Network Security: Botnets, Trojans and Worms…OH MY!

Are you working on a Zombie computer? If you are, you might not know it. Today, so many variants of malicious software (malware) are present on the Web, one can hardly keep up.

Trojans, viruses, spyware, hijackers, rootkits, backdoors, worms, crimeware…..have you had enough yet? I wouldn’t be surprised if a new variant of each of these was just created in the amount of time that it took to read this. Many of them are extremely difficult to detect once they infect a computer.virus-removal5

Most of us are familiar with what can happen to a personal computer once a virus infects it. However, we often don’t stop and think about the far-reaching implications that malware can have on your business and its ability to make money, or more importantly, the subsequent cost associated with removing it.

Businesses rely heavily on the speed and efficiency of the Internet, whether as a core function of their delivery model or to accomplish daily processes. Businesses can no longer turn a blind eye to the advancements that have come as a result of the Internet, which is becoming bigger, faster and stronger.

Typically, a business will dive right into the use of the Internet to drive processes, but often doesn’t fully consider the risks associated with leveraging it within the workplace. As you open your business to the vast World Wide Web, you increase your risk and responsibility.

How are you handling these ever-present threats against your network security?

Web-based threats and email viruses are evolving as quickly as the counter-intuitive measures used to prevent them. Most are surprised to find out that 36% of all Internet-related intrusions exist in the form of Web advertisements, news & media and search engines/portals. It’s no longer just email, adult and gambling sites that serve as hosts to these forms of malware.

What ultimately comes of this is a dynamic form of risk that serves as a moving target for your business. The amount of time and consideration required to properly safeguard an organization from such risk must be every bit as dynamic.

Traditional means of email and Web security typically involve an investment in a piece of hardware and the employment of a vendor or staff member to manage the hardware. Yet, a business could still experience email spam, virus disruptions or the loss of pertinant email mistaken as a possible threat.

Today’s level of prevention has evolved beyond this approach. Service providers can manage the process of detecting, preventing and securing a business from email and Web threats. In fact, managed services offer a more robust level of prevention, attacking disruptions outside the network perimeter without the need for hardware or software installation. This level of service is more complex than any one organization would be willing or able to invest in.

Web and email security as a service deploys several layers of prevention above and beyond the standards associated with industry best practices (see figure below). Threats are neutralized at the network perimeter before they can pass through the enterprise firewall and compromise users. Traditional hardware security measures operate within the firewall and are unable to provide the same protection.

In addition to the enhanced level of security, managed security services allow you to:
• Reduce overall costs associated hardware maintenance and personnel time
• Eliminate hardware or software integration
• Eliminate out-of-pocket maintenance fees
• Reduce liability
• Increase productivity
• Realize more efficient bandwidth utilization and lower storage costs
• Reduce data management responsibilities
• Protect your business at the perimeter level

All things considered, the Internet has emerged as an essential part of how business gets done. Along with the good comes the bad. The presence of malware continues to plague the efforts of many. Recognizing that, organizations should regularly review what measures are being used to prevent such disruptions in their business and compare those measures to the pace at which the threats are continuously evolving. The threats that exist are very real and the damage that they cause is substantial.

What experiences have you had with email or web-based threats that affected your business?

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