Small Business IT Helps Avoid These Top Security Mistakes - AT&T

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Top Security Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Posted: 08/26/2013

Learn ways to help protect your business from security threats and what steps to take if your system is compromised.

This informative podcast addresses:

  • The true value of IT technical support and how to gauge the impact to your business.
  • What a service level agreement is and how to better evaluate potential service providers.

AT&T Tech Support 360SM offers a number of services to help improve the security of your business, including spyware and virus removal and online data backup.


Tad Clarke: Hello, I'm Tad Clarke, for AT&T Small Business Insights. Our topic today concerns security mistakes and how to avoid them. With me is Sydney Diamond, President of Diamond and Diamond LLC, a certified fraud examiner and author of "Protecting Your Assets - Business Security for the Small Business Owner." Sydney, thank you for joining us.


Sydney Diamond: Certainly.


TC: Before we begin, I just want to say that AT&T can help you with your security needs for your computers and network. Okay, Sydney, what is the most typical computer security mistake for small businesses, and when they make this mistake, what's put at risk?


SD: Well, I think the most common, number one, mistake that small businesses make, they have inadequate or nonexistent technical support and that leads to outdated virus updates, missed security patches, missed opportunities for layered defense. And enlisting the help of the teenager down the street isn’t the answer. IT security support needs to be seen as a value add, not a cost center, and it needs to be included as part of the overall business strategy, not as an afterthought.


TC: It seems like small businesses are more at risk than larger enterprises. Is this true, and if so, why is that?


SD: They're more at risk because they don't believe they're a target by virtue of their size, when in fact, they're becoming more and more of a target simply because of that belief.


TC: What are malicious hackers going after, and why do they do it? Is it just for fun or for profit?


SD: What these professional hackers are going after is piecemeal information. And they look for portals that they can insert a leak into the network, for instance, and they're going to take tidbits of information. A few dollars at a time if they can hack into the bank account. A few pieces of confidential information at a time, and they're going to take the information and then piece it back together. And once they do that, that’s how they start perpetrating their fraud.


TC: What about when you are a small business owner and you're on the road, and you want to access your email or files? Is there a way to do this securely?


SD: It's all relative. You know, people think they're secure, but there's always going to be some measure of insecurity. Whether it's from prying eyes, otherwise known as "shoulder surfing" when you're sitting in the airport, and when you're in the airport and you're plugging your laptop into what you believe is a hard-wired network because you're plugging it into the wall, you don't know how that network is protected.


TC: What can small businesses do to make virus protection more effective?


SD: By building it into their strategic and normal business operation, something that must evolve with the other processes of the business.


TC: If a small business becomes compromised, what’s the first thing they should do?


SD: The first thing they should do is disconnect the compromised network or system, and then notify internal and external parties.


TC: If you decide to use an offsite IT security service provider, what questions should you ask them about helping you maintain your network?


SD: Number one, look at client testimonials. Who else are they helping, and what are their clients having to say about it? Number two, you want to look at a service level agreement and that means what are they offering you, what services are they going to provide, and at what level are they going to provide those services?


TC: Very interesting information, Sydney. Thank you for being with us today.


SD: You’re very welcome. Thanks for having me.


TC: Got a security question? Let AT&T help you with your security needs for your computers and networks. Come back to for more Small Business Insights soon. Thank you.