As pointed out by this article, when it comes to network security, small business owners are often “hampered by a lack of resources, fewer qualified security personnel, less money to buy necessary products, and more difficulties complying with regulations that often were written without companies of their size in mind.” And, as pointed out in this article, a small business can be more of an attractive target for “spammers, botnet operators, and other attackers than a home user mainly because it has a treasure trove of valuable data without the sufficient IT and security resources to protect it.” In fact, as reported by Business Week, some small businesses can even become victims of identity theft.
Unfortunately, given the increase in sophisticated attacks made against small business owners, it is becoming more and more difficult for these owners to deploy suitable resources. One available option today to smaller companies is the “outsourcing” of security to a managed service provider. MSPs who are focused on security and IT management for small business owners have network security resources and expertise built as their core competency. Although it may seem to be the last thing a company would want to do, i.e., have another company take ownership over its network security, so long as the MSP is properly vetted and has clear staying power, there is little difference between using a MSP for data security or using a bank for financial security.
Although law firms have been hit with network security attacks over the years and sustained significant losses in the process, it has never been the case that they were targeted simply because they chose the wrong side in a litigation. That is until now. According to this report, an exploit took place weeks after “filtering software firm CYBERsitter announced that it had retained Gipson Hoffman & Pancione to sue the Chinese government, two Chinese software developers and seven PC makers for allegedly distributing its software code as part of the Chinese state-sponsored filtering and monitoring program known as Green Dam Youth Escort.”
There are reports of other attacks that were recently launched against Google and Yahoo! in order to retrieve account information regarding Chinese dissidents. According to a report in The Economic Times, McAfee has stated that the Google attack exploited an Explorer flaw. It will be interesting to see how these “China” exploits pan out in the coming weeks.
With unemployment now stretching past 10%, the Ponemon Institute “Data Loss Risks During Downsizing” survey conducted last year is more relevant than ever. This survey found that 59% of employees who leave or are asked to leave a company are stealing proprietary or sensitive corporate data. Moreover, 79% of these respondents admit that their former employer did not permit them to leave with company data. Not surprisingly, 67% of respondents used their former company’s proprietary information to leverage a new job.
If you are a larger middle-market company, another “below the radar” IT risk factor that may be impacting you may be driven by the cost savings inherent in using virtualized servers and desktops. A security breach in a virtualized environment can have greater consequences than the same breach in a traditional IT environment because it is much more difficult to localize or isolate a virtualized IT environment. This report gives further detail regarding the security threat and astutely points out that no one really understands where the real security problems can be found; and therefore, is the real problem.