Blog & Company News

Oct 30, 2013

Does an SMB Really Need to Scan/Check Their Website for Security Issues?

iStock_000016621439XSmallIn many of our recent technology blogs (here, here) we have been touting the importance of taking preemptive measures to protect your site, your systems, and your customers. Businesses must be proactive with safety and security measures as they pertain to IT operations. Being reactionary is increasingly becoming a recipe for disaster inasmuch as by the time your team is scrambling to quash a potential threat or quell a security breach, it may very well be too late. Seemingly, we are not alone in our beliefs. In a recent study by Iowa State University, one of its authors Associate Professor Samuel DeMarie commented, “The way organizations protect their information and technology is critical to the success of a company,” DeMarie said. “If you’re not doing it well, it doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, that can be enough to shut down a business.” Shut. Down. In fact, statistics show that more than 60 percent of small businesses that suffer a serious security breach are out of business within a year. The current climate is so serious and there is so much at stake; companies must completely revamp their philosophies in order to survive. In fact, many experts believe that Companies, who handle their internal IT security well, will actually be in position to leverage such as a powerful marketing tool, one capable of attracting and retaining customers and clients on this basis alone. The days of afterthought cybersecurity are over and those that do not conform will simply get hit too hard to continue. If you own a company but do not have the revenue to support an IT team internally to help, there are some excellent options and resources available. How safe is your vehicle? Sure, small-business budgets are tight, and finding ways to save is always going to be a priority for small-business owners, but most of us wouldn’t drive without our seat belts securely latched or in a car without basic safety features. There are some things you can’t simply cut corners on—and it will save you an incredible amount of money in the long run when considering the risks. Is all software housed within your network continually up to date? Exploits in software are very common ways hackers gain access to systems and sensitive data. Updating software on network-connected machines should always be a top priority. Do you have business-class antivirus software installed (and up to date) on all office workstations and servers? Leading antivirus software can detect, remove, and protect your machines and network from malware. Do you scan your website or web applications for malware? Many of us are used to checking for viruses and malware on our personal computers, but don’t realize that websites and web applications are just as susceptible. Do you have reliable backups of all of your critical data? Recovering from many types of common cybercrimes often involves restoring your data from a point prior to the event in question. Not having reliable and securely stored backups of your data is a significant liability. Is your network equipped to handle network-specific attacks? Unsophisticated networks are particularly susceptible to DDOS mitigation devices and tools often require enterprise-sized budgets. If you own a small business, this type of luxury wouldn’t normally be practical, financially speaking. However, with the growing adoption of cloud and utility computing services, using a quality cloud-computing partner— one that has already invested the necessary capital to protect its network—is a cost-effective solution. Has Your Website (or Machines) Been Compromised? Cyber attacks and security breaches are often difficult to detect by design, so it’s important that you’re diligent about the preventative steps already discussed. Up-to-date antivirus software will continue to detect known issues, even after your machines or website becomes infected. The most obvious indicator of a security issue is the performance and activity of your website and business machines. Is your email server sending out spam e-mail, or do you see a jump in inbound/outbound traffic from machines within your network? If yes, that could be a sign that one or more of your systems has been compromised, and is now under the control of a hacker. Are you monitoring your machines for unknown programs that have been installed? These unknown programs could be an indication of a compromised machine. Is your website, application, or server slowing to a crawl, or becoming unresponsive altogether? While there are many reasons that could cause performance issues, any extended issue in this respect could be an indication of a network-based cyber attack. Another tool to consider is a website scanning service that will check your website for security issues and vulnerabilities. Do you have a WordPress site? One of every four new websites is built in WordPress and because of its popularity; its minions have become a top target for hackers. Here’s a FREE scanner (sorry, WordPress only) that just takes a few moments to run. It may put you at ease or at attention. Either way, it’s the first step to staying/getting adequately protected. Should you need any additional assistance or would like to find out more about the benefits of our Cloud hosting solutions, call us today at 1-877-323-4678.