Email security is serious business for any company. All it takes is for one employee to open an infected attachment, or click a link in a phishing email, to unleash a potential digital Armageddon on your company’s network. From simply crashing the network with a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack to permanently encrypting the critical data files you need to operate, viruses can damage your business in ways that you may never fully recover from.
The simplistic, traditional approach to email security has simply been to rely on employees to comply with simple, common sense rules to protect against infected emails. These rules generally include such things as:
Never open an email attachment from an unknown source
Never open an email attachment that was unexpected – if you received an unexpected attachment, call the sender to confirm that it’s legitimate
Never click on a link in an email from an unknown source
Never assume that an email that looks legitimate but asks for personal information or protected business information is legitimate. When in doubt, call (do not email) the sender to confirm that it is not a phishing email.
Unfortunately, most professional IT staffers have a name for businesses that rely solely on user common sense to avoid viruses – and that word is infected.
If you have a handful of users, they may be trustworthy enough to use a common-sense approach to email. Unfortunately, with every 10 additional users, you exponentially raise the chances that someone, at some time, will get careless and open an infected email. If you have 20, 30 or more employees, it is certain at some point someone will open an infected email.
This is why it is critical that every business have a multi-level approach to combating potential virus infections.
Start with user education – it’s the easiest, cheapest step to take – but it is worthless without a good, network-wide antivirus solution. This antivirus solution needs to be in place, maintained, and updated on every single computer and server on your network. All it takes is one machine with old antivirus signatures, or one machine that is not running the antivirus package, to infect your network or to open your network to outside security threats.
A dedicated hardware firewall is also critical for not just email security but also overall network security. A properly configured and maintained firewall will block suspicious traffic directed into your network from the outside as well as any attempts by infected computers to communicate with virus creators outside the network. This can prevent viruses from doing such things as using your computers as ‘zombie’ computers in DDOS attacks or using Trojan viruses on infected machines on your network to open the network up to greater security threats or data theft from outside.
It is also critical that all applications and operating systems be kept up-to-date on all patches. Viruses quite often exploit well-known security flaws that have been fixed and patched. The success of many viruses is made possible by complacent IT staff who fails to promptly apply software patches and to ensure their systems have the latest security patches. Nerds in a Flash provides real time patch monitoring and antivirus monitoring that is always on the job automatically installing patches and alerting us if your machine is not up to date or if a problem has been found. Contact us if you have questions on whether your current service is doing their job or if you are ready to ditch that current contract for personal, reliable, quality service from the Nerds.