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Securing Your Business Online

The biggest challenge facing small business when it comes to online security is the uncertain nature of the threat.

To secure online computer systems, the best option for small business owners is to do the research necessary so that they can specifically identify what security measures will be the most cost-effective and the most efficient.

Administrators should see briefing information as often as possible. Here are some things to consider if you are concerned about your company’s online security.

Public-Facing Servers

A public-facing server is any machine that is connected to a business network that can be accessed by a visitor from the Internet with or without login credentials.

This machine could be a web server, a mail server or a database server or any other kind of system that responds to requests from other machines on the Internet.

Securing a public-facing server is far more a process of eliminating vulnerabilities then it is hardening the system against a specific kind of attack.

For example, a mail server should only respond to other mail servers. It should not have unnecessary services like FTP or a web server running because those open ports provide attackers with more opportunities to find a vulnerability.

Transactional Networks

When any business computer accesses a second computer across a network to request or store information, it is known as a “transaction.” The businesses that use these kinds of systems most often are banks and financial institutions. ATM machines perform
billions of these transactions a day. For other kinds of businesses, POS machines, financial services terminals and inventory tracking machines often perform similar network communications.

The challenge with a transactional network is to recognize the vulnerability. Other machines on a business network can, often without the necessary credentials, “see” these transactions taking place. It then becomes possible to spoof one or more transactions in order to get access to either the client or server systems. Once an attacker has identified a vulnerable machine, the entire network can be compromised.

Databases

The conventional wisdom holds that in any network attack, all the most valuable information is in the database. Because enterprise-class databases have security and permissions systems with granular settings, and because those settings can be a tremendous source of confusion for administrators, it is very easy for certain kinds of data to be vulnerable and end up in the hands of an
attacker.

Network security starts with database security. If a business does nothing else to secure their networks, they must have a competent and experienced database administrator on hand to establish top-flight protocols for the database software, servers, and hardware. All things considered, this is the most productive step a company can take to secure their online systems.

Network security is time-consuming and expensive, but taking the necessary steps to protect your data and servers from vulnerabilities and attacks is worth the time and the money.

Written By

Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.

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