Securing Your Business Should Be One Of Your “Gifts” This Holiday Season

According to analyst firm AMI-USA, Small-Medium sized businesses will close the year by spending about US$240 billion on beefing up their IT and telecom infrastructure and applications, up 16% over all of 2006.
Are you included in this increase in spending?
Your computers, your network and your mobile technology need to be as secure as possible. Installing basic security such as anti-virus, anti-phishing and anti-spam technology is one part of the security equation. But as hackers advance and evolve their evil you’ll need to ensure your technology can grow with you.
Perimeter eSecurity, provides hosted security solutions and Kevin Prince, its Chief Security Officer, said that, he expects an array of threats, both external and internal, which can only be met with a combination of layered security solutions. In most network environments, security solutions are often misapplied, absent, or not comprehensive enough to stop the serious, credible intruder.
Another aspect of security which which you might not have heard of, but might wish to consider is security information management (SIM) . This is security technology that helps you manage the streams of data coming from your network and the security systems monitoring your network and computers.

Instead of reacting to a security threat, after its already begun to affect your network or impact your business, a SIM based security solution can help you act before the threat turns into more than a threat. I would NOT suggest you implement or manage this yourself, but definitely discuss it with your local security professional.
There’s many companies offering SIM solutions, TriGeo is one of them, focused solely on the small-medium sized business market. As a SIM-based product,TriGeo has a unique view of the network. According to its web site, It can monitor data from firewalls, routers, switches, servers, workstations,IDS and even IPS products,and has the ability to spot patterns of behavior that could easily be missed by other network defense technologies.
Here’s some points from Perimeter eSecurity for you to consider in protecting your network:

  • 1. Implement Comprehensive Patch Management: Often some of the most sensitive data are on non-Microsoft systems such as Linux, UNIX or Macintosh. Invest in a patch management solution offering full visibility into your network and covering all operating systems and vendors, not just Microsoft.
  • 2. Conduct Employee Security Awareness Training: Raising the awareness level of employees through mandatory, monthly online courses is a terrific way to remind them that security is everyone’s responsibility. Choose a training program that offers up-to-date courses, ensures users understand policies and procedures, and provides reporting to management.
  • 3. Utilize Host-based Intrusion Prevention Systems (HIPS): Threats now bypass network intrusion detection systems (NIDS) using encryption, packet fragmentation, packet overlap, and encoding. Consider host-based intrusion prevention (HIPS) which can monitor your system looking for anomalous behavior, applications attempting to be installed, user escalation, and other non-standard events.
  • 4. Perform Network, Operating System and Application-level Testing: Most organizations perform basic external network and operating system vulnerability testing, which identifies many Internet exposures. It is important to perform testing at the application level because these attacks are becoming much more prevalent, but if caught early, can reduce major exposure.
  • 5. Employ URL Filtering: Organizations that still allow employees to browse the Web freely should understand and confront the risks of doing so. In addition to potential legal and reputational concerns, Web browsing opens a large window to viral attacks. A better alternative proactively manages sites where employees are allowed to surf, limiting them to safe, approved sites from reputable web publishers.
  • 6. Centralize your Desktop Protection: Desktop anti-virus has become an expected standard on most computers systems which is fundamentally good news. If you manage these systems individually, however, you may get unprotected systems and exposure. Make sure you have centralized management and reporting.
  • 7. Enforce a Robust Policy Management System: For some, policy management means enforcing complex passwords that change regularly. For others, it is restricted access from the “administrator” controls on a workstation. Still others think this is a way of reporting on anti-virus updates, patch levels, and operating system service pack levels. Implement a robust policy management system which includes all of the above at a minimum.
  • 8. Adopt an Extrusion Management Solution: Sensitive data leaks from organizations every day. This is often a result of employees sending emails. An extrusion management solution keeps sensitive data inside the network. Take the first step which might simply be an email content filtering solution that will allow you to monitor for sensitive data being sent through simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP).

As I’ve told you so many times, do not secure your business by yourself. Work with a trusted security professional to ensure your business is secure.
Ensure all your employees have some basic security training. They are often the first line of defense as it’s their email boxes that receive phishing email and their clicks that can or cannot click on a rogue web site.