and this knowledge has the potential to negatively impact small businesses. Small business owners in Boston may walk into a sales demo for a security product without fully understanding exactly what they need or what type of skill set their IT team is required to have in order to properly manage and configure these solutions. They often walk away armed with solutions that are not right for their business needs or are difficult to manage on their own. Other times, the price scares them away and they take their chances with an inadequate defense.
Not Having a Network Security Plan Is Not an Option
Although small businesses do not need all the bells and whistles that a large-scale enterprise security solution requires, they cannot get by without having some protection in place. Leaving its network unprotected makes a small business low-hanging fruit for the attackers. Attackers can use tools to scan for unprotected websites and networks. When they find one, they pounce.
Without prevention and detection solutions, the small business is left unaware of a breach until it is notified. By then, it is too late. The business has already lost customer trust and could be subject to fines, litigation, and legal fees—all of which cost more than it would have to have the right solution in place from the beginning. The key is to craft a network security plan that can identify what type of network security tools you need to put in place to secure your data up front. Without help from a trusted professional, this is a difficult task.
The Benefits of a Solid Network Security Plan
To create and put the best possible network security plan in place, it helps to have a partner that has the knowledge and experience needed to help secure a business of your size. They know what solutions will work for you and they are there to help implement, configure, and manage the solutions required to provide you with an adequate defense.
Those that take this route see the benefits almost immediately, including:
The ability to prevent downtime in case of breach.
Downtime sends customers elsewhere to do business. If they cannot access your site to buy from or contact you, they will move on. However, downtime does not only affect your customers. Your employees suffer from downtime if business-critical applications or resources are inaccessible. This type of downtime means lost productivity, and that results in money lost.
The ability to restrict user permissions where needed.
Remember that 48 percent of data breaches are the result of malicious activity, which means that 52 percent of data breaches happen because of user error or failed systems. This vulnerability is reduced by the principle of least privilege. By granting only the access and permissions a person needs to do their job, you reduce the likelihood of mistakes leading to data leaks. An added benefit is that you don’t have to worry about employees accessing information they are not supposed to be looking at.
An understanding of which systems work best to defend against threats and identify gaps.
This is the key to a strong defense, especially for an organization without a large, specialized IT team. By understanding what is at risk and what specific solutions will help defend against these risks, you will be in a better place to keep attackers at bay.
Security is not easy. Attackers are continuously improving their techniques to bypass known solutions, and it takes someone in the know to help stay on top of the threat landscape. When you bring in a trusted partner to help your Boston-based business with your network security plan, you are adding a professional expert to your team. Their job is to help you secure your network so your Boston IT staff can focus on projects that will help drive your business forward.