“There was a time when security meant locking your front door and storing your valuables in a safe.” No kidding, I thought, as I read a recent Forbes article on digital security. When MyITpros opened for business in 1993, computer security still meant physical security above all. Before the Internet became a mainstay of communicating and computing, data resided mostly on individual computer hard drives. If you could keep someone from walking out the door with your hard drive or your laptop, you were secure.
Networking has changed all that. Sure, physical security is still important; that’s why data centers exist – to provide a place that’s locked down tight where companies can store their data. But today, data is increasingly likely to be shared via networking, and anyone with an Internet connection and bad intentions can attempt to steal or tamper with it.
How do you protect your data in an age when digital security is as critical as – if not more critical than – physical security? If you look back over the last 20 or so years, I think what you see is a process of layers of security being added. Computing evolves and changes, threats to computer data evolve and change and, ultimately, security evolves and changes in response. But what was done before doesn’t go away; we just add more security on top of it. Here’s a look at how that has unfolded, and what it takes to be secure now.
Putting Up The Firewalls
After physical security, the next layer of defense to emerge for computer data was the firewall. Like a literal wall, it’s designed to keep intruders out; if hackers try to get into the data inside a company’s computers, the firewall is there to stop them. Today, years after its introduction, a firewall remains an essential part of network security for MyITpros’ clients. Sitting between a company’s computer systems and the Internet, it blocks unauthorized Internet traffic from ever reaching the systems.
Guarding Against Malware
Given that firewalls are designed to keep unauthorized traffic out, what exactly makes that traffic a potential threat? That leads to the next layer of protection: anti-virus software. We started offering it to our clients in the mid- to late 1990s, when computer viruses began to proliferate at a rapid pace. Back then, they were often more annoying than anything else, introducing computer code into computers to make them do things like suddenly display a ton of popup ads.
Today, we more commonly call malicious software programs malware, and we see them being used almost exclusively for far more destructive purposes, such as to steal credit card numbers. One way we protect against them today is by providing our clients with email security that detects threats like viruses or phishing schemes and keeps messages that include them from reaching inboxes. But email isn’t the only source of threats anymore.
Protecting Against Web-Based Threats
As more and more companies use the web to conduct business, websites have become vulnerable to direct attacks that threaten the security of corporate networks. As a result, it’s become essential not only to put up firewalls and install anti-virus software, but also to protect web applications from attack. Web protection is the latest layer of security that’s become essential – and it likely won’t be the last.
One of the solutions we offer at MyITpros is Advanced Endpoint Security, which brings together three different kinds of protection to reduce the risk of a network security breach. In an environment where you have more than one kind of threat, you need more than one kind of security software. Our solution combines threat scanning software, an anti-malware program and web protection. We believe that’s the type of coordinated approach you have to take to achieve the greatest level of computer security possible.
If you’re wondering whether your company is doing as much as it can to secure digital data against the growing threats, please contact us. We’d be happy to help you assess your situation.
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Bill McCharen, COO
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