Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

4/13/2016
08:20 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Security 101 For SMBs

Just because a company is small doesn't mean its business is immune to cyberattacks. Here's a quick list of best practices for SMBs to get started in security.

There's not a company doing business today that can't be hacked.

And while Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report points out that the most vulnerable industries are the public sector, financial services, and the information business which includes, publishing, newspapers and motion pictures, no single industry or company is safe.

It’s especially true for small- to midsize businesses (SMBs) who may employ only five or 10 people and lack the resources to focus on IT security. Sure, the vast majority of high-profile breaches are on major corporate and government networks, but small companies are not immune.

Christina Foley, a vice president at FireEye, says SMBs can be even more vulnerable. Foley points out that SMBs often can’t sustain a major attack and face an uphill battle to stay afloat considering the financial and legal impact of a breach.

“It’s important to remember that there are a lot of small financial businesses that manage and transact large amounts of money -- hedge funds are a great example,” she explains. “These institutions can be vulnerable, and while owners of SMBs may feel that hackers go for big companies, more and more cybercriminals view SMB’s as naïve and often as easy marks.”  

Frank Dickson, research director, information and network security at Frost & Sullivan, agrees that SMBs are vulnerable, but there are common sense steps companies can take to protect themselves:

1. Understand the location and value of the company’s data assets. Start by asking what’s special about your company and look at what data needs to be protected. Think about what’s important. A retailer wants to protect credit card data, while a doctor’s office has vital patient and financial information to protect. 

2. Examine how the company protects its data. Once you’ve determined what data is important, think about how the company goes about protecting data. Are proper access policies in place? Who needs to have access to the data? Does the company need to think more about encryption? Is company data stored in applications that need daily or weekly updating? The important thing is to ask yourself: If there was a breach, what would we do?

3. Separate compliance and security. Dickson says many companies fall down on this one. For example, just because the company has complied with PCI DSS doesn’t mean it is fully secure. PCI DSS covers credit card data, but it doesn’t cover internal company data, for example. And not all data sets are covered by the HIPAA standard.

4. Maintain your systems. There’s a reason why Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft issue frequent updates. It’s mainly to patch the most recent security vulnerabilities. Develop processes for consistent software updates, whether it’s with an internal IT staff person or a third party.

5. Involve the entire staff. Security just can’t be the pet project of the IT person or staff. Top management has to be involved and buy in, and the rank-and-file employees must learn how to watch for email and other phishing scams. Educate people in the simple rules of password hygiene, what data assets are important to the company, and how to spot malicious emails. Consider two-factor authentication because passwords are not enough today and very easily cracked.

6. Collaborate with service providers.Too many small companies will scrimp on IT services, but a provider with a team that knows how to secure a small network can save your business and be worth every penny. It may be several weeks or months between visits by the third-party provider, but have someone in place who can teach the company good security habits – and be on call in a crisis.

Remember, the federal government can survive a hack. So can Sony. And JP Morgan can spend millions in the aftermath of a hack. SMBs don’t have that luxury. One bad security breach can literally mean your business. 

Related Content:

 

Gain insight into the latest threats and emerging best practices for managing them. Attend the Managing IT Security With a Small (Or No) Staff conference session at Interop Las Vegas, May 2-6. Register now!

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience and has covered networking, security, and IT as a writer and editor since 1992. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Take me to your BISO 
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-28588
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-10
An information disclosure vulnerability exists in the /proc/pid/syscall functionality of Linux Kernel 5.1 Stable and 5.4.66. More specifically, this issue has been introduced in v5.1-rc4 (commit 631b7abacd02b88f4b0795c08b54ad4fc3e7c7c0) and is still present in v5.10-rc4, so it’s l...
CVE-2021-21428
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-10
Openapi generator is a java tool which allows generation of API client libraries (SDK generation), server stubs, documentation and configuration automatically given an OpenAPI Spec. openapi-generator-online creates insecure temporary folders with File.createTempFile during the code generation proces...
CVE-2021-29022
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-10
In InvoicePlane 1.5.11, the upload feature discloses the full path of the file upload directory.
CVE-2020-27226
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-10
An exploitable SQL injection vulnerability exists in ‘quickFile.jsp’ page of OpenClinic GA 5.173.3. A specially crafted HTTP request can lead to SQL injection. An attacker can make an authenticated HTTP request to trigger this vulnerability.
CVE-2020-27229
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-10
A number of exploitable SQL injection vulnerabilities exists in ‘patientslist.do’ page of OpenClinic GA 5.173.3 application. The findPersonID parameter in ‘‘patientslist.do’ page is vulnerable to authentic...