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Four Must-Have Small Business Network Security Tools

Regardless of their size, many Small Businesses still need to meet strict compliance regulations, such as PCI and Data Protection Act regulations. In addition to any special requirements, there are a few security technologies every small business should have in place. Here are our four small business security must-haves.

1. Firewall. It sounds passé, but firewalls are still the de facto solution for minimum security. Small businesses are no exception. I frequently hear vendors trying to coax SMB owners into boxes bigger than they need, with full redundancy and multiple licensing levels. As expected, most small organizations will balk at the £20K-plus price tags that hang off these shiny new boxes. The truth is, for bandwidths typical in small businesses (let’s say connections up to 10Mbps), a small ASIC-based firewall even with gateway services (such as gateway anti-virus, anti-spyware, IDS or IPS) can be found for just a few hundred pounds. Even if it’s not tweaked to perfection, some firewall is better than none. And no organization should rely on their Internet provider for this security.

2. Client anti-virus. Whether your small office is three people or a hundred, client AV is a must-have. Depending on the number of users, an organization may opt for boxed consumer licenses and manual management, or a centrally-managed AV solution. All mainstream AV vendors will have both options available, but the licenses may not be upgradeable or transferable. Meaning, if you buy AV in boxes at Currys or PC World, you probably can’t turn those into centrally managed client licenses if your needs grow or change. Take the time to do a little research and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the affordable licensing structure of centrally managed AV.

3. Password management tool. These are great little tools and they’re an easy and inexpensive solution for small offices that aren’t using single sign-on or authenticating to a directory (such as Active Directory) for management. These tools allow a team or entire company to post, update, and share key passwords used in the organization. They can contain login info for bank accounts, the server admin account, email management or CLI logon for switches. They reduce the use of default passwords and re-use of shared passwords while making it easier to incorporate complexity into all credentials.

4. Backups. We can’t overemphasise the importance of a good backup and disaster recovery plan. You don’t have to have a fully-executed DR methodology, but if your small business currently has no backups, we urge you to start here as your next step in securing your business. From experience, we can say you never know when there will be a fire, a flood, or a disgruntled employee who decides to wreak havoc before leaving.  Even if you’re not taking backups of all the computers, identify your key data — such as accounting records, customer data, and anything critical to operating your business such as emails, website content, intellectual property and marketing materials or graphics — and back it up. Look for software-based backups that can take regular snapshots of servers or storage, or consider a hosted online backup solution.

The first step is to keep backups locally. The next progression is to also find a remote site or hosted solution in case your location experiences a disaster or even theft.

Call Rustyice Solutions today for a no obligation discussion with one of our small business security specialists to examine how your own business shapes up.

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