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4/8/2019
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8 Steps to More Effective Small Business Security

Small business face the same security challenges as large enterprises but with much smaller security teams. Here are 8 things to do to get the most from yours.
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Big cybersecurity challenges aren't limited to large organizations. Small and medium-sized organizations are subject to the same vulnerabilities, exploits, and attacks that plague multi-national enterprises. Unfortunately, these smaller organizations don't have the same resources as the big companies to use to defend themselves. That's why it's critical that small organizations make the most of the cybersecurity resources they do have.

Constraints on small business security resources aren't limited to finances. Small organizations also have smaller security teams or, in most cases, a team of IT generalists who deal with security as part of their responsibilities. And while technology can be part of maximizing that small team's effectiveness, technology alone can't turn a small team of generalists into a large team of specialists.

That doesn't mean that the small business situation is hopeless. When technology is deployed in support of well-considered policies developed through a thoughtful process, then small businesses can achieve a practical level of security that is as effective as that of larger organizations. The question, then, is which processes and policies will have the greatest impact.

[Want to see how other small IT teams have handled their security challenges? Check out sessions like "No CISO, No SOC, No Problem: Blocking Bigger Threats with Smaller Teams" and "When (and When Not) to Use a Managed Security Service Provider" at Interop19 in Las Vegas, May 20-23.] 

The eight steps listed here aren't meant to be taken one at a time like steps on a path. The first is a good place to start but after that they represent things that a small team should do — and can do — to get the most out of the security resources they have to work with. And these steps aren't meant to be an exhaustive list of things to be done. We'd be interested to know which things you've found critical aren't on our list — and whether there are any items on this list that you think are over-rated. Let us know in the comment section.

(Image: duncanandison VIA Adobe Stock)

 

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

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tdsan
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tdsan,
User Rank: Strategist
4/13/2019 | 6:45:24 PM
Substantive security areas that were left out
I do agree the eight areas identified are important but it seems these techniques are not working.
  • Patching - Microsoft Patches come out every Tuesday, firmware and linux patches come out weekly, the systems have to be download and check for patches every day. If the patch causes the system to reboot or not come up (which it has done and been reported) how is that effectively helping the organization. There is a problem with the application development process because patches of such quantity should not be distrubuted in large amounts (firmware, patches, software, hardware, updates)
  • Hiring third party entities, I agree with this but the rates they charge are outside the scope of small businesses, so it is difficult to justify the expense with the benefit

I do think there are a few things that were left out:
  1. Training - there needs to be an online training program that is indepth and puts the security expert in a quandry, something that challenges them by putting them into specific scenarios that require the group to be part of. Stay abreast of the security and application areas, since technology is evolving, we need to evolve as security professionals. The writer mentions this but I think by challenging the security team by almost monthly (keeping them on their toes, will improve response times, this needs to be measured as part of the training proces).
  2. Test the security teams knowledge over the weekend (mock test scenarios) to test their knowledge but creating most scenarios where an attack is simulated by the mgmt team, they should be tested quarterly and/or semi-annually
  3. Team up with senior security members - The security team members should team up with senior members to learn different business roles, they should have an understanding of who, what, when, why involving the application, they should have an understanding of the application, how it functions and they should have a basic understanding of how to bring the system online
  4. Develop incentive programs to obtain certifications so the company can build and go after potential business
  5. Develop business relationships with OEM manufacturers to test their wares in office envionments, work with OEM engineering teams to get a better understanding of the products (integrate your strategic security program with theirs and determine how it fits or change your program to do so)
  6. Develop an enterprise security strategic approach to addressing this cyber-security quandry
  7. Create and/or develop a network of security professoinals outside the organization, that will help mitigate some of these impending concerns, this network will give others in the organization the ability to learn outside of the existing walls (work with IBM, PaloAlto, Cisco, Sophos, NSSLab professionals)
  8. Schedule meetings and put together an online tracking system that tracks individuals progress, put the progress on a large TV for the group to see so members are accountable for the whole team to see
  9. Implement IPv6, move away from IPv4, that should only be used with connecting to sites that do not have an IPv6 netwok address, this has been proven to create AES256 IPSec ESP/AH VPN networks
  10. Create and deploy cloud environments to take advantage of implicit DR/Backup/Recovery scenarios (this allow users to create business databases in the cloud in the event if something happens to the primary business location, so if there is an outage, the cloud's load-balancers can move requests and work-loads offsite, the end-user would not be the wiser.
  11. Develop a "SecDevOPS" team to include application developers and security expert or it could be the same person, but application awareness and security should coincide with one another for future business development.

There are other points, but I think this would be essential for any-type of business to utilize. Thank you for sharing, it does not cover it all but it is a good start.

Todd
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