WatchGuard on Setting a Security Policy

By SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff | Posted October 31, 2003

According to a recent study from Infonetics Research, network and computer security spending in North America will grow 78 percent over the next four years. Small, medium, and large organizations are increasing their spending on security products and services because they fear being hacked and having their data attacked by outsiders.

One of the key findings from the study reveals that it is critical for growing businesses to have access to the latest news on threats and vulnerabilities. In fact, the study showed that having a reliable source for threat updates is the top priority for small- and medium-sized businesses when selecting a security vendor.

When it comes to preparing and enforcing a network security policy, small businesses are not that different from larger organizations because few have dedicated security specialists on staff. This is where hiring an Internet security specialist like WatchGuard can play a key role in protecting networking assets.

To help small- and medium-sized businesses effectively manage their security requirements, WatchGuard offers a LiveSecurity Service. Steve Fallin, director of WatchGuard's LiveSecurity Service Rapid Response Team, said the company provides tens of thousands of small and mid-sized businesses with proactive security alerts, expert advice and systematic security updates.

"From a very practical standpoint, most businesses are aware of the need for security, but its not at the top of their 'to-do' lists," Fallin said. "They need to change their thinking, because when it comes to network security, anything is better than nothing."

WatchGuard recommends that businesses start small — begin with an assessment of what needs to be protected. Fallin said the best way to start preparing a security policy is to take measure of your assets.

"Mail servers, databases, and websites are common business assets that need to be protected," Fallin said. "After you get a firewall in place on your network's gateway to the Internet, you have to be aggressive in keeping virus protection up to date."

Fallin said preparing a one-page security policy only takes a couple of hours at the most.

"A lot of people fall prey to thinking that their security policy has to be perfect the first time," Fallin said. "They need to accept that the policy will be an evolutionary process and go with the flow."

Fallin recommends that desktop computers be configured to check for new security patches. He also advises that small businesses pay attention to deploying backup systems, too. And no security policy is completed without educating employees about virus prevention how to backup important files.

Once you have a security policy in place, enforcing it should be a routine matter. Fallin said it's like learning to lock the doors to your office every night. "Enforcing your security policy should just be something you do as part of your everyday business routine," he said.

The final piece in the network security puzzle is to hookup with a trusted source for all the latest virus alerts and security patches. There are a lot of bogus security patches out there, and e-mail malcontents are developing hybrid viruses to leverage gaps in your security everyday. It's at this point that many small businesses become overwhelmed with security issues. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Straight out of the box, every WatchGuard security appliance and server security product is backed by the company's LiveSecurity Service. By activating your subscription, you're covered from day one with a renewable suite of services that include software updates, technical support, and virus alerts. And you're not limited to minor software patches — new software versions are available to active LiveSecurity subscribers throughout the life of the product at no additional cost.

As the frequency of new attacks and vulnerabilities continues to surge, the task of ensuring that your network is secure becomes even more challenging. WatchGuard helps customers by absorbing this burden. Its Rapid Response Team, a dedicated group of network security experts, monitors the Internet to identify emerging threats, then delivers LiveSecurity Service alerts that tell you specifically what you can do to address each new menace. By customizing your broadcast preferences, you can fine-tune what kind of advice and alerts the LiveSecurity Service sends you.

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