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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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Why Dual-Radio Wireless Makes Sense

You’ve decided to make the move to high-speed wireless. Maybe you’re upgrading to 802.11ac or you’re building a new wireless network from scratch. Either way, you’ve got to decide whether the access points you’re going to purchase will have a single radio or dual radios. If price is an issue, choosing an access point with only one radio will save you a little money. However is that the best decision for your wireless networking needs? Here’s why purchasing dual-radio access points makes financial and practical sense.

Dual-radio access points offer several advantages over those with a single radio.

  1. Extend your investment in 802.11x standards – An access point with two radios allows you to dedicate one radio to 802.11ac clients (laptops, tablets and smartphones) and the other to legacy 802.11b/g/n clients. If you still have a significant investment in devices supporting older wireless standards, a dual radio access point helps you extend that investment until you’re ready to upgrade.
  2. Use bandwidth-intensive services – Similarly, dual-radio access points allow you to dedicate one radio to services such as Voice over IP, streaming video and others that take up large amounts of bandwidth while your clients connect to the other radio without being negatively impacted by the services.
  3. Enhance wireless security – Having multiple radios enables you to enhance the security of your wireless network in two ways. First, you can use one radio for employees and provide them with access to internal resources while everyone else (guests, partners, etc.) connects to the second radio which offers internet-only access. Second, having a second radio allows you to use one for wireless intrusion detection and prevention scanning including scanning for rogue access points while the other is used to provide client access. Having only one radio would require all users to disconnect in order to perform the scan and then reconnect again later.
  4. Achieve better signal quality – The 802.11ac wireless standard operates in the less-crowded 5 GHz frequency band, providing better signal quality. Dedicating one radio to 5 GHz and the other to 2.4 GHz enables you to take advantage of the higher signal quality 802.11ac offers while still supporting legacy 802.11b/g/n clients over 2.4 GHz thanks to backward compatibility.
  5. Realize higher client capacities – Very simply, an access point with two radios allows you to have more WiFi-enabled devices connected at the same without experiencing signal interference.

Secure, high-speed wireless

If you have access points with multiple radios then you’re in position to realize the advantages listed above. If you’re looking at purchasing new access points, consider the benefits dual-radio solutions provide over those with a single radio. SonicWall offers several dual-radio access points as part of its SonicPoint Series. The SonicWall SonicPoint ACe and SonicPoint ACi feature two radios, one dedicated to 802.11ac and the other to 802.11n, while the SonicPoint N2 includes two 802.11n radios. Read more about the SonicPoint Series and how these secure, high-speed access points can help your organization.

Tips for Deploying Wireless in Your Small Business

As a product manager in the security industry I have the opportunity to travel all over the world. On my trips it’s been very rare that I’ll find a location that does not provide some sort of wireless access. Even the most remote locations that may have a small coffee shop, eating establishment or small gathering area offer WiFi. Today it should be a no brainer for businesses of all kinds to provide wireless access to employees and maybe even extend this to their guests.

Most employees use mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. Looking at the latest laptop models online most, if not all, come standard with an 802.11ac wireless adapter and you would be hard pressed to find a smaller laptop that has a LAN network interface which does not require an additional dongle or add-on cable.

Now let’s look at what it will take to roll out a wireless deployment for a small business properly and securely.

To begin with, initiate a site survey for the building. This will help you figure out how many access points you will need to provide awesome wireless coverage throughout the structure. It will also enable you to determine whether there are any issues with walls, microwaves or anything else that may interfere with the wireless signal.

Next, decide if you want to provide guest access. If you do, you will need to understand the wireless security requirements you’ll need to enforce, such as setting up a virtual access point, enforcing the use of encryption or leaving the guest access open, but requiring authentication to a captive portal, similar to what airports may use before guests are able to access the internet.

For employee wireless security you can require standards-based WPA2 encryption and decide if you will use PSK or EAP which require an authentication server. For an additional level of security you can mandate the use of SSL VPN to access company resources over the wireless network.

With this new wireless network you will also need to take into consideration the security of the traffic going into and out of the wireless network for both employees and guests. This may include adding content/web filtering as a way to limit access to sites that could contain malware, and scanning all traffic through a deep packet inspection engine to look for potential intrusions and malware-based attacks that could impact employee or guest devices.

Additionally, you will want to enforce application-level bandwidth controls on the wireless network to ensure employees and guests don’t consume all the Internet bandwidth watching HD movies or downloading content.

Now that you’ve read through some of the basic requirements for deploying a wireless network, it might be a good time to get in contact with your local reseller or partner who can help with the planning, deployment and ongoing management of your wireless network.

Six Steps to Securing WiFi in a Small Business

In my job at SonicWall, I talk to a lot of people about IT security. One thing I hear a lot of the time from small business owners is something along the lines of “Why would anybody target me? I am just a small company. They would much rather go after big companies.” While this is very true for highly targeted attacks, where a highly motivated and funded attacker is going after a well-known entity, it is simply not true for the majority of attacks which are much more opportunistic in nature.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you own a local insurance agency in a retail complex. You rely heavily on your computer system to connect to the insurance company and share information about the policies that you need to write. In the business, we call that “private customer information” and it is what you need to protect. Now, let’s assume you have a broadband connection and a consultant who has helped install and maintain your network including the security component. So far, so good.

Next, you decide you would like to add WiFi to your network so you and clients can connect more easily. You decide to go down to the local box store and purchase an off the shelf consumer class wireless access point and connect it to an open port in your office. You skip quickly through the startup menu choosing “quick start” and are up and running in a few minutes. Great, right? Not so fast. Most likely some of the steps you skipped over had to do with securing the wireless traffic, but that is difficult and requires some thought so you decided to do it later, which never happened.

At this point, you have a very secure wired network and an unsecured wireless network. Now, next door is a fast food restaurant with a lot of teenage kids who rotate in and out based on the season. One of them happens to be a wanna-be hacker, who notices a wide open wireless network and decides to investigate. She finds that she can connect to the wireless network and not only get wireless access, but also see the files on your computer, because you allow file sharing! And worse, she can see the private customer information that is so important to not only your local agency but also the nationwide company. And in a fit of teenage rebellion or altruism, she decides to download the customer data and then sends it to the nationwide agency to show them that one of their agents is not being responsible with their customer’s data. That is known as white hat hacking, and she is actually doing your insurance company a favor. Imagine if a neighbor with less noble intentions had been able to extract the data.

This is just an example, illustrating why wireless security is so important. Here are some tips to help you keep this fictional scenario from becoming a reality.

  1. Utilize a firewall with integrated wireless security that simplifies the implementation of wireless network security.
  2. Leverage deep packet inspection on the firewall to scan all traffic to and from the wireless users’ computers for viruses, malware and intrusions that may have been brought in from the outside.
  3. Since many websites are now leveraging SSL encryption to protect user data, make sure that your wireless network security solution can decrypt and scan encrypted traffic.
  4. Look for wireless network security solutions with wireless intrusion detection and prevention to block rogue access points and minimize the disruption from denial of service attacks.
  5. Apply application control to block unauthorized applications from being used on the wireless network.
  6. Set up a secure wireless guest network with encryption for your guests if you want to allow your customers to use WiFi in the lobby or conference rooms.

This is just one hypothetical example of what can happen if you don’t take security seriously. To learn more about wireless security, here is a quick and easy infographic with more information on this important topic.

Follow me on Twitter: @johngord