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Historic Black Friday, Cyber Monday Threat Data Prepares Businesses, Shoppers for Holiday Cyberattacks

It’s officially Thanksgiving week in the U.S. In addition to gathering with family and friends for the traditional turkey meal, many of us get excited about the holiday shopping season, which kicks off with Black Friday, goes virtual on Cyber Monday and extends through New Year’s Day.

If you’re looking to get a great deal on just about anything, this is the best time of the year to make that purchase. Everyone knows this, including cyber criminals. And that’s a problem for many organizations.

Perhaps as ominous foreshadowing, Amazon announced that a “technical error” exposed customer names and email addresses — days before Black Friday and Cyber Monday even got started.

Employees Will Make Personal Online Purchases on Corporate Time, Machines

Online shopping is a popular activity, both at home and in the office. It’s even more prevalent during the holiday shopping season. In a recent survey from Robert Half Technology, almost 65 percent of respondents said they will spend at least some of their work time making holiday purchases online.

While no one wants to be a Scrooge during the holidays, every organization needs to have safeguards in place to protect against the inevitable increase in the number of cyberattacks that are coming.

2017 Holiday Cyberattacks Paint Picture for 2018 Shopping Season

To help organizations, retailers, and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) prepare, the SonicWall Capture Labs threat research team analyzed cyber threat data from the second half of 2017. Unsurprisingly, there was an enormous spike in the number of malware attacks last year on Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year. Here are some of the official data points from 2017:

  • Cybercriminals launched more than 113 million malware attacks on Cyber Monday last year, a 4.4x increase over the yearly average
  • Malware attacks jumped 27 percent on Black Friday
  • Ransomware attacks spiked 127 percent on Cyber Monday

So, what does this mean for 2018? Expect your organization to see more of the same. But there are proven methods to stop the surge in holiday cyberattacks.

6 Security Layers Organizations Can Use to Mitigate Holiday Cyberattacks

We know employees will be spending time online at work surfing for deals and customers will make purchases at point-of-sale (POS) terminals, so there is some inevitable risk. And while the data does show a worrisome trend, there are things you can do to protect your network, endpoints and data from cyberattacks during the holiday shopping season.

The key is to have a layered, defense-in-depth approach, something SonicWall can help with through our automated real-time breach detection and prevention platform. From the outside in, here are the six layers we recommend:

  1. Next-Generation Firewall – The first line of defense, a next-generation firewall (NGFW) should have high security efficacy and use machine learning to identify and block malware, ransomware and other attacks at the gateway.
  2. Deep Packet Inspection of TLS/SSL-encrypted Traffic – The use of encryption to hide cyberattacks continues to grow at a fast pace, so it’s essential any NGFW is able to scan encrypted traffic for threats.
  3. Email Security – Email is a common threat vector for delivering attacks, often through attachments, making it critical that any solution be able to scan inbound and outbound email for phishing attacks and infected attachments.
  4. Multi-engine Sandboxing – While one engine is good, several is better when it comes to identifying and blocking never-before-seen cyberattacks. SonicWall Capture ATP is a multi-engine sandbox that features block-until-verdict safeguards.
  5. Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection – SonicWall’s patent-pending RTDMITM technology, included with Capture ATP, identifies and stops difficult-to-find threats hidden in memory where malware’s weaponry is exposed for less than 100 nanoseconds.
  6. Capture Client – Endpoint devices used beyond the firewall perimeter are more susceptible to attacks. Capture Client provides multiple advanced endpoint protection capabilities in addition to the ability to roll back to a previous point before malware entered or was activated on the device.

Next week, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers will publish their analysis on three key shopping dates in 2018: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Until then, explore the Capture Security Center, which provides a graphical view of the worldwide attacks over the last 24 hours, countries being attacked and geographic attack origins, and monthly trends by attack type.

Bill Conner: We Need a ‘Single, Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Strategy’

Some call him vocal. Others say he has passion.

But no matter your preferred adjective, there’s no mistaking Bill Conner’s unwavering commitment toward improving cybersecurity policy in the U.S.

After witnessing a year of high-profile breaches and a number of well-intentioned strategies, Conner penned a new opinion piece for The Hill, “Two cybersecurity policies, one clear new objective,” which outlines next steps for policymakers.

Conner, SonicWall’s president and CEO, applauds their direction. But he also feels some parts are disjointed and there should be better focus on integrating the government’s newest pair of policies: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Small Business Cybersecurity Act and the National Cyber Strategy of the United States of America.

“What we have learned from the numerous breaches in the public and private sectors is that the foundation of the internet is a digital supply chain that must be defended from end to end …”

Bill Conner
SonicWall President & CEO

“What we have learned from the numerous breaches in the public and private sectors is that the foundation of the internet is a digital supply chain that must be defended from end to end; the smallest player has proven to be an effective entry point for mischief,” Conner outlined on The Hill.

The digital supply chain isn’t discussed enough. Business isn’t conducted in disparate networks or environments. Organizations big and small are virtually linked through contracts, partnerships, agreements and an untold number of networks. This means that cybercriminals can attack smaller organizations to gain lateral access to their true targets — often large enterprises or government agencies.

“To deliver robust, cost-effective cybersecurity strategies for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB), enterprises and government agencies, we must align both sets of guidelines to create a single, comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy,” said Conner, who co-chaired the Corporate Governance Task Force of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity Partnership, helped unveil the INTERPOL Global Smart eID Card and addressed the United Nations on global challenges in cybercrime.

To move toward that objective, Conner prescribed three key transformations for the U.S. government, which are outlined in his featured commentary on The Hill.

Cybersecurity for SMBs: Bundled Network Security Delivers Cost-Effective Protection

If you’re a small- or medium-sized business (SMB), don’t bury your head in the digital sand. Cybercriminals don’t discriminate. Your data, credentials or access could be valuable to them in ways not immediately apparent. SMB cybersecurity is critical.

Unfortunately, SMBs also haven’t received the necessary guidance in terms of government support. That’s alarming since in September 2018 alone, the average SonicWall customer faced 1,662 malware attacks. For the year, SonicWall recorded 8.5 billion malware attacks globally — a 54 percent increase over 2017.

There is good news, however. In August 2018, President Trump signed into law the new NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act. New legislation in Canada and the UK bring hope for similar protections.

But in many cases, cybersecurity guidance isn’t immediately available. In the U.S., for example, NIST has a year to deliver the guidance (read our eBook to learn more). Regardless of geographic location, a year is a long time for SMBs to wait to either enhance or begin their cybersecurity strategy. For this reason, SonicWall has created cost-effective cybersecurity bundles tailored specifically for SMBs.

Bundled Security for SMBs

The SonicWall TotalSecure SMB Bundle* provides robust cybersecurity technology and services that defend growing SMBs from the volume and sophistication of modern cyberattacks.

The tailored package includes high-performance network security, endpoint protection, cloud sandbox, content filtering, online management and more. Admins can also use powerful reporting functions to easily check the health of the network and endpoints and remediate threats if ever needed.

What’s included What you get
  • Perimeter firewall protection, including SSL traffic inspection
  • Intrusion prevention
  • Content filtering
  • Zero-day defense via Capture ATP with RTDMI
  • Behavior-based endpoint security
  • Endpoint rollback (Windows only)
  • Advanced reporting and attack visualization

Bundled Security for Small Offices

The SonicWall TotalSecure SMB Bundle* also is available for small or home offices. It provides foundational cybersecurity tools that help smaller organizations mitigate cyberattacks from the perimeter to the endpoint.

It’s a comprehensive, out-of-the-box solution to stop cyberattacks, help remediate issues, protect endpoints and manage security — easily and efficiently.

What’s included What you get
  • Perimeter firewall protection, including SSL/TLS traffic inspection
  • Intrusion prevention
  • Content Filtering Service
  • Behavior-based endpoint security
  • Endpoint rollback (Windows only)
  • Advanced reporting and attack visualization

SonicWall has been protecting SMBs for more than 27 years. SonicWall is the No. 2 cybersecurity vendor in the SMB space, according to Gartner’s Market Share: Unified Threat Management (SMB Multifunction Firewalls), Worldwide, 2017 report.

Contact SonicWall to build or enhance your cybersecurity posture for true end-to-end protection from today’s most malicious cyberattacks, including never-before-seen threats.

Lock In Your SMB Bundle

It’s time to use real-time cybersecurity to protect your business from cyberattacks. Contact a SonicWall security expert today. We’re ready to help you build a sound, cost-effective security strategy that’s just right for your business.

* Please contact SonicWall or your SonicWall SecureFirst partner for regional availability.

New NIST Cybersecurity Policy Provides Guidance, Opportunities for SMBs

Small- and medium-sized business (SMB) are often one of the segments most targeted by cybercriminals. Now, SMBs are backed by legislation signed by U.S. President Trump and unanimously supported by Congress.

On Aug. 14, President Trump signed into law the new NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act. The new policy “requires the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop and disseminate resources for small businesses to help reduce their cybersecurity risks.”

The legislation was proposed by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and James Risch (R-Idaho). This new policy is a follow-on effort to the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014, which was the catalyst for the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

“As businesses rely more and more on the internet to run efficiently and reach more customers, they will continue to be vulnerable to cyberattacks. But while big businesses have the resources to protect themselves, small businesses do not, and that’s exactly what makes them an easy target for hackers,” said Senator Schatz, lead Democrat on the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, in an official statement. “With this bill set to become law, small businesses will now have the tools to firm up their cybersecurity infrastructure and fight online attacks.”

Per the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act (S. 770), within the next year the acting director of NIST, collaborating with the leaders of appropriate federal agencies, must provide cybersecurity “guidelines, tools, best practices, standards, and methodologies” to SMBs that are:

  • Technology-neutral
  • Based on international standards to the extent possible
  • Able to vary with the nature and size of the implementing small business and the sensitivity of the data collected or stored on the information systems
  • Consistent with the national cybersecurity awareness and education program under the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014
  • Deployed in practical applications and proven via real-world use cases

The law follows the structure presented by U.S. Rep. Dan Webster (R-Florida) and passed by the House of Representatives. He originally presented the bill to the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in March 2017.

SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner also was instrumental in helping form the groundwork for U.S. cybersecurity laws. In 2009, Conner worked with U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) and other security-conscious leaders on the Cybersecurity Act of 2010 (S.773). And while the proposal was not enacted by Congress in March 2010, it served as a critical framework to today’s modern policies. Rockefeller was eventually the sponsor of the aforementioned Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 (S.1353), which became law in December 2014.

SMBs Highly Targeted by Cybercriminals, Threat Actors

According to a recent SMB study by ESG, 46 percent of SMB decision-makers said security incidents resulted in lost productivity in their small- or medium-sized business. Some 37 percent were affected by disruption of a business process or processes.

“Criminals target SMBs to extort money or steal valuable data, while nation states use small businesses as a beachhead for attacking connected partners,” wrote ESG senior principal analyst Jon Oltsik for CSO.

In fact, in July 2018 alone, the average SonicWall customer faced escalated volumes of ransomware attacks, encrypted threats and new malware variants.

  • 2,164 malware attacks (28 percent increase from July 2017)
  • 81 ransomware attacks (43 percent increase)
  • 143 encrypted threats
  • 13 phishing attacks each day
  • 1,413 new malware variants discovered by Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service with RTDMI each day

“Criminals target SMBs to extort money or steal valuable data, while nation states use small businesses as a beachhead for attacking connected partners,” wrote ESG senior principal analyst Jon Oltsik for CSO.

Leverage NIST Policy, Frameworks

While SMBs await guidance from the new NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act, they can leverage best practices from the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, which helps organizations of all sizes leverage best practices to better safeguard their networks, data and applications from cyberattacks.

At a high level, the framework is broken down into three components — Implementation Tiers, Framework Core and Profiles — that each include additional subcategories and objectives. Use these key NIST resources to familiarize your organization to the framework:

Applying Cybersecurity Designed for SMBs

The NIST framework provides a solid foundation to improve an SMB’s security posture. But the technology behind it is critically important to achieving a safe outcome. SonicWall, for instance, is the No. 2 cybersecurity vendor in the SMB space, according to Gartner’s Market Share: Unified Threat Management (SMB Multifunction Firewalls), Worldwide, 2017 report.

With more than 26 years of defending SMBs from cyberattacks, SonicWall has polished and refined cost-effective, end-to-end cybersecurity solutions. These solutions are tailored specifically for small- and medium-sized businesses and can be further customized to meet the needs of specific security or business objectives. A sound, end-to-end SMB cybersecurity should include:

For example, the SonicWall TZ series of NGFWs is the perfect balance of performance, value and security efficacy for SMBs, and delivers access to the SonicWall Capture ATP sandbox services and Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection.TM This integrated combo protects your organization from zero-day attacks, malicious PDFs and Microsoft Office files, and even chip-based Spectre, Foreshadow and Meltdown exploits.

For organizations that want to take it a step further, the SonicWall NSa series of firewall appliances were given a ‘Recommended’ rating by NSS Labs in a 2018 group test. SonicWall topped offerings from Barracuda Networks, Check Point, Cisco, Forcepoint, Palo Alto Networks, Sophos and WatchGuard in both security efficacy and total cost of ownership.

Contact SonicWall to build or enhance your cybersecurity posture for true end-to-end protection from today’s most malicious cyberattacks, online threats and even the latest Foreshadow exploits.

SonicWall solutions are available to SMBs through our vast channel of local security solution providers, many of which are SMBs themselves. In fact, many SonicWall SecureFirst Partners even provide security-as-a-service (SECaaS) offerings to ensure it’s easy and cost-effective for SMBs to protect their business from advanced cyberattacks.

 

Upgrade Your Firewall for Free

Are you a SonicWall customer who needs to stop the latest attacks? Take advantage of our ‘3 & Free’ program to get the latest in SonicWall next-generation firewall technology — for free. To upgrade, contact your dedicated SecureFirst Partner or begin your upgrade process via the button below.

3 Disruptive Trends Driving Demand for Automated Cyber Security for SMBs

Organizations typically struggle to provide a holistic security posture. There are many security vendors providing exciting and innovative solutions. But from a customer perspective, they often become various point solutions solving several unique problems. This often becomes cumbersome, expensive and unmanageable. Some of the most recent trends in this area are discussed in this blog, which could bring about even further complexity to an organizations security posture.

IoT the new mobile?

Internet of Things (IoT) brings similar challenges to the industry, to those which mobile introduced over the last eight years. These endpoints are non general-purpose computing devices often with a specific function, but typically have an operating system, applications and internet access. Unlike Mobile, IoT devices do not usually have the same high level of user interaction, so breaches are more likely to go unnoticed.  The result of poor security controls can result in similar events, to the recent IoT botnet which caused havoc to major online services, including Twitter, Spotify and GitHub.

The industry should look to the lessons from securing mobile and apply these to IoT. This is most important in the consumer space, but as with mobile we’ll see risks arise in the commercial also, including HVAC, alarm systems and even POS devices.

Mobile and Desktop Convergence

More focus needs to be spent on unifying the identity, access and controls for mobile and desktop security. As this often requires custom integration across differing solutions and products, it’s difficult to maintain and troubleshoot when things go wrong.

Some solutions only focus on data protection, endpoint lockdown or only on mobile applications. By themselves, none of these go far enough, and software vendors should aim to provide more open ecosystems. By exposing well documented APIs to customers and integration partners, this would allow for better uniformity across services, with a richer workflow and improved security.

Cloud and SaaS

As we see endpoints split across mobile and desktop, customers are rapidly splitting data across a hybrid IT environment. While we expect hybrid to be the norm for many years to come, organizations need to consider how the security and usability can be blended, in a way that security controls don’t become too fragmented, or result in a poor experience for users and unmanageable for IT.

How SMBs can automate breach detection and prevention

The impact of a security breach to the SMB is significant. When large organizations detect fraudulent activities, they expect to write off a fair percentage of the cost. On the flip side, the impact of a $50,000-$200,000 incident to a small business could be enough for it to cease trading. To the attacker, SMBs are a relatively easy target; as they may not have the expertise or man-power to protect against an advanced and persistent threat.

For 25 years, SonicWall has maintained a rich security portfolio, which is primarily focused on delivering enterprise-grade security for our SMB customers. Our vision is to simplify and automate, to solve complex security challenges — all while meeting the constantly evolving threats. It’s an ongoing arms race after all!

Taking full advantage of our vast database of threat intelligence data, coupled with our advanced research from SonicWall Capture Labs team, we ensure our customers of all sizes can detect and prevent from these threats.  The breadth and depth of our portfolio, also includes those that specifically help with mobile, cloud and IoT security.

Stop ransomware and zero-day cyber attacks

One of our biggest strengths is combatting advanced persistent threats, ransomware and zero-day cyber attacks with the award-winning SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) multi-engine sandbox. Capture ATP is now available as a security service across each product in our portfolio, providing a unique protection solution across a multitude of scenarios.

Simplify endpoint protection

For endpoint protection, we are also very excited with our recent partnership agreement with SentinelOne.  This brings the highest level of zero-day malware prevention on the endpoint while concurrently simplifying solutions for organizations of all shapes and sizes.

To learn more about how SonicWall helps our customers implement mobile security, download: Empowering Mobile Workforce to Collaborate Securely.

SonicWall SMA OS 8.6 Delivers Seamless Remote Access Using Web-based Access Methods

Smartphones, laptops and internet connectivity have become necessities of life. We move around with powerful computing devices in our pockets or backpacks. This “on-the-go” lifestyle has transformed the way we work. Employees today want on demand access to resources and the ability to be productive from anywhere.  Organizations too are embracing cloud and mobile, and allowing employees to use their personal devices for work. This is a win-win situation for employees and organizations but also a big challenge for IT departments. IT has the daunting task of providing secure access to corporate resources without exposing risks such as:

  • Unauthorized users gaining access to company networks and systems from lost or stolen devices
  • Malware and ransomware infected devices acting as a conduit to infect company systems
  • Interception of company data in-flight on unsecured public WiFi networks
  • Loss of business data stored on devices if rogue personal apps or unauthorized users gain access to that data
  • The ability to react as quickly as possible to minimize the window of exposure before an attacker can potentially cripple the organization

To address these risks and empower IT, SonicWall Access Security (SMA) solutions with policy-enforced SSL VPN deliver seamless remote access with the highest standards of security. SMA OS 8.6 expands the feature set on the Secure Mobile Access (SMA) 100 Series appliances with enhanced security and intuitive features that deliver the best experience for remote access.

  • Microsoft RD Web Access integration – Admins can now select to offload applications on the RD Web Access portal, onto any web browser. This new feature provides users with seamless access to remote desktops and applications through web browsers.
  • Enhanced security – SMA uses an in-house connect agent to establish a secure connection for RD Web Access without needing to set up a VPN tunnel. The agent has no dependency on Java or Active X.
  • Driverless printer redirection –Print files from remote desktops seamlessly, just like printing a local file. Files on remote desktops can be published as a PDF on your local machine and can be printed locally.
  • Modernized UI – A refreshed UI that is even more intuitive for users and admins. The firmware conforms to the new SonicWall branding guidelines.

Customers with an active support contract can download SonicWall SMA OS 8.6  from mysonicwall.com.

Three Ways to Protect Your Business Against Ransomware-as-a-Service

Last week I was at one of our sales offices in Utah. I heard an interesting story about how a dentist office called in to ask for threat prevention against ransomware. The dentist office had been affected by ransomware twice in a short period of time. Twice, they paid the ransom to ensure business continuity and customer retention. This is a common story across many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) though we seldom hear about them in the media.

According to a study conducted in June 2016 by Osterman Research Inc., 30 percent of the ransom amounts demanded are $500 or less, reflecting the size of businesses affected by the attacks. SonicWall’s GRID threat research team has seen massive increases in ransomware infections for 2016, mostly coming from small and medium businesses. A new variant of ransomware, Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), designed to be user friendly and deployable by anyone, can simply download the virus either for free or for a simple fee.

Ransomware-as-a-Service

Even simple measures can help protect against ransomware. Here are three ways:

Training

The same study shows that 67 percent of U.S. cyberattacks originate via phishing through emails. Organizations requiring employees to do security awareness training once a year at least are less likely to get infected than companies that do it less frequently. Training alone is not sufficient, but can provide the necessary first line of defense for a lot of businesses.

Data backup

Ransomware exists because organizations keep paying the attackers for their data.  With a good data backup infrastructure, businesses can redeem itself quickly by cleaning up their network and restoring the data from backup.

Technology

Advanced threats like ransomware attack all kinds of businesses. After multiple attacks, a big business can revive itself and get back on track. However, SMBs cannot afford such multiple attacks. Small amounts paid multiple times can quickly add up, and result in closure of a small business. It is even more important today for SMBs to invest in strong and advanced security solutions available through next-generation firewalls.

SonicWall firewalls have been protecting SMBs all over the globe for more than 25 years. With the comprehensive SonicWALL Gateway Security Suite providing gateway anti-virus, URL/web filtering and intrusion prevention services, businesses were protected 24x7x365 against known malware. With the recent increase in unknown malware and zero-day threats, the new Advanced Gateway Security Suite (AGSS) includes SonicWall Capture ATP,  a multi-engine network sandboxing solution, providing advanced threat protection to all SonicWall firewalls including the TZ Series for SMBs.

Discover best practices and download our solution brief: How to protect against ransomware.

Use the Advanced Gateway Security Suite from SonicWall.

Are You Compromising Your Business Security

As advances in networking continue to provide tremendous benefits, businesses are increasingly challenged by sophisticated attacks designed to disrupt communication, degrade performance and compromise data. Striking the perfect balance between network security and performance is no easy task. Meeting these demands can be especially daunting for small businesses, which usually cannot afford the same degree of protections as their larger counterparts.

The good news is that, with technology, higher performance and superior security are possible. By minimizing the attack surface that a business presents to the world, security can emerge as a differentiator rather than an inhibitor.

The first line of defense for any business “” large or small “” is an updated and properly configured firewall. In fact, if your business is still using a traditional firewall to protect against malicious threats, you may not even realize that you are woefully unprotected. Though firewalls are an essential part of network security, many (especially traditional firewalls) offer limited protection. They can monitor and block traffic based on source and destination information. But they can’t look inside packets to detect malware, identify hacker activity or help you manage what end users are doing on the internet. Even if you have purchased a firewall just a few years ago, it might not be able to inspect encrypted traffic, leaving you exposed to encrypted malware.

Securing the small business

Just because your business is small doesn’t mean you are at any less risk for a security breach than a larger business. The reality is that cyber-criminals use automated scanning programs that don’t care whether your company is big or small; they are only looking for holes in your network security to exploit.

With tight budgets and fewer resources, small businesses need to make sure their firewalls are delivering maximum protection without sacrificing productivity. To achieve this goal, IT administrators should insist on solutions that provide:

  • Blazing-fast performance: Your firewall must not become a network bottleneck. If it holds up network traffic, then users complain about poor performance and slow response times. Administrators respond by easing security restrictions. The result? The business compromises its security to maintain acceptable performance. It’s a dangerous trade-off that should never happen.
  • Exceptional security: Insist on a firewall that includes deep packet inspection (DPI) technology to decrypt and inspect Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) traffic into and out of the network. Unfortunately, traditional firewalls lack this capability, which means hackers and cybercriminals can smuggle malware right through the firewall just by concealing it in SSL traffic. Many say their firewalls do inspect SSL traffic but fail to tell you how this impacts performance.
  • Low total cost of ownership (TCO): Security solutions that operate in silos can result in gaps and complexity that can kill efficiency and squander resources. Look for an integrated firewall that can be quickly set up and fine-tuned. Easy-to-use features, such as graphical interfaces and setup wizards, can save administration time and help reduce operation and maintenance costs.

As small business’ growing use of cloud applications, the security perimeter becomes blurred between your network and the internet so there is nothing as essential as a solution that draws the line to keep out unwanted intrusions. Your network provides access to critical applications and houses sensitive company and customer data. A single network breach can shut down your operations for days, or allow a hacker to steal vital business data. If you are not currently using or evaluating a next-generation firewall, you should be there’s too much at stake.

Thanks to advances in firewall protection technology, achieving robust network security without sacrificing performance is possible and affordable. To read more tips on how to keep your small business network more efficient and secure, read the e-book, “Securing your small business.”

5 Security Tips Small Businesses Can’t Afford to Ignore

I returned to Las Vegas earlier this month to attend the Black Hat USA 2015 hacker conference where I learned about the latest and most shocking vulnerabilities discovered by security researchers from around the world. It’s fascinating to see some of the incredible security exploits being demonstrated there which I thought were possible only in sci-fi films. But that’s not the case at the Black Hat convention where top researchers revealed what was once impossible to hack is now possible. In past years researchers published their findings on how computers, mobile devices, routers, wireless access points, webcams, security systems, and smart appliances such as televisions, refrigerators, and thermostats can be made to do things that they were never designed to do once they are taken control by skilled hackers. This year, the scariest headlines focused on hacked cars and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Just imagine hackers taking complete control of cars in the middle of a busy highway and doing the unthinkable or turning printers, VoIP phones or other office devices into transmitters broadcasting decodable radio waves to send data. Attacks this sophisticated threaten the world’s economy, our daily lives and in some case, our national security. You quickly realize that even your most concealed data and individual safety are at heightened risk in today’s digitally connected world.

If you are a small business owner, how is this relevant to you? Many of these pieces of office equipment are at the core of your daily business operations. The ugly truth is that these devices are deployed and often neglected. This makes them unsecured and targets for exploitations because they are rarely patched once they are installed. Thus, many network intrusion entry points and data breaches have been known to occur through these devices unbeknownst to the company. Just because you are a small business, you may think you’re not worth breaking into. The reality is cyber-criminals know most small businesses have poor security practices, weak network defenses and vulnerable devices which makes them easy and lucrative targets for automated attacks because they have the same valuable information (e.g. personal, customer and financial) as larger organizations. CNBC recently reported that companies with less than 250 employees accounted for almost one third of cyber-attacks in 2014. With the hacking economy valued at several billion dollars annually, it’s almost certain there are plenty of malware developers out there who are bent by greed developing new hacking techniques to make their millions at the expense of small businesses.

If you are unsure about whether or not you have implemented enough security measures to protect your small business, we recommend that you immediately boost your cyber security defense posture. SonicWall Security offers the following security tips to help enhance your chance at preventing a data breach.

  1. Enforce a privacy policy if your business collects, handles or stores sensitive data including personal and financial information about your employees or your customers, you need to establish a privacy policy to ensure their information is protected and secured in compliance with legal obligations.
  2. Conduct annual security awareness training for employees social engineering, online fraud, phishing emails, fake websites and free software downloads are successful tactics commonly used by cyber-criminals to get users to inadvertently share personal or business details on social networks and voluntarily install malicious software such as fake anti-virus or computer clean-up tools that are ultimately used for nefarious purposes. Employee awareness and recognition of common security risks when accessing the Internet are the first important steps to prevent a network breach.
  3. Control access to data implement rigorous access policies where access to specific data should be granted only to those individuals who have a specific clearance and use of that data.
  4. Establish multiple layers of security
    1. Protect endpoint devices with strong password enforcement, two-factor authentication, disk encryption, anti-virus, anti-spam and web content filtering.
    2. Control network access with secure mobile access technology to identify and stop unauthorized access attempts.
    3. Combine multiple network defense capabilities including intrusion detection, firewall, web filtering, application control, and anti-malware protection to prevent unauthorized network access and stop malicious code from infecting the network.
    4. Subscribe to around-the-clock threat counter-intelligence services to receive continuous protection against new threats that emerge.
  5. Secure your Wi-Fi network – make sure your wireless access point Service Set Identifier (SSID) name is not publically broadcasted, default password is changed and access is restricted to authorized devices and users only with preset expiration dates.

For additional information about the latest network security technology and how it can help protect your business from today’s advanced cyber-attacks, download this exclusive, “Securing Your Small Business eBook“.

Wireless Firewall Solutions for Small Offices and Distributed Enterprises

If you are a small office, I have good news; the new SonicWall TZ Wireless Firewall Series now has integrated wireless. In an earlier life, the startup I was working for had a small compact office; it would be the perfect candidate for the integrated wireless product. For many, where the office is spread out or occupies multiple floors, the ability to use Access Points for an external solution would be the way to go.

Stay ahead of the threats with a product that reduces your threat surface with the security solution used by the big boys. If you are concerned that your security solution is not cutting it, now is the time to consider taking a look at the new TZ Wireless Firewall Series.

Why this is important for business owners

For the business owner, building the business is what commands your attention. Behind this is the absolute desire to avoid negative press associated with a data breach. Looking forward, the question remains “how do I use emerging trends to grow my business?” The new SonicWall TZ series gives you the confidence to grow your business and avoid embarrassing press. Security can help grow your business because a secure perimeter can be seen as a differential advantage, especially when working with enterprise customers.

Business owners are always dealing with tight budgets and look for ways to get the most out of their investment. No need to cut corners here. Both the wireless and wired products are not only affordable but over time deliver an impressively low total cost of ownership. With the TotalSecure bundle, combined with the wide range of product capabilities, the price to buy and the cost to own is something that should warrant investigation.

Over the past several years, SonicWall has invested in security to become the go-to provider of broad security solutions. With the SonicWall TZ products, there is a complete line of wired and wireless network security solutions that fit any type of business small to large. The TZ series enables businesses to achieve the same level of security on the wireless LAN that they have on their wired LAN through integrated wireless or by attaching an 802.11ac SonicWall SonicPoint wireless access point to the firewall. This high-speed “wireless network security” solution protects the WLAN by scanning wireless traffic for threats.

Why this is important for IT managers

For the small business, the IT department may be only one person. The focus is on maintaining a high performance network. The SonicWall TZ series can make the network more efficient by allocating the more bandwidth to important applications over the less important and unproductive apps. The moment you add remote or branch offices, the network becomes more complex. By deploying the same firewall across networks, the efficiencies found with one network expand to include all networks. Instead of complexity, you get simplicity.

Highly effective security can also make the life of an IT manger simpler as well. The security perimeter is much more robust when everyone has the same device and everyone can speak a common language. Our security engine is common to all of our products and has been recognized not only for security effectiveness, but value as well. Compared to Cisco we are more affordable; compared to Fortinet, we perform better; and compared with Palo Alto, we have a wider product offering for small businesses. With the multiple products we offer, there is a solution designed to fit your specific needs and your budget.

Network security is not a one shot event; it is a long-term race with many twists and turns. If you followed the Tour De France, you can see plenty of similarities. If you are going to wear the yellow jersey you need to be a leader but you also need a strong support team to help you can meet the challenges of the road ahead. In the security race that means that you need the latest technology and a strong team supporting you. Let SonicWall ‘s winning products bring a new level of performance to your security race.

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