Small Business Internet Security Guide from AT&T

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How to Keep Online Threats at Bay

Posted: 09/17/2013

Spam and phishing, viruses and malware. Small and medium businesses probably have a pretty good idea of the security threats that are out there. But do they know what's best for their business when it comes to keeping them at bay?

After all, their requirements differ fundamentally from those of larger organizations, making the range of security offerings aimed at enterprises unsuitable for the challenges they face. Such solutions are typically too expensive, too complex, and far too comprehensive for organizations with modest budgets, limited personnel, and particular types of vulnerabilities.

Finding the right tools for fighting off threats means taking a close look at your organization—and determining its specific security needs. It's an important first step in defining a strategy for protecting your devices, your data, and your business as a whole. The right tools meet the following criteria.

The ability to proactively identify and evaluate risks, and then take action

When it comes to technology, a security solution built to detect and identify the potential threats—before they become actual problems—is critical. Are the threats coming through email? Are they aimed at servers or other systems? Or are they coming from the inside as a result of employee carelessness or an act of malice? Small and medium businesses need security solutions that handle investigative duties, and that sound an early warning on possible risks. They also need reporting and evaluation capabilities to learn just how dangerous a security threat is—so they can respond to that threat in the right way.

The ability to receive quick notification of security events

Viruses and malware are built to spread rapidly and under the radar. What's more, yesterday's simple malicious scripts have given way to sophisticated and fast-mutating programs that can sniff out confidential business documents and customer information. That makes speedy detection a must. When your organization is alerted to an attack in timely fashion, it's in a much better position to mount a defense.

Layered security that protects operations end to end

Anti-spam software by itself won't make the business invulnerable. Small and medium businesses have to take a layered approach to security, deploying anti-virus software, firewalls, intrusion prevention, and other technologies (on top of anti-spam software), depending on specific security requirements.

Additionally, organizations need to cover all of their devices, extending security to laptops, desktops, handhelds, and messaging servers so they can defend against unknown attacks. And they need a way to protect against data leakage and other internal security risks that could result in loss of sensitive information and regulatory violations.

A security solution that is affordable and minimizes complexity

Securing systems and data is critical, but the last thing that small and medium businesses can afford is to pay for protection they don't need. What they want are solutions that meet their precise security requirements, not the expensive bells and whistles they'll never have to make use of.

Similarly, they need solutions that are easy to deploy, easy to manage, and easy to customize, if necessary. Minimal complexity is what to look for when a company has little or no staff dedicated to IT security.

Access to expert analysis and guidance in threat protection and mitigation

It sounds basic but it bears repeating: A solid sense of the threat landscape is essential to keeping the business safe. Owners of small and medium businesses should stay on top of security alerts and breaking security news, while paying close attention to developing trends and future considerations.

But what if there are typically too few hours in a day to monitor security developments while also running a business? For many organizations, a provider of security services could play an important advisory role. With experience and expertise in threat analysis and mitigation, such providers are well equipped to deliver the insights, advice and solutions that businesses need when it comes to protecting their systems and data. And depending on the arrangement, they could remain on hand for ongoing management and upgrades as security requirements evolve.

All of the above may seem like a lot to consider. Fortunately, AT&T Tech Support 360SM can provide assistance with a range of security issues. In particular, consider AT&T Spyware and Virus Removal service, which can review your existing security applications, and identify and remove threats to your business.