Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Small Businesses and Web Surfing

For many people, the Internet can be a very confusing place. At our finger tips through any number of different devices, there seems to be new threats around every corner. One of the most dangerous threats that is very often overlooked are the users themselves.

There are firewalls and active protection and countless policies for dealing with hackers or attacking viruses, but many small business web security policies simply do not properly protect against a business’ own employees causing problems.

A recent survey commissioned by GFI provided some astounding statistics regarding the IT security solutions for small businesses.

Even with countless protections in place, 40% of small business reported an IT security breach due to an employee’s unsafe web surfing. And, more than half of small businesses indicated that protecting themselves from harmful or infected websites is not their main priority.

In an eye-opening list provided by OpenDNS’s web filtering tool, the top 10 blacklisted company sites for 2010:

  1. Facebook
  2. MySpace
  3. YouTube
  4. DoubleClick
  5. Twitter
  6. MSN
  7. Orkut
  8. Yahoo (why?)
  9. Meebo
  10. eBay
The list may be surprising to some people. While specific blacklisted sites may include pornography or file sharing sites, overall we see that social media and advertising sites receive much attention. This reflects a change in web surfing, as well as a business’ attempt to control a worker’s productivity.

It is also important to realize that, with a dramatic shift in web surfing towards social media, there is also a focus on infiltrating computers through these same social media sites. From Facebook posts that trick users in to downloading viruses to infected websites that have malware disguising itself as ads, we see the internet dangers are not limited to the “usual” suspects of file sharing and pornography. 

When looking at protection strategies and the best course of action to avoid issues, the answers may seem common, but are frequently ignored. Make sure of the following:

- Passwords are secure and changed on a regular basis
- Anti-virus software is up-to-date on all workstations and servers
- Firewalls have strong traffic policies to control communication
- Email is protected by anti-virus and spam filters
- There is a strong anti-spyware solution

There are countless available programs to help with the web filtering, including GFI Web Monitor. These programs can dramatically improve web security while also providing avenues for increased productivity through multiple options including: protecting the network by blocking unwanted downloads from malicious websites, predicting security threats by monitoring a website’s security through its reputation score, and monitoring and filtering web traffic based on known threats and threats disguising themselves as legitimate sites.  
While there are countless available solutions, the most important step is realizing there is a problem. When discussing web traffic, people default to being wary of file sharing and porn, but Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace are just seen as generic time-wasters. The biggest and best security protection plan can be done in by just one user clicking on a friend’s Facebook link without realizing the inherent dangers it may hold.

Kardon Technology offers multiple levels of monitoring and Anti-Virus solutions, with both the standard protection of our Kardon Care Membership, and as a stand-alone option. Contact us for available levels and pricing.

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