Responding to increased IT security threats

Tuesday 26 March 2013

With technology continuing to evolve at such a rapid rate, it can sometimes be difficult for companies to keep up. Particularly for small and medium-sized businesses, with limited funds for IT investment, there may be a number of competing priorities which mean firms spend less on their technology infrastructure than they would like.

Some technology investments can be put off until a later date, but other upgrades are essential if businesses want to ensure their PCs, networks and data are kept secure. Just as the range of online solutions is increasing at a rapid rate, so is the number of online threats.

Internet dangers are increasing in volume, but also in sophistication - meaning it is essential for companies to protect their systems. The use of solutions to guard against viruses, malware, spyware and hacker attacks is increasingly important as firms look to secure their systems and safeguard sensitive information.

Growing dangers for UK businesses

Fraudsters and other criminals are casting a wider net as they look for potential victims over the internet. While it is traditionally larger companies that have been targeted, online gangs see smaller businesses as the new frontier. They are targeting companies of all sizes, across a range of industries with advanced persistent threats. No company can afford to be complacent where IT security is concerned.

Attackers have increasing resources, allowing them to mount sustained attacks against businesses over a period of time. This heightens the need for firms to have technology solutions in place to rebuff attacks, but also embrace security-best practice in terms of in-house processes and operations.

Responding to the threat

In order to guard against sophisticated attacks, IT teams need to understand how their on-premise systems work and be able to identify potential vulnerabilities. Taking a proactive approach to IT security can help stay one step ahead of online gangs, and ensure confidential information does not leave the enterprise.

Business employees need to be educated on IT security, and aware of how their actions can strengthen or weaken their organisation's defences. If employees are aware of the key threats to the enterprise - and where human error could create problems - this can potentially reduce the risk of costly security breaches.

Using technology to reduce the risks

Anti-virus and anti-malware solutions protect PCs from the majority of internet-based risks, ensuring users can access the internet safely without jeopardising security. Businesses on a limited budget can take advantage of Microsoft Security Essentials, a free consumer anti-malware solution that acts as the first line of defence against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It is available as a no-cost download for Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

There is no registration process requiring billing or personal information collection. Security Essentials simply installs after a quick download and Genuine Windows validation. It then stays automatically up-to-date with the latest protection technology and signature updates, running quietly in the background. Scans are scheduled at times when the computer is most likely to be idle, and alerts only appear if there is a need to take action.

Posted by Steve Williams