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Why is web security indispensable for your business?

on October 13, 2010

In a recent survey conducted by GFI Software, 69.9% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) said they used web monitoring and web filtering solutions in their business. When GFI asked these SMEs why they chose to invest in the technology, nine in 10 said they did so to block offensive sites, to stop malware infections from downloaded files and to prevent malware attacks from drive-by downloads. This shows that business are taking web security very seriously, and rightly so.

What makes it so important?

As social media sites have become part of most individuals’ everyday life, organizations need to keep an eye out for cyberslacking – as this means lost productivity, bandwidth hogging, as well as web security risks. Google Advisory, for example, recently announced that sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace are regular victims of malicious attacks. This means that every time an employee clicks on links or downloads material from one or multiple social networks, the corporate network is vulnerable to these web threats. The threats are real and GFI’s survey found that 65.4% of SMEs which did not use a web filtering or web security solution experienced malware or virus attacks via downloaded files.

How to protect your business without affecting employee morale

Blocking social media (and the Internet) completely is counterproductive because many business today use social media to promote their business – in fact, the most valuable brands in the world are experiencing a direct correlation between top financial performance and deep social media engagement. Besides, if used moderately, allowing employees to check their social media profiles for short periods may increase productivity as it gives them the opportunity to take a short break without needing to leave their workstation.

This is where comprehensive web monitoring, web filtering and web security enter the scene. While web monitoring controls web activity (updating you with reports in case of employee Internet abuse), web filtering and web security prevent malicious downloads and malware from infecting the network. A good web security tool, using multiple antivirus engines, for example, will scan all web downloads for malicious files thus protecting your network.

Ultimately no single technology solution can guarantee total security. Yet it is imperative that you try to put as many measures in place as possible in order to counter the growing number of web threats and lower the risk of a successful attack by investing in a combination of software and hardware, as well as having a good Internet Acceptable Usage Policy which informs employees about the dangers of web browsing as well as what they are allowed and not allowed to do when using the company’s computers and Internet access.

About the Author:

Christina is Web Marketing Content Specialist at GFI Software. She is a keen blogger and has contributed content to several IT sites, besides working as an editor and regular contributor to Talk Tech to Me. Christina also writes for various publications including the Times of Malta and its technology supplement.

 
Comments
Jarod October 14, 20103:26 am

Good article, I will consider applying in my current workplace.

Bill October 14, 20103:28 am

I currently block social network sites, not just for security, but to ensure productivity.

Sue Walsh November 1, 20104:06 am

I don’t think blocking social networking sites is at all smart these days. Sites like Twitter and Facebook have become valuable business tools and enhance customer service and marketing efforts. There are security risks which is why you need to educate the employees that administrate your company’s social networking accounts and make sure they are aware of the latest scam and spam issues.

Paul King December 15, 20104:56 pm

Even if sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Myspace are regular victims of malicious attacks, it doesn’t seem to affect their membership base (if you exclude Myspace, of course). It’s as if people aren’t too concerned about security vulnerabilities, though they do seem to be very aware of them. Gawker Media, I’ve heard, suffered a stunning cyber attack over the past weekend, but they still generate traffic like nobody’s business.

Edmund January 5, 20115:40 am

With regards to protecting businesses without affecting employee morale, I think this is where effective network monitoring solutions can step in. Studies have shown that employees who are aware of network monitoring solutions in place are less likely to spend office time on non-work related activities. Although the company may not likely take action on non-work related activities, employees do not waste time as much knowing that they are being monitored.