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Old 31st March 2006, 11:24 AM   #1
VirtualOffice
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Exclamation Data Security and Small Businesses

We ran across and blogged this new program put out by the Council of Better Business Bureaus - thought you all might be interested as well!

Blog Post from Virtual Administration.net blog:

The Council of Better Business Bureaus recognizes small businesses as a vital part of the business world and in support has released a new educational program geared toward helping small businesses keep up with the big leagues when it comes to data security and privacy issues.

According to a 2005 survey by the Small Business Technology Institute:
"...more than half of all small businesses in the U.S. experienced a security breach in the last year. Nearly one-fifth of small businesses do not use virus-scanning software for e-mail, over 60 percent do not protect their wireless networks with encryption...and two-thirds of small businesses do not have an information security plan."

Entitled 'Security & Privacy - Made Simpler' the Better Business Bureau offers these informative toolkits in everyday terminology about how small businesses can protect both their customer and employee information, thus avoiding becoming part of the statistical victims of secuity breaches and information theft.

The first toolkit, focussing on small businesses protecting their consumer information, has been released and is available at your local BBB office or via download from the Better Business Bureau website.

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Old 31st March 2006, 01:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VirtualOffice
"...more than half of all small businesses in the U.S. experienced a security breach in the last year. Nearly one-fifth of small businesses do not use virus-scanning software for e-mail, over 60 percent do not protect their wireless networks with encryption...and two-thirds of small businesses do not have an information security plan."
Whoa, that is definitely an area where some serious education is needed. But, with the exception of not using virus-scanning software, I can understand how a lot of small businesses don't even know where to start with security because it seems so overwhelming.

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Old 31st March 2006, 11:25 PM   #3
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Yowza! Those stats are scary!

The wireless encryption issue is the one that freaks me out and there does not seem to be consistent advice about this. I run my laptop--which is my main computer--off a wireless network for my Internet access at home. It is encrypted but only with a WEP key which I understand is not really that secure.

Tips?

Karri

PS: From these stats it sounds like there are some fabulous biz opps for tech minded entrepreneurs looking to service the small business markets

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Old 1st April 2006, 04:40 AM   #4
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Cool More resources

Hi, well....it's something I'm still learning about as well but I DID find a free online seminar here entitled -
CyberCrime101: How to Prevent Identity Theft and Online Fraud

It says it's a four week course....but seems like a good place to start - I've not used the site it's hosted at so can't vouch for it, but perhaps I'll give it a peek.
The site offers a mix of online learning ops, some focussed on business issues...copyright law, website issues (SEO, etc) and marketing, etc.

If anyone else has experience wth VU I'd be curious to know about it.

I'm just searching the net for other resources besides the BBB info I mentioned earlier, but that itself looks great, worth a download and read for sure.


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Old 3rd May 2006, 01:57 PM   #5
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It is encrypted but only with a WEP key which I understand is not really that secure.
The question really is, "Secure compared to what?"

There are typically several encryption options available with even the least-capable wireless device, and any one of them provides much better security than no encryption at all.

Using a WEP key (indeed, the lowest level of encryption) does two things:

1) Most importantly, it keeps 99.999% of all "war driving" hackers out of your network. It's simply too big a pain to hack even a 10-digit key like WEP uses and there are undoubtedly completely unsecured networks nearby that are very easy targets ... no hacking required!

2) Secondarily, and a much less-sensitive issue due to the difficulty of putting it into practice, encrypting your wireless data makes it extremely difficult to interpret what that data is as it flows through the air.

As a guy who sets up wireless networks several times per month, I have yet to see a WEP-encrypted network get breached or monitored successfully. More than likely this will change as time goes on and more networks are secured, but for the foreseeable future, people being who they are, simple WEP encryption is just fine for any network that's not engaged in Cutthroat Commerce or National Security-type work where they are a truly tempting target for hackers.

And I would like to mention to anyone who is nervous about installing a secured wireless network that it is really very simple to set up using the "Quick Install" instructions that come with any wireless device. Click here, hit the next button, let the machine figure stuff out ... bingo. Your device is secured. Set up the computers that will connect to the device with a few clicks and a little typing and ... bingo. Your network is secure. Go about your business. It's really just that easy, and you won't have to mess with it, again.

Follow the 1-2-3-EZ-Setup. 'Nuff said.

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Old 3rd May 2006, 03:29 PM   #6
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A lot of it depends on the wireless protocol. WEP on 802.11b is terrible. Because of a flaw, most hackers can break that encryption in a few minutes. WEP is much better on 802.11g.

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Old 3rd May 2006, 11:24 PM   #7
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Security really does come down to adding layers of protection. Nothing will ever be 100% secure. Think about your car for a second. Obviously if you leave the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition it's not very secure. Taking your key and locking the doors adds one layer of scurity and will prevent some people from being able to steal it. Add an alarm and it's another layer of security. Add the club to the steering wheel and that's one more layer. You've probably stopped 99% of people from taking your car.

The truth though is that if someone wants your car badly enough and knows how they can still take it even with all the alarms and devices you add.

WEP is probably like liking the door. It will keep most people out, but anyone with some know how and the desire can still get in, probably in a couple of hours. WPA is a better security option though I'm sure it's not 100% secure either.

And no matter how tight we lock down our computers and networks the weakest link has always been and always will be us. Humans tend to be the reason our networks aren't secure. We choose very simple passwords even though we know better. We leave things around we shouldn't and we can often be too trusting when someone is asking us questions.

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