The most important aspect of business is security. In the internet age, it is possible to run a multi-million dollar business without ever having a single customer. However, no business can survive unless it protects its information. How to protect your network? One answer: encryption.
If you run a business, don’t rely on your security being enough. Security isn’t just about protecting your network against external threats. It’s also about protecting your network against insiders who want to steal from you.
The most important aspect of security isn’t “making sure the firewall is up”. The most important aspect is making sure that there are no backdoors in your security software. If someone has put a backdoor in your network, then even if everything else is 100% secure, that person might be able to get the data out of it.
Why? “Because” is not a good answer for how to protect against hackers. The best answer to why someone would do something is “because they can.”
Although the recent bank heist in Johannesburg may be the most visible high-profile case of a breach of business security, it is far from the only such incident on record.
In fact, every year thousands of businesses are victims of cyber attacks and frauds. Although some business owners take steps to protect their networks against external intruders, many others do not.
Statistics indicate that businesses are less organized than they were two years ago, and many more people have access to the Internet than did in 2000. Yet despite these changes, it is estimated that 80% of corporate networks remain unsecure. This statistic speaks volumes about how serious a problem security is for most organizations.
Business owners should consider these statistics seriously when planning any network-related projects. These statistics serve as an alarm bell for businesses, but more importantly they serve as a means to alert business owners to the various risks involved with setting up a centralized corporate network.
A lot of people are confused about this. A lot of people think that it’s a good idea to have a security system, but at the same time don’t understand why it’s important. The reason is that most of the time, when people talk about security, they’re talking about companies and other institutions that have secrets to protect.
But what if your network has secrets to protect? You can still use encryption: it makes no difference whether you’re a small business or a large multinational firm.
Most businesses would benefit from encryption. Most companies have sensitive information on computers, in the office and at home. This is not just “duh.” It’s a fact that we need to understand better, because there are so many politicians who do not understand why it is so important for these things to be encrypted.
If you look at statistics for the first half of 2013, encrypting systems were used by 82% of companies. They’ve been used in one form or another for over a decade.
Companies like banks and credit card companies act as a kind of shield that protects your money from getting into the hands of thieves. Banks therefore deserve an unusually high level of respect. But all these shields are made of chain link, not steel. If you’ve ever seen a bank heist movie, you have probably seen a scene in which the hero puts his hand through a chainlink fence. In reality, there is no such thing as chainlink security.
You can’t make money without trust. The world’s supply of trust is far greater than its supply of money. So you must protect your money with more than just a chainlink fence; you must also protect yourself against hackers who use computers to hack computers to hack computers. You need to protect your network against external attacks and internal attacks alike.
At some point, every business needs to start thinking about security. How do you protect your data? How do you make sure that your network won’t be hacked or hijacked? How do you make sure that the computer systems you use can’t be taken over?
If any of these things is not top priority for your business, there is something wrong with it. If it’s not a priority, then in the long term, it will become a problem. If it’s not a problem today but it will be tomorrow, then today is the day to start thinking about it.
You can either be a security expert who tries to stop hackers from breaking into your network and stealing your data, or you can be a hacker who tries to break into other people’s networks. If you’re a network administrator, you have to choose between two things: how much attention you want to give the hackers and how much attention you want to give the network administrators.
The choice is not an obvious one. It’s not like there are two equally good ways of doing it. Many people think that security experts should focus on the hackers and ignore the administrators, or vice versa. But this is false—if you’ve chosen security over administration, your job is to protect both groups equally, because both groups are equally vulnerable.