Recommendations for managing small business network vulnerability


iStock 000015713160XSmall resized 600When small businesses first launch a network, there are a number of weak spots owners and IT departments must recognize in order to secure their organizations before an external threat presents itself. When outsourcing IT services to a third-party provider, however, SMBs can enjoy peace of mind knowing their network management strategy includes vulnerability prevention, with tedious security maintenance tasks taken care of by expert providers.

While outsourcing IT services and network management duties should be considered by all small business owners, it is still important for companies to understand how to manage their network's vulnerability so as to gauge the effectiveness of the outsourcing. Companies can work collaboratively with third-party IT services providers to develop an aggressive network vulnerability assessment and management program to close weak spots and create a consistent strategy moving forward.

What the guide recommends
Dark Reading recently published A Guide To Network Vulnerability Management, outlining the way companies of all sizes can improve the security of their networks. Network vulnerability management is not a one-time fix, but a continual process of checking and correcting network weak spots as part of the standard IT process. Each application added to a network brings a unique set of security threats companies should be prepared to tackle with third-party providers.

One way to minimize the risk of each application introduced to a network is to look for holes in the network continually. Through constant network reviews, IT services providers can ensure no hackers are attacking critical systems, and guarantee that internal data are secure. Network vulnerability management is more about discovering possible attack avenues before an incident occurs, and less about reacting to a threat that has already manifested.

Each application on a network should be accessed regularly to see if any weak spots are present or have been created over time. If a vulnerability has been spotted, third-party providers can work with IT departments to address the weakness promptly and look for similar disparities in other applications.

Apart from applications, networks can also be vulnerable to attacks from physical equipment. If routers and switches, for example, have a public read-only SNMP community string enabled there may be weaknesses present. Thus, IT services providers can offer expert insight into finding and fixing vulnerabilities on networks.