Part II of our interview Alexey Belkin, chief software architect at Agnitum
BH: Are there any added challenges for small business users that might be running multiple operating systems, given that many companies might still be making the leap from Windows XP to Windows Vista?
AB: Not really. There are specific issues with this or that platform but they aren’t characteristic of just the corporate environment. On the other hand, some OS’s create huge troubles for all security vendors, for example, the notorious kernel patch protection in Windows Vista/Server 2008 x64 systems.
BH: How important is it for a small business user to keep the various security software applications up to date?
AB: Crucially important, especially in small companies where there’s no dedicated IT staff who could get hold of the situation and everyone acts as a self-appointed system administrator. An outdated security application is a non-existent one. This particularly applies to antivirus software whose value is, in fact, updates, awareness of new and recent malware samples. However, to keep the renewal and update cycle consolidated and – which is more important – to avoid multiple compatibility issues, it’s highly recommended to use all-in-one solutions from a single vendor rather than a random set of security measures from various manufacturers.
BH: Given that the economic slowdown means belt tightening, how important is it to stress to corporate users not to shortchange the security applications in place?
AB: It’s essential to understand that saving a buck on information security may lead to losing thousands due to data leaks, identity theft and disclosure of trade secrets. And the bigger the company, the more intimidating are the consequences. An economic slowdown is always a bidirectional process: someone suffers losses and someone capitalizes upon it. What makes people think cyber-crooks are unable to turn things to their advantage here?
Besides, the majority of modern security solutions are reasonably priced, and vendors provide even greater discounts to wholesale customers. I’m not sure about our colleagues and competitors, but Agnitum hasn’t pushed up prices for foreign markets since 2002 – and that is despite all crises and colliders
BH: What does Agnitum see as the greatest potential online threats to a small business today?
AB: This may sound paradoxically, but it looks like the greatest potential threat to a user’s PC, no matter home-based or corporate, is modern means of communication and, in fact, the user’s negligence. All wide-spread malware and PC intrusion techniques are well known to the security industry insiders. The notion of a hacker as an antisocial nerd spending lone days and nights on software gibberish is rather obsolete. The modern hacker is sly and communicative, (s)he got used to the new tool – social networks and social engineering.
The user culture and threat alertness have obviously made a good step forward. Nevertheless, isn’t it seducing to open a link from a MySpace buddy? Will many people bother to think twice before entering credit card details? And what about download portals and ‘breaking news’? There’s still a lot of educational work to do, and it’s another vendors’ responsibility. It’s crucially important not only to provide an effective protection mechanism but to make people aware of the entire complex of existing Internet threats.
This post is part of the series: Alexey Belkin of Agnitum Talks about SMB Security
An interview with Alexey Belkin, Chief Software Architect at Agnitum.