Locking up Shop, Online.
The importance of online security for SMBs
Posted May 5, 2018
The term “online security” is trending these days, having quickly jumped on the radar of many small and medium businesses. But did you know there are many different facets of online security to consider if you want to ensure total protection for your company? We sat down with Bell’s Valerie MacCullough, Product Manager, to get to the bottom of what is keeping business owners up at night, and what they can do to fight back against cyber threats.
What exactly is online security?
VM: Well, it depends first off on what type of online security we’re talking about: Internet, Data, or PC? Though interconnected, each comes with its own set of threats and its own unique protection strategy. Internet security protects your business and assets against threats on the Internet (i.e. malware, phishing, etc.), while Data security protects your customer information against those very same threats. In the event that security measures for both of those fail – or were never set up in the first place – PC security provides additional protection for your physical computer to provide early detection of potential threats.
What kinds of online threats are we talking about?
VM: I’d say the top three computer security threats that keep small businesses up at night are malware, phishing and botnets. The latest stats show that one in 326 emails contain malware that can shut down an entire operating system. Consider the fact that the everyday business user in North America sends and receives an average of 131 emails a day, and you begin to realize that the odds of being targeted are a serious risk if you don’t have the proper coverage.
In the past, cyber threats typically target larger corporations. Is there reason for small businesses to start worrying?
VM: Right now the risk for cyber attacks sit very high. 2016 for example was a year marked by an above average level of attacks in North America, with multi-million dollar virtual bank heists, overt attempts to disrupt the US electoral process by state-sponsored groups, and some of the biggest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on record powered by a botnet of Internet of Things (IoT) devices (Internet Security Threat Report, April 2017). This isn’t a localized problem either. We hear more and more frequently in the media about global viruses that infect not just businesses, but their clients as well.
In situations like these, I say it’s always best to err on the side of caution. You wouldn’t leave the front door of your business unlocked at night, in the same way that you shouldn’t leave your Internet open and vulnerable for anyone to hack into.
Are all types of small businesses a target, or should some take larger steps than others to protect themselves?
VM: It’s different depending on what type of business you have. Data-heavy companies like law firms and medical clinics (basically, anyone with sensitive customer data and private information) should be particularly wary. Realistically though, any business that uses the Internet should be proactive about their security needs.
What does Bell offer SMBs that can ease these concerns?
VM: Bell has a full range of business protection services for Internet, Data, and PC that keep your computers and network safe from the latest Internet threats, including viruses, spyware, web threats, and hacker attacks. These comprehensive packages protect you from losing critical business data and provide maintenance support to ensure your business computers deliver optimal performance.
What’s more, Bell is the only service provider who doesn’t just offer individual types of security to choose from, we offer the total protection bundle. This provides a full range of protection services to secure your computer environment from all forms of online threats, while still allowing you to customize your security level and protect your business and your customers’ assets.
Any other tips for SMBs to protect themselves against online threats, in addition to these services?
VM: There are several best-practices that SMBs can adopt to stay safe. Every company (no matter the size or service they offer) should take the time to train their employees in the basics of digital security. Carving out a solid disaster recovery plan, just in case, never hurt either. It’s always best to hope for the best and prepare for the worst – that’s just good business.