Importance of Cybersecurity for Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs)
Small businesses often need to run lean to maintain their profit margins and the capital they need to expand and adjust. Sometimes, however, this results in sacrificing strong security systems for free offerings that may not fully meet their needs. In some instances, the cybersecurity tools smaller businesses use are the same ones that are designed for individual users.
There is a better way. Regardless of the size of your business, you can get the tools you need to safeguard your digital assets. What follows is your small business cybersecurity best practice guide. Read on to find cybersecurity tips for small businesses and some of the specific SMB cybersecurity tools you can use to tighten your defenses against hackers and breaches.
Empowering Small and Medium Businesses with Technology
There are many types of cybersecurity solutions for SMBs, and getting the right kinds of security hardware or software can empower your business to maximize its potential without sacrificing safety. The key is to choose the technology that will keep you one step ahead of attackers and the diverse mix of threats on the landscape.
The good news is this is not as difficult as you think, especially because these tools have been created to meet a wide range of cyber dangers. Whether you want to protect employees who use email, your business’s applications, websites, or endpoints, there are several options to choose from.
Essential Cybersecurity Tools for SMBs
The cybersecurity tools you choose will vary based on the design of your network. But regardless of how your digital infrastructure is set up, you have plenty of options for protecting it. The first step is to identify the most valuable digital assets, as well as where your network may be the most vulnerable.
For many modern businesses, the most glaring vulnerabilities are found in the endpoints that connect to their network as opposed to the network’s internal assets. Spending some time analyzing who and what connects to your network and how data flows through it makes it easier to maximize your protection. Here are some tools you can use to protect your business from ransomware, phishing, hackers, and other types of threats.
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
Endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions make it easy to detect devices that connect to your network and respond to threats that the system recognizes.
For example, if someone connects to your network and they have malicious intentions, your endpoint detection and response system can provide detailed information about the device that connected, as well as data about its activity while joined to your network. In addition to preventing unwanted users and devices from joining your network, an EDR tool is also a powerful for gathering forensic information after a data breach. You can analyze the logs created by the system to see who connected and determine whether or not they were responsible for the breach.
Although antivirus software has traditionally been very good at combating computer viruses, modern antivirus solutions also do a great job of defending against other kinds of threats. A robust antivirus program can catch a variety of malware attacks by checking your computer for evidence of known threats.
Antivirus software uses existing profiles of attacks that have impacted users. It checks your system to see if these kinds of malicious programs are on your computer, inform you about unwanted elements, and get rid of them. Consequently, with the right antivirus software, you may be able to defend yourself from many of the most dangerous threats on the cyber landscape.
Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)
Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) provide broad protections against an array of threats, while also making it easier for outside users to enjoy secure connections to your network. They work by inspecting data packets as they are sent to and from your network. If a known threat is detected, your NGFW can automatically discard the problematic data packet.
Also, the right kind of next-generation firewall uses machine learning that can pinpoint malicious behavior. In this way, even zero-day attacks can be stopped because the nature of the malicious code can be detected without the system having to have been informed of its existence beforehand.
An NGFW can also be used to set up a virtual private network (VPN).
Domain Name System (DNS) Protection
Domain Name System (DNS) protection gives you an extra layer of defense by preventing employees from accessing dangerous websites. These systems can also filter out content you do not want infiltrating your network—as well as content you would prefer your users to not access.
For example, if an employee habitually accesses a website with known threats in their private time, they may try to connect to that same site while at work. Your DNS protection service can prevent them from connecting to it while they are on your network.
Email Gateway Security
With email gateway security, you can prevent undesirable email from infiltrating the accounts of your users. This includes both irritating email like spam and more direct threats, such as emails containing malware.
For instance, suppose you have another small office connected to your main base of operations through a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) and you want to ensure all users are protected, regardless of where they are. With an email gateway security system, while they are using your small business’s email service, they will not receive the kinds of messages you identify as dangerous or unwanted. This keeps threats outside your network while also ensuring email storage space is not wasted on spam.
Intrusion Detection and Prevention (IDS/IPS)
Intrusion detection and response systems work by examining the content of data packets as they attempt to enter your network. This makes it different from a traditional firewall, which examines information inside the headers of data packets.
With an intrusion detection and prevention system, you can block many different types of threats, especially if your system uses a comprehensive threat intelligence platform to identify malicious code.
Logging and Log Monitoring
Logging the events that impact your network and monitoring activity can make it easier to stop threats and figure out how they penetrated your system in the event of a breach. The logs provide detailed information, including time-stamped descriptions of activity, which makes correlating attacks with the devices or users that may have been the cause far easier.
Endpoint protection focuses on ensuring that the laptops, desktops, and mobile devices that connect to your network are secure. This is especially important when you have remote workers logging in to your network. Because you have no idea which kinds of threats their devices may be exposed to when not connected to your system, it is hard to defend against the threats they may pose.
With endpoint protection, you can strengthen the defenses of each device that users connect to your network, effectively extending the boundaries of your internal defenses.
With an authentication service, you can keep unwanted users and hackers from getting into your network. This is done by outlining a privileged access management (PAM) system that forces users to authenticate their identities before connecting to your system.
Using a VPN is a straightforward way of preventing potentially dangerous users from gaining access to your digital assets. With a VPN, not only can you require all users to present login credentials, but you can also encrypt all the data that gets exchanged between them and your system. In this way, their devices, as well as your network, are protected from external threats.
Cloud-based security is a broad term that refers to the technologies and policies used to protect cloud-based assets from cyberattacks. These kinds of solutions safeguard cloud resources, such as your:
- Cloud infrastructure
Web Application Firewalls
Web application firewalls (WAFs) keep your web-based applications protected from hackers that may try to infiltrate them to steal information or exploit a vulnerability in a web app. All traffic being sent to and going from your web service is filtered, and if a threat is detected, the data associated with it can be discarded automatically.
Many small and medium businesses use WAFs to protect their web assets from hackers, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and other internet threats.
Software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) give you the ability to control the way traffic is managed with granular detail. Using SD-WAN, you can optimize how your digital resources are used, ensuring adequate support and cyber safety at the same time. Instead of your traffic traveling through your network randomly, you can tell certain kinds of data to go one place while sending other kinds somewhere else. This results in a more stable, safer experience for users.
With SD-WAN, you can also reduce the expense associated with bandwidth because you get more out of your current service.
Enterprise Password Management/Privileged Access Management (PAM)
With enterprise password management and PAM, you gain control over the activities and identities of all users and devices that interface with your network. Only those granted access credentials are allowed to interact with your network, and if their activity becomes problematic, you can revoke their privileges.
Also, if a user no longer qualifies, such as when they have been terminated from your company, you can easily ensure they are no longer able to get into your system.
Vulnerability and Threat Management
Vulnerability and threat management involves reducing your business's exposure to threats, as well as making sure endpoints are adequately secured and your company is resilient in the event of a breach. This requires a systematic approach involving technologies, such as endpoint protection tools, policies, and people.
Vulnerability assessment also requires a system for reporting issues, enabling you to address weaknesses and prevent serious breaches down the road.
Threat detection involves analyzing all the assets connected to your network, as well as the network itself, for suspicious activity, applications, and users. A threat detection system leverages the data generated by various events on your network to identify cyber safety concerns. It can also involve a sandbox, which contains threats in an isolated environment, keeping them away from sensitive areas of your network. While the threat is within this controlled environment, its activity is carefully monitored, allowing admins to study and learn from it.
How Fortinet Can Help
The Fortinet Security Fabric provides SMBs with comprehensive protection against a vast variety of cyber threats by protecting your network from several different angles simultaneously. The Security Fabric safeguards:
- Cloud security assets
- Devices on the edge of your network
- Your business users
The Fortinet Security Fabric combines zero-trust, automatically scaling cloud security, and security-driven networking to keep unwanted users and traffic from interrupting your business operations.
What are the tools required for cybersecurity?
The tools required for cybersecurity include endpoint detection and response (EDR), antivirus software, next-generation firewalls (NGFWs), Domain Name System (DNS) protection, email gateway security, intrusion detection and prevention, logging and log monitoring, endpoint protection, authentication services and virtual private network (VPN), cloud-based security, web application firewalls (WAFs), software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN), enterprise password management, privileged access management (PAM), vulnerability and threat management, and threat detection.
How do I secure my small business network?
You can secure your small business network by using a combination of security tools based on your network’s structure, digital assets, and balance of cloud and on-premises systems.
What are the security tools used in storing business tools?
Some of the security tools used in storing business tools include next-generation firewalls and web application firewalls, which protect your business assets from malicious users, websites, and software.