Must Have Network Security Tools for SMB Owners

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Do you think your business is too small for any type of hacker to worry about? Think again. The small to mid-size business is exactly who cybercriminals tend to target. This is because they have less security than larger businesses and the odds of the intrusion going unnoticed are significantly larger. In the cases of small businesses, more often than not, the owner of the business thinks the attack was a glitch in their system or something that they themselves did wrong, and never report it. Knowing how to protect your system and your information is an important part of being a business owner. It is part of a business owner's responsibility to ensure the information collected by the business is kept safe and secure, regardless of the size of the business. Here are a couple of simple security tools and tips that every business can take advantage of.

Your Firewall

Your firewall monitoring all incoming and outgoing traffic. You can set rules and limits on what is going on within your network. You can even go as far as to block unwanted and untrusted traffic or communication to further protect your network. The firewall should be the first line of defense for any small business.

Virus Protection Software

If you own a computer, personal or work related, and you do not have virus protection on it, you're being foolish. Virus protection has come a long way since its inception. Most can not only keep your computer not only virus free, but clean unwanted files, boost performance and provide deeper levels of control for inexperienced users. The choices of virus protection software are endless, from Avast to Norton's and everything in between, you can find a protection software to safeguard your computers and networks.

Intrusion Protection System (IPS)

An intrusion protection system helps sniff out any common signatures associated with cyber attacks and promptly blocks or isolates them before they can become a problem. This is an important tool for business owners. If you're a small business owner and have a limited budget, you can use open source models like Snort (owned by Cisco) to protect your system. The point of this type of system is to create a collective. The more of these threats that they can identify and block, the stronger and more secure the system and network becomes as a whole.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

If you have to work remotely for any reason, you need to create a VPN. It is a secure access method within a public network that can be accessed anywhere. This allows you to work securely regardless of where you are or what you are doing.

Content Filtering

Content filtering is exactly what it sounds like. It allows you to filter what type of information is accessed or comes into your network from email or through websites. The more you can filter out, the fewer avenues you are providing hackers to gain access to your systems. External links hidden within emails are one of the most popular ways hackers can remotely gain access to a system.

Denial Of Service System

A denial of service system is similar to an IPS and content filter. The only difference is a denial of service system works on a higher level. When you use all three tools you are creating a minefield of any type of intrusion to navigate. A denial of service system typically catches attacks that are not yet found in the ISP database and can give it a danger or block rating, based on what the intrusion is doing and where it is located.

Data Loss Prevention

Data loss prevention software and practices are essential. Sensitive data for a business, including personal information for employees and customers should be kept as secure as possible. Keeping that information on a closed system the best possible solution, however, that is not always possible. Hiring a data loss prevention provider can help protect your information and keep your network secure.

Network security is something that all businesses need to take seriously. Nearly 60% of all data breaches happen to small to mid-sized businesses. Having your network monitored by a trained IT professional is a necessity in today's business world. If you are going to try and manage your own security, here are a couple of tools that should you be aware of that might help.

1. Comodo - Comodo is an extremely low cost security solution for small business owners. Some of the tools they can provide you with are even free. This company, and their software, can help secure your system, including from infected devices that your employees may unknowingly bring into, and connect to your network.

2. HTTPS Everywhere - HTTPS Everywhere is a simple web browser extension that works for android based browsers, Chrome, Firefox and Opera. It encrypts communication, making viewing websites safer and more secure.

3. Nmap - Nmap is commonly used by hackers to find weak points in a system's network. Its scans network system to discover what hosts are communicating on a network, as well as what services are being used.

4. Wireshark - Wireshark allows you to view all of the traffic on your network in as much detail as you want. You can use this to follow all forms of communication on your network and locate any problems or intrusions.

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