With new threats appearing daily network security is becoming increasingly important and complex, yet many small business owners aren’t taking the trend seriously. As a result, small businesses are especially vulnerable to security threats. In fact, the National Cyber Security Alliance discovered that each year 20 percent of small businesses experience a cyber attack. Sadly, 60 percent of those businesses close down within six months after the attack.
If you’re a small business owner, it’s imperative that you know the basics of network security, become aware of common network security threats, and learn about the many benefits network security offers your business. We invite you to read on and find out.
What Is Network Security?
Network security refers to any action that is taken to protect the integrity of your company’s network and its data. Using hardware and software, network security solutions discover and stop a variety of cyber threats before they enter or spread throughout your network.
A network security solution offers multiple layers of security, and consists of several components that work in tandem to protect your network. Examples include firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, intrusion prevention systems and virtual private networks that allow users to securely access the network from a remote location.
What are Common Network Security Threats?
Network Security helps defend your small business against a variety of network security threats. Some of the most common threats include viruses, spyware, and malware. Viruses, spyware, and malware can install themselves through email and via website visits. They can scan your network for sensitive information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and passwords.
Professional hackers pose another threat. Hackers are constantly finding innovative ways to break into networks. Once they do, all the data stored on your network, including critical company and customer data is available to them. Zero-day attacks (an attack where a weakness in software is exploited by a hacker) present a majority security risk for small businesses. Zero-day threats include malware, spyware, and unlawful access to user information. While you wait for the software developer to send out a “patch” to fix the software, your valuable data is at the mercy of cyber criminals.
What are the Benefits of Network Security for Small Business?
Small businesses benefit from network security in a number of important ways, including the fact that they keep your network safely up and running, fueling employee productivity. Additionally, an effective network security solution:
- Helps your small business comply with government and industry specific regulations
- Allows employees to work security from any location, whether they’re in the office, at home or travelling
- Scales quickly and easily according to the ever changing needs of your small business
- Encourages co-worker collaboration and facilitates communication with clients and suppliers by offering them secure network access
- Boosts client and consumer confidence that their sensitive information is protected
- Reduces the fallout from security breaches, including legal action that can bankrupt your business
- Shortens the recovery time should a security breach occur
- Provides you the flexibility to tap the expertise of virtual employees without sacrificing security
One network security breach can derail your small business for weeks or months, destroy your business’ reputation and even result in legal action or bankruptcy. Consider these somber figures: According to the 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study, malicious attacks account for nearly 40 percent of all data breaches, and the average cost of a data breach is more than $130 per record. And this cost doesn’t include the additional marketing expense your small business will undoubtedly bear in an effort to rebuilt your brand and customer base.
Simply put, the time to explore your network security options is before an attack occurs. The good news is, network security is more affordable than you might think and several providers offer plans designed to meet the unique needs of small businesses.