Small business is big cyber crime business

Cyber crime might be big business, but it is not exclusively a big business threat. Small businesses are the growing targets and should be watching their backs, or rather, protecting their networks.

According to Anton Jacobsz, managing director at value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited, attacks on small businesses have seen a huge rise. "Many small businesses do not have the right security in place, making their cash and information vulnerable in the digital economy. As more and more reports are showing that it is small business bearing the brunt of cyber crime, we, in the African region, where there are so many small businesses, need to sit up and take notice, as this is a very likely target for cyber criminals," he says.

A whitepaper, titled: ‘Simplify Your Small Business IT and Security', by a leading provider of fast and secure cyber security solutions, Fortinet, states: "In a recent survey on Small Business IT/Security Priorities and Preferences [Osterman Research], small business owners confirmed what we [Fortinet] inherently know, ‘their top priority is the (top and bottom line) success of their business'. It is surprising, however, that despite this focus on business performance, the majority of organisations still manage IT and security with company employees. In fact, the infrastructure managed was primarily a mix of products and vendors – a complex and costly approach despite its lesser overall priority."

The challenge, continues Fortinet, is that part of the reason for this complexity stems from the way networks have evolved in recent years. With access to information, applications, and services as critical success factors, demands on the business network have soared, resulting in more bandwidth and more wired switches. At the same time, highlights Fortinet, the rise of mobility, and more recently, bring your own device (BYOD), as well as the Internet of things (IOT), have driven a wireless explosion with more and faster access points sprouting up everywhere. And, the growing use of cloud services, for agility and expansion, only adds to the complexity of today's small business network.

"The cyber crime reports in the media can seem overwhelming for small businesses, yet they cannot be ignored and must be addressed, rather sooner than when it is too late," says Jacobsz.

Fortinet's whitepaper shows small business owners have expressed an intense desire for simplicity of IT and security, with a single partner, which allows them to focus on their core businesses.

An effective solution to combat today's sophisticated threats and simplify a small business' expanding wired and wireless networks is, for instance, Fortinet's Connected Unified Threat Management (UTM). It provides a consolidated platform not just for all of the security needs of small businesses, but also networking requirements. Specifically, such a solution includes an enterprise-class network, e-mail, and endpoint security; wired switching, including 24 or more ports, with power over Ethernet (POE) for connected devices; wireless access points with dual radios, 802.11ac Wave 2 support for 1 Gbps+ connectivity, a single pane-of-glass management, often in the cloud; and an extensible platform to grow with the business.

"As a distribution partner of Fortinet, we are confident in recommending this solutions to small businesses looking for a simple yet effective protection against potential sophisticated threats.

"An ideal scenario sees this consolidated platform being managed by a trusted third party. This allows small businesses to stay focused on their long-term growth and success," concludes Jacobsz.

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