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Back to Basics: Does Your Business Have These Three Must-Have Security Tools?

3 essential security tools for every business
Cybersecurity never stops moving — because neither do the attackers and digital threats that could hamper or even bring down your business. It’s easy for cybersecurity policies, procedures, and technology to get complicated in a hurry. And it can be enough to cause small business leaders to throw their hands up in frustration. If you need advanced cybersecurity protections, we’re here to help. But sometimes it’s smart to get back to basics, and that’s what we’re doing in this week’s post. Below are three basic security tools that every digitally connected small business must have in place. Do you have all three of these, and are they working the way you’d like?

1. A Firewall (or a Secure Web Gateway, or Both)

The first line of defense for most businesses is a firewall. A firewall is a piece of hardware that sits as a gatekeeper of sorts between your network and the broader internet. The name comes from the analog equivalent: a thick, fireproof (or slow-burning) physical wall that slows down the progression of a fire through a building. You can think of your network firewall as doing something similar. Firewalls work by inspecting the content that comes from the internet onto your network (and the computers and devices using that network). When the firewall spots bits of content that look like malware or other malicious content, the firewall blocks them. There are a lot of firewalls available (and we mean a lot) — and they vary in quality, usability, and cost. Many companies are also adding a secure web gateway (SWG). This complementary technology gives organizations the ability to blacklist or whitelist (disable or enable) entire websites, and it operates essentially in reverse: it inspects the information going from your network out to the broader internet. For example, it can block the transmission of specific types of sensitive data (like medical records or social security numbers). By using a firewall and an SWG together, you’ll keep more of the bad stuff out and prevent more of the good (sensitive) stuff from escaping.

2. A Password Manager — for Everyone

We’ve told you before how valuable a password manager can be. This technology replaces users’ simple, reused, easy-to-break passwords with unique, complex passwords. The password manager remembers those passwords so your users don’t have to, keeping everything secure without impeding access. The thing is, password managers are only useful if people use them. So make sure you’re providing the technology to everyone in your organization. And if you can, require them to use it for their business accounts.

3. A Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Last on our must-have list is a VPN. Early in the pandemic, many businesses hastily put in place a VPN to allow remote access to network files. This wasn’t always done very securely, and a VPN isn’t always the best long-term strategy for this kind of access. Still, you do want to have a VPN available as a basic level of protection as long as you still have a physical local network that people might need to access remotely. It adds a layer of security and anonymity to web traffic, which is important if people are accessing your network from unsecured public Wi-Fi. A VPN also drastically reduces the chances that a bad actor will be able to monitor data sent to and from your network. If you’ve moved everything to the cloud, the situation changes a bit. But unless you’ve already replaced your VPN with a more advanced solution, it’s important to have this basic security tool in place. Do you have all three of these security tools in place? Are they working well, keeping you secure without creating needless distractions? If not, Blue Ridge Technology is here to help. Reach out to our team now to discuss your needs!