“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive,” wrote Andy Groves, former CEO of semiconductor giant Intel. In today’s connected world, a little healthy dose of paranoia might save wholesale companies from serious damage by hackers and viruses coming in over their network – or from doing damage to others.
With resellers and vendors increasingly expecting to use digital exchanges for doing business, the network security of your Los Angeles distribution company affects not only you, but also them. Nobody will thank you for passing on a digital infection or leaking confidential information they entrusted to you.
3 Types of Network Threats
A simple way to understand the different types of network security threats is to group them into the following 3 categories:
- Active Threats. These include cyber-criminal attempts to gain immediate access to your data and/or resources, and computer viruses, worms and Trojan horses – all examples of malware, meaning software designed to damage your systems or facilitate the theft of your information.
- Passive Threats. Some malware is made to find its way into systems and lie in wait for “interesting” information, such as users’ IDs and passwords. A recent development, the Advanced Persistent Threat or APT, can even lead to the whole of an organization’s IT resources being surreptitiously controlled by an external hacker.
- Distributed Attacks. By using several external systems, hackers can bombard a company’s IT servers with communications that either make the servers inaccessible to genuine users or reduce their performance to a crawl. If you also are using VoIP (Voice over IP) telephone systems, you may be doubly vulnerable to this kind of attack.
Know Your Enemies
Hackers and cybercriminals have different ways of attacking you via the network. Protection comes from both network security technology such as network firewalls and computer anti-virus software, as well as taking advantage of gaps in policies for personnel. If they cannot get in by the digital door, hackers may try to penetrate your enterprise network through social engineering.
By masquerading as helpless users, internal support staff, or third-party service providers, they can often acquire access to information simply by asking staff members for it. Training your personnel to use due caution about divulging such information is important. Remember too that a threat may come from the inside – for example, a disgruntled employee.
Besides working to ensure employee happiness and loyalty, make sure that the possibilities of deliberate damage are also kept to a minimum. Put appropriate internal “need-to-know” protection and security authorizations in place.
New Challenges to Network Security
As businesses increasingly use the Cloud and mobile computing for their flexibility and cost-efficiency, challenges to network security change too. Mobility and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) computing is a case in point.
By allowing employees to use their own mobile computing devices such as tablets and smartphones for handling business information, Los Angeles wholesalers must suitably limit the confidentiality of the data being downloaded. Security solutions that also control the extent to which an employee can pass the data on to another user needs to be in place.
Putting Solutions in Place
To put the right security in place, you need to know what the major vulnerabilities and risks are for your enterprise. Whether or not an enterprise has in-house network security expertise in place, a competent external partner can also provide an expert, objective eye.
Trusted third party services can then help in selecting the right solutions (ensuring the right balance between protection and budget), installing and configuring them, and ensuring they remain up to date and effective into the future.
Keep in mind, just because you don’t think you have anything a hacker would value, doesn’t mean you’re not a target! It’s not a matter of if you’ll be attacked, but rather when. So the question is, what have you done to mitigate your risk and minimize the damage when it does happen?
Which network security threats has your Los Angeles wholesale company experienced? How did you deal with them? Tell us your war stories in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.