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Top 5 Network Security Threats for Small Businesses

written by: Ashwin Satyanarayana•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 7/4/2011

Small businesses are vulnerable not because there aren't technologies to help surmount problems, but because enterprise owners didn't even know that they have a problem. They only way they would know is when they are hit with it, real hard. What are the 5 top network related threats for a small biz?

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    It is often said that being unaware is like standing on the road stark naked and defiantly denying that you have no clothes on. Most small businesses are plagued not by the lack of tools that can help them combat their security glitches that threaten to bring their company down to knees, by their lack of awareness.

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    Known Vulnerabilities, but Nothing Being Done

    It’s like this glutton always knew he was extremely fat and wanted to slim down desperately, but rarely did anything about it. About 90% of the attacks happen due to the fact that some of the very well known vulnerabilities in network security aren’t paid attention to. Even if the vendors to the SMB might issue patches on a regular interval -- as a part of their service contract -- shortage of staff, or lack of initiative on the part of the SMB can lead to one of the most common threats to the SMB network.

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      Email

      The ubiquitous most-important but still cocky, trouble monger called email is still the number one channel for all the vermin on the virtual world to get to your systems. There was a time when all kinds of spyware, malware and other such threats came in attachments. The attachment trends moved to PDF and other files which were hitherto safe and now we have HTML enabled emails coming in with code in stealth. One of the primary reasons why most webmasters ask you if you need email in normal modes or HTML modes.

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      Unguarded Web Activity

      One thing is for sure, Internet threats don’t lurk in dark shadows and bad websites. They are also feeding off on the legitimate sites. So unguarded web surfing and reckless surfing might lead to serious infection on your corporate systems.

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      SQL Injections, Bot net attacks, and Compromised Servers

      Most of the IT managers and Small business owners don’t even know that their servers are just vulnerable to all these threats as are their individual systems. Little do they know that their servers can be victim to Bot net attacks or SQL attacks, notwithstanding DDOS or DOS attacks.

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      Lost Portable Devices

      Tremendous amount of data is lost through portable devices like CD, DVD, USB Sticks, Memory Cards, laptops and external hard-drives. Simple PIN locking mechanisms or encryption can actually help prevent data loss through these portable devices but again, most small businesses just don’t even consider this threat as a ‘threat" per se.