The rapid development of cyberthreats over the past years has driven small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the Connecticut area to take cybersecurity seriously. However, nothing could have prepared them for what was to come in 2020. The onset of the pandemic caused many companies to switch to a work-from-home setting, making them even more vulnerable to hackers. Since most homes don't have the same level of cybersecurity as offices, cybercriminals can exploit unsecured connections to infiltrate unprotected access points and invade corporate networks.
What Tools to Include in Your Information Technology Planning
If you run an SMB, you should ensure that your systems are well-protected against various cyberthreats. With the new year just a few months away, here are some of the top cybersecurity services and tools your business should include in your IT budget plan for 2021.
Firewall technology may be old, but it's one of the first lines of defense for your network. Firewalls check all incoming and outgoing traffic, and determine which ones to block and which ones to allow based on predefined security rules. They also keep records of network events, which your IT staff or IT managed services provider (MSP) can use to identify unusual or suspicious network activity. This will also allow them to update security rules when they detect new threats.
- Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is another vital cybersecurity tool to invest in. Using the latest antivirus software with a strong firewall is one of the best ways of protecting your network from cyberattacks. While a firewall monitors all incoming and outgoing network traffic, antivirus software protects, scans, and removes malware from your computers and mobile devices.
- Packet Sniffers
Also called network analyzers, protocol analyzers, or packet analyzers, packet sniffers are programs or hardware that monitor and intercept data packets traveling over your network. These can help your IT team or MSP monitor your employees' network activities and check the contents of communications and files being transmitted and received to prevent your systems from being infected by malware.
- Web Vulnerability Scanning Tools
These are programs designed to identify vulnerabilities in web applications by analyzing each file within the website. It conducts an automatic security audit and looks for loopholes in proxy servers, web servers, web application servers, and other web services that hackers can exploit to gain access to your network, obtain your data and sell it on the dark web.
- Endpoint Encryption
Endpoint encryption scrambles data copied and stored in removable devices such as external hard drives, USB drives, and mobile devices. The files are encrypted sector by sector, and can only be accessed with the correct decryption key. This keeps your data safe in case devices are stolen or lost.
- Penetration Testing Tools
Also known as pen testing or ethical hacking, penetration testing is a simulated cyberattack on your network to detect vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. This can be done either manually or automatically, using specialized software applications. Invest in pen testing tools that can gather as much information about the target, identify all possible entry points, and discover weak exploitable assets.
Aside from identifying potential weaknesses in your network, penetration testing also checks your company's cybersecurity policies, compliance requirements, security awareness of your staff, and how quickly they can detect and respond to cyberattacks. This will help your IT team or MSP develop a plan to improve your company's cybersecurity defenses.
- Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Services
PKI is a technology used to authenticate devices and users connected to the internet. It uses digital signature technology and public-key cryptography to create a secure environment for businesses conducting transactions through the internet. This helps reduce the risk of fraud by authenticating the identity of users, and keeps messages safe during transit, ensuring they can only be read by the intended recipient.
Cyberthreats will continue to evolve, but including the right security tools and services in your IT budget plan will protect your company's data and prevent costly data breaches. Another way you can keep your Connecticut business safe from cyberthreats is by partnering with a reliable MSP like Charles IT. We help provide managed IT Services for businesses in the Connecticut area with all their IT concerns, including network support, cloud hosting, and cybersecurity. Call us today to learn more.