Today, many businesses worry about data breaches, theft and other losses of information and intellectual property. Security breaches can severely damage a business’ reputation and financial well-being. So, looking toward 2018, it’s critical businesses both large and small adopt security solutions to protect themselves from potential breaches.
Different types of security systems can help businesses protect their assets and prevent losses. Whether it’s cyber-security, alarms, video surveillance or access control, security systems are customizable to meet a business’ most critical security needs and provide optimal protection.
When thinking about security solutions for businesses, companies should choose a trusted security system that makes sense for their unique needs. With hackers’ methods becoming increasingly sophisticated, expert guidance is critical when formulating a security strategy.
Keeping your business safe both digitally and physically is paramount. Read on for information on top business security solutions for small and large businesses.
Part 1: Security Solutions for Small Businesses
Most small businesses don’t consider themselves prime targets for cyber-criminals and hackers. But small businesses are as valuable a target to cyber-criminals as large businesses. According to Kataku, 62 percent of cyber-attack victims in recent times have been small and medium-sized businesses. Many small business owners believe they’re not a target for cyber-criminals. Unfortunately, this is a mistaken belief. Here are some factors that make small businesses vulnerable to cyber-attacks:
1. Hackers expect security loopholes and weak cyber-security.
Most hackers consider small businesses an easy target since they often don’t have robust security and cyber-security systems. Small business’ protection limitations may be due to lack of trained security staff, weak infrastructure or lack of investment in cyber-security systems. And, unfortunately, this assumption is often correct — small and medium-sized businesses reported cutting spending on security by 20 percent in 2014.
Small businesses need to consider all potential security vulnerabilities. Even something as simple as employees accessing company materials through a non-secure Wi-Fi connection can open a company up to devastating security breaches.
2. Small businesses often have access to large amounts of valuable data
Cyber-criminals want data, no matter the source. If your company handles data that could be potentially valuable to a cyber-criminal — everything from credit card data, to personal information, to intellectual property — you’re automatically a target for hackers.
Also, your potential as a cyber-attack victim isn’t limited to your data. If your company works with big companies or is the back door to a larger company’s data, a cyber-criminal may try to breach your offices or systems to gain access to a larger data pool. Having a non-secured system opens your partner up to breaches as well, which, in the event of a cyber-attack, can ruin a small company’s reputation. If your company frequently interacts or partners with larger companies, it’s critical to invest in strong security to avoid compromises.
3. Small businesses don't think of themselves as targets
If small businesses assume they’re not a target for security breaches, they can fail to equip themselves properly to combat security threats, making them an attractive target for criminals. Imagine a burglar looking to rob a house. Would the burglar pick the home in the neighborhood equipped with alarms, cameras and a comprehensive, high-tech security system? Or the unarmed house with no cameras?
Unfortunately, the impact of security attacks on small businesses is usually so debilitating that companies never recover. Small businesses have fewer resources and rely much more on reputation than many large businesses, making it harder for them to bounce back in the event of a breach.
How Can Small Businesses Plan For A Cyber Attack
Fortunately, there are plenty of cyber-security options for small businesses, and multiple strategies companies can take to identify and manage security risks. But planning is key — business owners should plan for the worst-case scenario, so they’re prepared if disaster strikes. Businesses that don’t manage risks or adequately plan for potential issues can be caught off-guard and unprepared to respond in the event of a breach.
When coming up with your business’ risk management plan, the first step is to identify all potential risks. By understanding all risks, you can make better decisions about what type of security your company needs.
● Employees: In many ways, employees are a company’s most important asset. But they also are one of a company’s biggest risks. Whether it’s carelessness — like leaving a computer screen unlocked or leaving confidential files out after hours — or intentional, like a breach by a disgruntled employee or other insider threats — employees can pose a major security threat to your facilities, systems and data. Besides monitoring potential threats, it’s also important to educate and train employees in security basics. Uninformed employees are more likely to do things that can compromise security — whether it’s opening suspicious emails, visiting unauthorized websites or creating weak passwords.
● Unprotected information: With information being stored in many forms, from paper to computer, there are lots of opportunities for criminals to steal data. Often, physical data isn’t well protected — it can be stored in unlocked file cabinets or left out on employee desks. Additionally, many small businesses store data in computer systems without encryption, making the data easily accessible by cyber-criminals. Proper data protection measures are essential for keeping businesses protected and secure. Whether it’s locking confidential files away after use, or setting up multi-factor authentication to access IT systems, it’s critical small businesses take steps to keep information protected.
● Weak passwords: Passwords are a key part of keeping criminals from accessing your systems. Unfortunately, employee passwords often aren’t strong enough to prevent breaches, which is definitely a problem with small businesses. Small companies often have limited employees or IT staff, and don’t have password requirements or update schedules that are as rigorous as larger companies with more robust security procedures. Employers should require their employees to create strong passwords and change them regularly, such as every 30 or 60 days.
● Unsecured devices and third-party service providers: Technology systems are growing increasingly complex. More devices, like printers and routers, are connected to company networks. More businesses are outsourcing IT work, like system support and maintenance, to outside vendors. Though these devices help businesses be more effective and efficient, they can leave loopholes for attackers to gain access to critical systems and data. Network devices often do not receive the same security patches and updates as main systems, leaving them with unattended vulnerabilities. Third-party service providers use remote access tools to connect to a company’s network and systems, but don’t always follow security practices that are as stringent or comprehensive as the prime company. So, with little effort, an attacker has many potential ways to access a business’ secure information.
● Mobile devices: Mobile devices have made it possible for businesses to do their work from any location, allowing them to be quicker and more efficient. But mobile devices also present a security issue. Besides being easy to steal and hack, mobile devices are vulnerable to infiltration. More and more employers are allowing their staff to use their own devices at work, many of which don’t have the same security level as company property. This weak spot increases the likelihood of breaches, exposure to malware and loss of privacy.
● Skill gaps: IT is constantly evolving, requiring increasingly in-depth IT knowledge and skills to combat increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks. But many small businesses don’t have the specialized IT staff needed to help identify and combat security vulnerabilities. Without staff with the most current security knowledge, it’s difficult for businesses to keep their IT systems safe from the threat of hackers.
Despite the security challenges facing small businesses today, companies can take steps to secure their systems and facilities. By taking the time to identify risks, companies can come up with effective strategies for preventing and combating security breaches.
Some of the most effective security solutions for small businesses are cyber-security and small-scale video surveillance. Read on for more information on each solution, and to learn how each can benefit your business.
Cyber-Security Options For Small Businesses
Almost a quarter of cyber-attacks target small businesses. Cyber-criminals know small businesses often don’t have the security infrastructure of larger corporations or haven’t made investments in cyber-security strategies and hardware. Any company that conducts business online can be a target for malicious hackers. While a security breach affects any company negatively, small businesses, in particular, can face devastating losses in the event of a cyber-attack.
With cyber-attacks becoming more and more sophisticated, small businesses need to take steps to prevent them. Here are a few key components of a strong cyber-security program.
● Malware protection: According to Symantec, cyber-attackers deployed more than 286 million malware programs, like viruses and spyware, in 2010. And the sophistication of these attacks is only growing. To protect from malware attacks, small businesses need to ensure all their PCs and servers have a comprehensive, up-to-date cyber-security program.
● Firewall protection: Hackers look for unprotected computers and networks. Using automated programs, they can search for vulnerable systems and quickly deploy agents to distribute viruses, spam, and other attacks. In fact, Symantec recorded nearly 60 million attempts to hack into business and home computers in a single 24-hour period. The best way to protect from this type of intrusion is with a firewall, which protects your computers and servers from unauthorized network traffic. Firewalls will scan all inbound and outbound communications to ensure information being sent through them complies with security specifications. All systems should have a software firewall running at all times. Some operating systems include built-in firewall protection, but often, additional third-party products are required to provide optimum protection.
● Encryption: Even with the best network protections, it’s still possible for criminals to breach your systems. Laptops and mobile devices are vulnerable to theft, and data can be forwarded via email. It’s all too easy for your information to fall into the wrong hands. Small businesses should protect their data with an encryption program, which uses algorithms to encrypt data when it’s saved or stored, preventing users from accessing it unless they have a password or other required authentication. With encryption, your information is safe, even if the device or file falls into the wrong hands.
● Data backup: Information is a company’s most valuable asset. Any loss of data, whether it’s a hack, stolen device or equipment failure, can have a huge negative impact on your business. You can avoid the harmful effects of a data loss by backing up your computers and servers. Services are available to back computers up to the cloud automatically, or companies can install backup programs through different software providers. Either way, the most important thing is making sure you have a way to back up your data, so you’re protected in the event of a loss.
● Physical security: Cyber-security isn’t just about systems. Maintaining a physical watch over your premises is one of the best ways to ensure your systems stay protected. Whether it’s an onsite security guard or video surveillance system, a physical security presence is an ideal way to prevent a loss of hardware or information.
● Employee education: It’s important to keep employees up-to-date on cyber-security procedures and potential threats. In many cases, devastating, network-wide cyber-attacks start from a single source — like an employee clicking on a suspicious link in a phishing email. Every business should train employees not to open any suspicious messages, to take care to lock computers and other devices and to complete antivirus updates as instructed.
Small-Scale Video Surveillance For Small Businesses
Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to attempt to compromise business security. Businesses must figure out methods to keep property and assets protected and out of the hands of criminals. Video surveillance systems are one of the best ways to keep your business protected.
Today’s video surveillance systems offer advanced features like motion sensors and automatic mobile notifications. In the event of a break-in or theft, video footage from a surveillance system can help law enforcement track down criminals and recover assets. And visible video surveillance equipment can also deter criminals from attempting a break-in. In many cases, having a video surveillance system on your property may lower your insurance premiums.
Surveillance systems don’t just deter criminals and assist law enforcement with investigations. They can also help business owners monitor productivity and ensure employees are accountable. So while there’s an upfront cost to purchasing and installing a video surveillance system, there are long-term benefits on many levels that can save costs.
The best video surveillance for small businesses should go beyond just intrusion detection. Business owners should look for a system that monitors both the inside and outside perimeters of their business.
Here are a few additional things to consider when choosing security services for buildings.
Your cameras need to be high-quality enough to give you a clear, identifiable image, so you can see what’s happening at your business site. The camera’s frame rate will determine how smooth the video is — cameras with a higher frame rate will have a smoother video because they take footage more continuously.
Consider whether you need cameras for both indoor and outdoor locations, and how strong the light source is. These factors will affect how high-resolution of a camera you need, and whether you need to get weatherproof or low-light infrared cameras. Also, consider whether your cameras need audio recording. Some systems even offer two-way audio, allowing the person watching the camera to communicate with someone onsite where the camera is recording.
Consider how much storage you’ll need, and where you want to house the data. This decision will depend on the number of cameras in your system, the resolution of the cameras and the amount of footage you want to store. Cloud-based video surveillance systems allow businesses to store large amounts of data offsite and set backups for the data as needed.
With a cloud system, you won’t have to store data on any physical devices, like CDs or tapes. You can still access the data whenever you need, but know it’s secure in the event of any loss or damage. With cloud storage, you can set uploads to be automatic, rather than requiring manual updates. By allowing business owners to schedule updates for non-peak business hours, cloud-based storage ensures file uploads don’t slow down the network.
In many cases, businesses may want their security systems tied into contacts for local law enforcement services, so emergency responders can take action quickly in the event of a break-in or intrusion. Some services even offer video event verification, which can notify security operators if an unscheduled event occurs, allowing the operator to verify the event before law enforcement is called.
With the right video surveillance system, you can keep your business protected from theft, intrusion or other losses.
Part 2: Security Solutions For Big Businesses & Corporations
Large businesses, franchises, and corporations face many of the same security threats as small and medium-sized businesses. Large companies with a prominent brand name may be attractive targets for hackers and criminals, as potential attackers know they have lots of valuable data and assets. Cyber-criminals also may take advantage of a large company’s expansive facilities or network to search for loopholes or other vulnerabilities they can take advantage of.
Here are some threats facing big businesses and corporations in today’s business landscape.
1. Insider Muse
Unapproved or malicious use of business resources, such as intellectual property or information, is a major security problem facing large businesses today. These types of security breaches are very difficult to prevent since businesses must grant employees access to proprietary information, systems and assets for the employees to do their jobs.
For example, employees can use email or USB drives to transmit company information to personal accounts. In a large pool of employees, it can be difficult to identify and stop potential bad actors.
2. Theft & Loss
Loss of company assets, whether it’s information, intellectual property or physical devices that store proprietary company data, is a constant threat to big businesses and corporations. Loss of company assets and information can occur through theft, employee carelessness or accidents.
Regardless of the method, theft and loss can damage a company’s business, financial well-being, and credibility. Smart companies will ensure they have backed up all information and encrypted all devices to minimize potential losses.
3. Cyber Attacks
Web attacks are the most common type of data breach. Using malware, phishing techniques, and other hacking methods, attackers can steal valuable and confidential information from companies. Large businesses often have access to large amounts of data cyber-criminals value.
Without strong cyber-security measures and employee education on potential threats, businesses are at increased risk for a cyber-attack that can severely damage their companies.
Corporate Enterprise Solutions
Larger companies with confidential data, valuable assets and proprietary intellectual property to protect must make security a priority.
1. Utilize Burglar and Panic Alarms
Security alarms can help businesses stop intrusions before they happen. When criminals know a business has a security alarm in place, they’re much less likely to attempt a break-in, since the alarm will sound and notify law enforcement of the disturbance.
When paired with motion sensors, security alarms are a powerful tool in identifying intruders and alerting both intruders and responders when an intrusion occurs. Here are a few benefits that come from installing panic alarms for businesses.
Protection of assets: Security alarms help companies prevent loss of assets. If you have multiple work locations or equipment that sits in unsecured or remote locations, a commercial alarm system is an excellent way to deter intruders and protect your property from afar. By installing a security system, you can protect your locations and assets, no matter where you are.
Identification of risks: Alarm systems can help businesses identify potential security threats and determine what other security measures may be needed to protect your business. When combined with a surveillance system, alarm systems are helpful in discovering what threats, both internal and external, may apply to your business.
2.Invest In Access Control
Access control systems for businesses allow business owners to control the flow of people through your work site. These systems are enhanced security solutions for offices because they prevent unknown individuals from accessing your property or work sites. With access control systems, business owners can give workers and other individuals the exact amount of onsite access needed, reducing risk.
For example, you may decide to give employees access only during business hours or restrict certain offices to management personnel only. Here is a closer look at some of the benefits of access control systems.
● Employee protection: Employee safety is key to a stable, productive work environment. Access control systems can help employers provide security in the workplace. Employees will feel content knowing they and their possessions are protected from potential external threats.
● Reduced theft: Since access control systems allow business owners to keep unauthorized individuals from entering their work site, there is reduced likelihood of a thief gaining access to a work site and stealing valuable equipment or personal items. Access control systems can also help business owners protect against internal loss. According to the Association of Fraud Examiners, fraud is responsible for almost 5 percent of annual revenue loss. With an access control system, employers can grant limited access to areas with confidential, high-risk or valuable assets.
● Better tracking: Access control systems automatically record who gains access to your property and when. In the event of a shutdown, emergency or incident, you can get a comprehensive record of all people who visited the property at any given time. This security measure can also help business owners keep track of employee time and attendance.
● Remote access: Access control systems give business owners the convenience of accessing their business remotely. For example, if a contractor is coming to your office and needs access to a certain room in your building, but you aren’t onsite to let them in, you can grant them access to certain spaces remotely through your system.
● Less energy use: With an access control system, businesses can greatly reduce energy bills and be more environmentally friendly. Access control systems can integrate with building management systems to identify which areas of the building are occupied, then turn off lighting, heating or air conditioning in unoccupied areas.
3. Video Analytics For Businesses
Cutting-edge technology, like facial recognition and behavioral analysis, can help keep workplaces secure. With video analytics, businesses have a powerful tool at their disposal that can enhance existing video surveillance systems and make their security even stronger.
Using facial recognition technology, a video analytics system can identify individuals based on their facial features. These smart tools allow companies to grant access to only recognized individuals, detect unauthorized individuals at their work site and alert authorities if needed. Video analytics systems also use behavior analysis tools, which analyze movement and emotion, to identify intruders or suspicious behaviors.
For example, a store can use video analysis to see what products or sections shoppers look at, how much time they spend looking at certain products and what their expressions or movements indicate they’re thinking or feeling. In addition to the security benefits of knowing where people are and what they’re doing on a business site, this knowledge allows business owners to better understand their customers, allowing them to make decisions that better their business.
Like other security solutions, video analytics can help business owners see exactly who is entering and exiting work sites at any given time. Video can improve oversight of company operations and employees, and prevent unauthorized individuals from entering company property.
But video analysis is even more powerful. The monitoring software provides instant analysis, with no need for human intervention. The system can pick up on features humans wouldn’t notice over video, allowing for better analysis of behavior.
Security For Businesses In 2018
When selecting and implementing a security solution to protect your business, it’s important to have the right expert help, to ensure you select the optimal solution and implement it properly. Security is key to your business’ success — so be sure to get the help of experienced, reputable security professionals.
For both small and large businesses in North Carolina looking to protect their assets, Intellicom offers access control, surveillance, public address and alarm systems. With Intellicom, businesses can attain high-quality, modern and reliable security systems implemented by highly skilled and certified security engineers.
Intellicom is a one-stop shop for delivering stand-alone or multiple solutions. Using the most innovative methods and technologies, we give you the best security capabilities at the best price. When designing the optimal security solution for your business, we work hand-in-hand with you to understand your business needs and design the optimal solution for your company.
Intellicom’s security solutions can benefit companies in many industries, from healthcare and higher education, to solar and pharmaceutical. As the leading security service provider in the Raleigh, N.C., area, Intellicom’s security solutions are cutting-edge, proven and reliable.
Our top security engineers offer free designs for businesses located in North Carolina — including Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Greensboro, Asheville, Winston and beyond.
Contact Intellicom to start protecting your business with a top-of-the-line security solution today.