Many people already know about the Facebook scandal of 2018. A feeling of betrayal and invasion lingers into 2019 as clients are demanding companies to do more to protect their information. As technology advances more personal and professional data is being stored on company networks. However, this data cannot be secured behind a locked filing cabinet in a locked office in a locked building with security, which leaves the question of how to secure this information. As with many things, knowledge is the first line of defense. Having basic knowledge of technical security and its importance is the first step in securing customers data.
What is Network Security and Why is it Important?
Network security is the process of protecting data within your company’s network. This includes both internal and customer information. This is important because an unsecure network leaves the company and clients vulnerable. Bank account information, credit card numbers, vendor information and so much more is stored within your company’s network. All of this can end up in the hands of criminal hackers, who will either use the information themselves, or sell it to the highest bidder. This will not only damage your companies accounts, but can also damage the relationship you have with your clients. We all know trust is hard to gain back once it is lost, and your clients trust you to protect their information.
We have all heard about phishing emails coming from a prince in a far-away land needing money, but not all phishing emails seem so obvious. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. This threat roughly cost American businesses $500 million a year, and seems to be a growing threat (Matthews, 2017).
Another major threat to small businesses is malware. Malware is malicious software that can be tailored to do what its creator wants. Common types of malware include; viruses, ransomware, and spyware.
Just like the flu, a virus can make your computer systems and network sick. The virus can disable systems rendering your device useless, and if you did not back up your data, the loss of your physical equipment will be the least of your concerns.
Ransomware is software that blocks access to files and documents that then requires the affected user to pay a ransom to gain access back to the files and documents. If the ransom is not paid in a set time limit, the data can be lost forever. As we enter 2019, small to mid-size businesses are still the biggest targets for ransomware (Eric C., 2018).
Another common threat is spyware, which is software secretly installed on a victim’s computers or network devices that collects personal or sensitive data. The data is then sent back to the hacker to be used for whatever malicious purposes they have in mind. These all put your company and clients at risk, and criminals are constantly changing tactics to steal from you, your company, and anyone else they can get their digital finger on.
Just as technology is changing at a constant rate, cyber threats are evolving to side-step defenses people put in place. Rates of cybercrime have been on the rise for years causing billions of dollars in damages to companies. We used to feel safe by simply placing a firewall within the network to protect our information, however that just is not enough anymore. With so many devices to cover, in order to ensure network safety, it is important to have a team that specializes in protecting your network. There is not a blanket solution to cyber security, it evolves too fast for one software to protect it all. As our technology gets smarter, so do the criminals