The Silver Lining In Your Cloud TM

How SMBs Can Protect Against Cyber Threats

Businesses of all sizes have to constantly worry about the security of their data. To keep up with the demands of modern business environments, companies need consistent, reliable access to their information while keeping their sensitive files out of the hands of those who would abuse that data for personal gain.

The problem is that the threats to cyber security are constantly evolving. Every day, hackers update old tactics, or come up with newer, more vicious ones. Some attacks try to con user account information out of your workers to gain access to your data while others seek to deny you access to your own data.

To protect against these cyber threats using an on-premise IT infrastructure requires the use of many different kinds of security measures, as each threat is designed to take advantage of different weaknesses in cyber security.

Guarding Against User Account Theft

One of the biggest weaknesses in any IT infrastructure is the compromising of authorized user accounts by hackers. User accounts can be compromised in a number of ways, including:

  • Users falling for phishing attacks and volunteering account info to hackers.
  • Users sharing account access credentials with people outside the organization.
  • Hackers guessing a weak password manually.
  • Hackers using password-guessing “bots” to enter random passwords until one works.

To protect against user account theft, SMBs need to establish and enforce strong internal policies for how user account credentials are handled.

Users should be educated about phishing tactics and the need for keeping user account details secret.

Additionally, rules for creating strong passwords that are difficult to guess are a must. Some business software applications have tools that allow SMBs to require users to have lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and symbols in passwords to increase password strength.

To further increase security, SMBs should also establish a limit on the number of failed access attempts on one account before it becomes locked. This can keep bots from being used to just continuously guess passwords.

Finally, SMBs may want to consider using one or more additional authentication factors in addition to the password. Examples of additional authentication include, but aren’t limited to physical keycards, biometrics, and texted one-off verification codes.

Fighting Ransomware

One of the more insidious attacks that hackers have developed in recent years is the ransomware attack. Ransomware infiltrates a business’ infrastructure and begins encrypting databases so that legitimate users can’t access it.

After the data is encrypted, the hacker then offers to provide the encryption key if the business owner pays a ransom.

There are a few ways that SMBs can fight ransomware:

  • Using strong perimeter firewalls and antivirus programs to prevent the installation of ransomware from external sources.
  • Creating local backups of business-critical apps and data using storage media such as flash drives.
  • Adding a cloud server that creates periodic backups of data at regular intervals.

Each of these methods have their own challenges. Firewalls and antivirus, for example, can only do so much to prevent ransomware from getting onto an SMB’s IT systems. Using local backups adds time and labor to the management of IT infrastructure. Using a cloud service for remote backup adds some operational expenses, but saves on internal time and effort.

Creating a Secure IT Infrastructure

The threats listed above are just two examples of attack types that hackers use to steal or hold data for ransom. There are many other threats to cyber security for SMBs to deal with.

To guard against these threats, SMBs should have a secure infrastructure that uses multiple layers of digital and physical security. Measures such as firewalls, antivirus, IDS/IPS, secure data centers, encryption, multi-factor authentication, user account controls, and data backups can all help to make IT infrastructure highly secure.

However, establishing all of these security measures with an in-house IT infrastructure is cost-prohibitive to all but the largest enterprises, many of whom spend millions on their in-house IT.

Secure clouds for SMBs can provide strong, multi-layered security without the massive capital expenses for hardware and software licensing. Instead, the SMB can take advantage of the cloud provider’s existing security infrastructure.

For example, offers SMBs enterprise-class security features such as Palo Alto Networks’ industry-leading firewall and Vormetric’s top of the line data encryption (which is used by 17 of the Fortune 30). Additionally, WHOA deploys its cloud hardware in secure, Tier IV data centers that use biometric access controls, armed security, and 24/7 monitoring to keep the hardware running WHOA’s cloud safe from physical access attempts.

Building a secure infrastructure can be difficult and expensive. But, with the right cloud service provider, it doesn’t have to be. Learn more about how the cloud can be your ideal long-term security solution today!