Data Loss Could Be the End of Your Business

Security in small and mid-size businesses is more than just preventing viruses and blocking spam. Protecting your assets is the key to the long-term success of your business and the foundation of a strong IT infrastructure. What are the basic building blocks of a secure infrastructure?
In 2009, cyber crime is expected to increase as criminals attempt to exploit weaknesses in systems and in the people that use them. An overwhelming volume of malware can hit organizations. Viruses may spread through e-mail, Web sites, USB sticks, social and business networking sites, etc.

If an organization does not have a solid security policy and plan in place, the safety of the desktops, servers and all network devices (and all your data on them) will be at the mercy of the end user. Relying on the end user is not advisable or worth the risk.

The Small Business Administration estimates that 90 percent of companies that fail to recover data after a major loss are out of business within two years. Also, 54% of all business will find themselves the victim of data loss or cyber crime over the next three years.

The basic building blocks for a secure IT environment

• Model the threats to your business and have a third party perform a security risk assessment
• Develop an information security policy and educate your users
• Design a secure network, implement packet filtering in the router, implement a firewall and use a DMZ network for servers requiring Internet access
• Know your network. Harden your systems by removing unnecessary applications and maintain an aggressive program of patching operating systems and applications
Offsite data backups with restoration plan
• Keep your systems patched
• Minimize exposure

In the SMB space, where you do not have the benefit of a dedicated team or individual whose sole responsibility is to keep your environment locked down, another option is managed IT services. For small business, this is a low cost, high reward solution. Services are provided on a monthly subscription, a recurring operational expense and include things like security.

As a business you must maintain best practices when it comes to securing your data and your infrastructure, the longevity of your business could depend on it.

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