According to a new survey released in October, 2011 by Symantec and the National Cybersecurity Alliance, two-thirds of U.S. small businesses rely on broadband Internet for their day-to-day operations. Broadband connectivity and online business tools enable small businesses to reach millions of customers though the online marketplace, driving new sales. In addition, broadband-enabled cloud-based services allow small businesses to manage their operations more efficiently, lowering costs. Higher sales and lower costs equal more small business profit, which they can and will reinvest in their businesses, resulting in job creation.
We know that the benefits of information technology and high-speed Internet are real, but so are the security challenges. The Symantec survey also found that 85 percent of small businesses think their companies are cyber-secure, but barely half of these businesses actually have a Cybersecurity strategy or plan in place and nearly 80 percent say they lack a written Internet security policy.
A recent study found that American small businesses lose billions annually to threats like intellectual property theft, hacking, viruses, or spyware. The cost of each individual cyber attack to small- and medium-sized businesses averages about $200,000. What's more, statistics show that roughly 60% of small businesses will close within six months of a cyber attack. According to the Norton Cybercrime Report, the total cost of cyber crime to consumers and small business owners alike is greater than $114 billion annually.
With larger companies increasing their online defenses, small businesses are now the low hanging fruit for cyber criminals. Too many businesses are unknowingly leaving the virtual doors unlocked and the keys in the car.
It is vital that small businesses take the necessary steps - generally simple steps - to increase their protection against cyber threats.
What should small business owners do? For starters, they should:
Make sure that Wi-Fi routers are secure and password protected;
Regularly change passwords;
Install anti-virus and provide firewall security for your Internet connection;
Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available;
Train employees on security principles, such as protecting sensitive information and not clicking on email attachments or links from untrustworthy sources
Do not plug an unknowns USB thumb drive into your computer.
Understanding the importance of securing a wireless network requires you to be aware of the issues resulting from not securing your network:Real-time Traffic is Compromised
People can see what Web sites you are visiting.
Login information to unsecured sites (non-SSL) is compromised, along with the content.
Login information and content from services such as POP3 e-mail accounts and FTP connections is compromised.
Network is Open for Others to Connect
Your internet connection may be used for sending and/or receiving illegal information, such as spam, music files or even child porn.
Others can access any shared files on PCs or servers connected to the network.
Securing your Private Wireless Network Now that you understand the importance of Wi-Fi security, you should implement methods like those discussed below to ensure your sensitive information is secure. To Secure Real-time Traffic
Use WEP encryption at the minimum; ideally, go with WPA encryption.
To Prevent Others from Connecting
Try to keep wireless coverage within a controlled area.
Use MAC address filtering.
Limit DHCP addresses, or assign static addresses.
Disable SSID Broadcast.
Keep in mind that the use of encryption is the only method that adequately secures the real-time traffic, such as e-mails and Web browsing, on your wireless network. Most other security methods, such as MAC address filtering and disabling SSID broadcast, are intended to help prevent others from successfully connecting to the wireless network.You can never be sure that your wireless network is completely secure. However, implementing multiple security methods means it will be much more difficult for Wi-Fi eavesdroppers to capture readable real-time data.Protecting Yourself on Public Hotspots When you are using an unsecured wireless network, such as a hotspot in a hotel, cafe, airport or any other public location, you should take steps to make sure your sensitive information is not exposed:Secure Your Real-time Traffic
Use a VPN connection.
Make sure any services you use, such as POP3 and FTP, are secured if you are not using a VPN.
Do not visit any private or sensitive Web site unless it is secured (for example, implementing SSL) if you are not using a VPN.
Prevent Others from Connecting to Your Laptop
Disable any sharing of files, folders and services.
Use personal firewall software.
Make sure your operating system is kept up to date.
A VPN connection encrypts any data sent from your wireless adapter all the way to the VPN server and vice versa, therefore providing end-to-end encryption. Along with providing a great way to secure the data, this also enables access to the remote network hosting via VPN server, which is often used in businesses.
We specialize in designing systems that fit your unique business needs. We plan scalable solutions that expand with your business, providing you with the most cost effective use of technology.
At Wi-Fi Safe, we manage network development from start to finish, from creating the initial plan, to coordinating with vendors and installing the hardware and software. Special care is taken to minimize disruption to your workplace, while ensuring that your network is up and running as soon as possible.
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Proactive management of your network is required to maintain the optimum level of performance and to prevent downtime due to system failure. We monitor and administer data backup, security, and network resources, such as disk space and bandwidth. When an unforeseen problem arises, we are here to quickly resolve it.
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Our consultants are always on watch for potential trouble. If your equipment breaks down, our capable technicians are ready to make the repairs. Quickly. Affordably.