For better or for worse, the Internet has penetrated into every aspect of our modern lives. While it enables us to enjoy more conveniences than ever before, online connectivity has also introduced various network security threats almost every business needs to address.
And if you’re a small business, pay attention, as studies show that 71% of online attacks affect businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Here are some of the most common online threats you should look out for.
Viruses and Malware
When you think of network security, malware is probably the first thing to come to mind. Malware infections are all too common in both business and home networks.
Spread through dodgy links and emails, malware usually takes the form of viruses and worms that can cause business servers to slow down, lose online connectivity, and even break your company’s file systems. Malware is especially problematic since it’s ubiquitous, sometimes undetectable by regular users, and is expensive to recover from.
The goal of most viruses is to gain control of company servers and steal data. A cracker might target confidential company files, intellectual properties, various corporate contracts, and client records. That last one puts your own customers at risk, reducing the trust your clients may have in your company.
And it happens more often than you think. Just last year, restaurant chain Jason’s Deli suffered a breach in its network security, resulting in thousands upon thousands of customer credit cards to be leaked.
For a surprising number of small businesses, only a thin line of defense keeps online hackers from company servers: employee passwords. Many employees out there unfamiliar with network security might choose easily guessable passwords like “1234” and “password.”
When training new workers, ensure that they:
- Choose more complex passwords featuring special characters and numbers
- Change their passwords every few months
- Use 2-factor authentication with a smartphone or other device
Threats Specifically Affecting IP Telephony and VoIP
Many businesses are beginning to adopt IP Telephony and VoIP technology (Voice over Internet Protocol), enabling them to communicate with more features at a cheaper price than traditional phone calls.
However, VoIP brings with it a few security risks as well:
- Since encryption is not common with VoIP, you are at risk of eavesdropping and credential interception by crackers.
- Phishing and viruses are still a threat through VoIP
- Denial of service attacks are a risk, where crackers overload your VoIP service with unnecessary messages causing slowdowns and halts in service
Tips on Bouncing Back
Sounds like a lot to consider? It is. Fortunately, there are ways you can mitigate the risks.
- Hire IT professionals to keep track of your network security
- Use anti-malware and anti-virus solutions and keep them up-to-date at all times
- Educate your staff on proper digital habits, such as never sharing passwords and avoiding dangerous links.
- Employ the services of a third party network manager. If your business is around the GTA area, Network IT is a strong option for deploying a secure, price efficient, and well-maintained network, as they have provided support before for industry leaders like IBM and Dell.
About Network IT | Cisco Network Consulting Services | Toronto and the GTA
Network IT has been providing high-quality networking equipment to businesses in Toronto and throughout the GTA for decades. Why pay more for brand new equipment, when you can accomplish everything you need with a better priced used piece of equipment. Contact us today if you have any questions, or want to see what options we have available for you.
- Network security is a major issue every business needs to deal with. Small businesses, in particular, are targeted often.
- Viruses, stolen data, weak passwords, phishing attacks, and VoIP-related risks are all things to consider.
- In addition to keeping a well-trained staff and employing anti-malware solutions, hiring a network manager like Network IT is a great way to ensure your business’s network runs smoothly and securely.