With companies becoming more and more visible on the open internet, security is becoming more critical than ever. There was a time when robberies were a big deal, and theft was done in person. Today, the internet is a host to many such thieves with a strong interest in gaining any information they can from businesses and their networks. This can include names, phone numbers and personal information such as billing and credit card information.
But how severe is the risk you ask? Surely your business is safe. According to news and statistics, about 60% of all small businesses are hacked each year costing millions upon millions in damages. And it is only getting worse. But fret not, because there are ways to protect yourself and your business!
The simplest and easiest way to protect you and your data is to review your password. Many passwords are not nearly as strong as people thing they are. Did you know there is not really much difference between ‘password’ and ‘P@ssW0rd’? Sure, the second looks more secure and difficult, however it will take marginally longer to crack. Each character you add to the length of a password increases its difficulty by a factor, which means a password with 8 characters long may take 7 minutes to crack, whereas a 9 character long password now takes 5 hours, and a 10 character password a week.
So how do you make a secure password? Well, one of the best ways is to pick two or three words that have meaning to you that you can easily remember and string them together. ‘securityisimportant’ for example even though it is all lowercase would take an estimated 607 million years to break. Mix up a few letters with numbers and now its 9 quadrillion years. You get the idea.
Want to test your password? Visit https://howsecureismypassword.net and see for yourself.
The next important part of securing your network is with proper equipment. These days, your average teenager can hack into a home wifi router. You would be surprised as to how many businesses actually use home routers and similar equipment to save money. Those savings come at the cost of security. As a network professional, I recommend all businesses consider investing in a firewall or secure router, such as a Sonicwall TZ 300 or better. There are quite a few acceptable vendors that provide strong security solutions, but they do come at a cost. Your typical Sonicwall for example can run from about $600 upwards of several thousands depending on the business need. But what you get along with it is peace of mind that your network is secure. These devices are -much- more difficult to penetrate from outside and greatly lowers the risk of a successful hack or attack.
The next thing you should look at is if there is any remote access to the network. These days most businesses want to remotely access work resources such as their computer or network assets like files and folders from the comfort of their home or wherever they happen to be. If done properly through a security device, this is usually OK. However, the best choice is to just say No to any remote access. Each time you open a doorway, you are making yourself more visible on the internet and giving hackers a new way in. Asking your IT support to change the port numbers helps, but even then most hackers can see what each port is and what protocols are running on it, and bypass your security device completely. It just is not worth the risk unless it is absolutely necessary.
If you feel you may be vulnerable and you wish to have us take a look at your network to evaluate the risks, then please reach out to us at Frankenstein Computers. What we can do is provide a clear breakdown of the weaknesses of your network and how we can help secure your business from possible intrusion before it is too late.
We can provide remediation of PCI scans, as well as provide our own scanning solutions to help evaluate potential issues, and provide a report and resolution matrix, as well as a plan of action. Protect your business today!
Blog by Matthew Ragsdale, CISSP
Frankenstein Computers has been taking care of our happy clients since 1999. We specialize in IT Support, IT Service, MAC repair, PC Repair, Virus Removal, web design and much more. Give us a call for remote support or drop in to drop off.