Protect Your Business with These Security Best Practices

Data breaches happen to companies of all sizes, and with increasing frequency. While big retailers such as Target and Home Depot made the news, thousands of small companies were hit as well. Health care organizations, financial services companies – even the IRS – have suffered from data breaches. How can a small business hope to ensure it has done all it can to bolster IT security? Here are a few best practices to help you identify potential security vulnerabilities.

SMB IT Security

Security Policies

Step one is to ensure that you have formal written policies governing security. The policy should cover how often you update malware, intrusion detection alert reports, password standards and physical access to servers, among the many other aspects of security. The list of potential illicit entry points is constantly growing. Many small and mid-sized businesses find it’s helpful to work with an experienced third-party IT security vendor.

Use Security Standards

ISO standards are used for secure data center procedures. ISO Standards ensure that products are safe and reliable to the consumer. In addition to the ISO Standards there are industry-specific standards to keep in mind when securing your network. If your business processes credit cards, make sure your systems are PCI standards compliant. If you store patient information, your systems must be HIPAA compliant. If you interact with government, you must ensure FISMA compliance. It can get complicated in some cases, so it’s a good idea to work with a knowledgeable and certified IT company to make sure you are protected.

Security Appliances

One easy and cost-effective way to prevent potential breaches is to install a security appliance as part of your network. Security appliances have strong firewalls and anti-malware software, along with intrusion detection. Cisco makes a well-regarded line of security appliances that are low cost and offer extra protection. Consider Cisco’s ASA 5505 firewall appliances. These firewalls can support various user counts, including unlimited users, so you can get exactly what you need to ensure security.

Anti-malware Protection

Although your firewall and security appliance include malware protection, you should also insist that all user devices have anti-malware installed in the event of a security appliance failure. Users may download apps or use devices on unprotected networks from home or while traveling, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. AVG Antivirus or Clam-Win are good, low-cost options. AVG Antivirus protects more than 200 million users worldwide. Services include internet security, performance optimization, and personal privacy/identity protection. Clam-Win is a completely free anti-virus option for Microsoft Windows. The software comes with easy installer and open source code. Clam-Win is trusted by 600,000 users.

Regular Backups

Some people don’t realize that backups are an important part of data security protection, at least until they experience a data breach. Even a small business would find it nearly impossible to recreate their entire data systems quickly if their infrastructure is breached. If you have experienced a system invasion that wipes out your data, you soon realize that regular backups are one of the most important security measures you can take.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery planning and procedures are also crucial. Disasters come in many forms, and not all are caused by nature. Be sure that you have all your security bases covered by putting together a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Fire, flood or hacker – when you face a disaster you’ll be glad you made the effort to protect your business. This is another opportunity to use an IT security vendor to ensure your plan covers everything.

You should also do frequent drills to see how you would detect unauthorized intrusions and calculate the extent of the breach. It is also beneficial to practice how to restore your system after an infection or disaster. Security service vendors can help you set up a testing and recovery plan that will be simple and comprehensive. Consider Aventis Systems for this network security service. We have extensive experience in securing small and medium businesses. Contact us today for more information.