How managed security solutions can keep your company data safe and secure Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2010

If you own or operate a business, you take the necessary steps to protect the physical location of your company with a security alarm system. The problem is that these systems are reactive — they alert the police after someone enters your building.

But your company’s network and data also need to be protected. And you can’t afford to have a security system that only responds to threats as they — or after they — penetrate your system. And with managed security solutions, you don’t have to wait until the threat reaches this level, as network security solutions offer proactive protection that is easy to implement and affordable for most businesses.

Network security solutions are complete Internet security solutions. More than just a firewall device or a virtual private network (VPN) solution, a network security solution protects your networks and your Internet access, providing your company with the peace of mind that its data is secure and with increased employee productivity, says Thomas Merola, a sales engineer with Time Warner Cable Business Class.

“Any company that uses a network and/or the public Internet can benefit from a network security solution,” says Merola. “In this day and age, companies cannot afford to have their networks and data compromised.”

Smart Business spoke with Merola about network security solutions, the benefits they offer and why it’s so vital for companies to implement them in today’s business climate.

What benefits can a company see from a network security solution?

First, you get 24/7 monitoring and management, including e-mailed and Web-based management reports. You’ll always know what information is being passed through your network, enabling you to decide what needs to be changed or adjusted.

With content filtering, anti-virus, anti-spam and anti-malware services, you’ll be able to not only detect attacks and threat trends but also prevent them. Intrusion detection and prevention will protect your network by blocking backdoor file-sharing programs and controlling access to Instant Messaging (IM) and other applications.

Other features include a virtual private network (VPN) service, which provides a secure connection to remote networks. This allows you to transmit sensitive data across the Internet and securely access files in a safe environment. Also, demilitarized zone (DMZ) services give you the ability to securely host resources that need to be separate from your local area network.

Why are network security solutions so important in today’s business environment?

One-third of the time employees spend online at work is nonwork related. Internet misuse at work costs companies more than $85 billion each year due to lost productivity.

Besides that, many companies use public IM services, exposing them to risk, and few companies have clearly defined IM policies. Peer-to peer (P2P) file sharing is another area of concern, as 45 percent of executable files downloaded through P2P applications contain malicious code and a company can be liable for up to $150,000 per download if the downloaded content is copyrighted.

Because of these issues, each and every high speed Internet connection needs to be secure. Internet security must be managed 24/7 and firewalls must be managed remotely with proactive security updates and constant monitoring. Viruses, spam, spyware and malicious codes have to be stopped immediately. And all of this has to be affordable.

These are all reasons that network security solutions have become so important in today’s business environment.

What types of companies should be implementing network security solutions?

A company should implement a network security solution if:

  • Its customers conduct transactions over the Internet
  • Its customers have personal or private information stored anywhere on its network
  • Its customers have any compliance regulations
  • Its customers want to be protected against the vast variety of dangers on the Internet

What does a company need to consider when implementing a network security solution?

When looking to implement a network security solution, you need to answer the following questions:

  • How many users do you have on your network?
  • How many locations or sites do you have that you want to connect via VPN?
  • Do you scan your e-mail for spam and viruses before they reach your network?
  • Would you like to know how your network is being used, and where and for how long employees are going on the Internet?
  • Is your Unified Threat Management (UTM) suite proactive, and does it stop viruses, spyware and other threats before they reach your network?
  • Do you have a Web-based server or other externally accessed servers?

What are the consequences of not properly monitoring your system?

A company can face stiff fines from the federal government when it comes to credit card, Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations. And you can lose all of your company and personal data in an instant.

Is the ROI of network security solutions measurable?

Depending on the size of your business, you can begin to see an ROI almost immediately. The cost of a virus, spyware or malware destroying your network is immeasurable, as is having your vital company information fall into the hands of your competitors.

Thomas Merola is a sales engineer with Time Warner Cable Business Class. Reach him at (614) 255-2819 or thomas.merola@twcable.com.