The demands on bandwidth for a small or medium business (SMB) are growing constantly, so it’s critical for an SMB to have a secure Internet implementation that can handle everything. It takes an IT consultant with expertise in this area to understand the issues, but here is some of the information you should know when addressing Internet bandwidth for your business.
We all know that more and more happens over the Internet — email, web apps (such as LinkedIn), cloud-based customer resource management (CRM) tools and Internet-based phones (VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol) are just a few types of Internet hogs. Even worse, a typical business has to suffer from unauthorized use. Most businesses allow employees some level of personal use, but too often this ends up being a streaming service such as Pandora, which clogs up the business pipeline. (It’s worth noting that Netflix, Pandora and YouTube consume approximately two-thirds of ALL Internet traffic!) So, you need to manage the bandwidth demands of real work and control the bandwidth demands of extracurricular Internet usage.
Don’t Forget Security
Even worse than unauthorized internal usage of your Internet, you also need to deal with increasingly sophisticated cybercrime. This has gone far past the lone hacker out there to the point where potential cyberthieves can even access a CaaS — cybercrime as a service — whereby anyone can get state-of-the-art tools to invade your systems, extract information, and even track the success of their results on a dashboard. One strategy they use is ransomware, in which they block your access to your data unless you pay them.
Obviously, just paying off the ransomware attackers is not the right long-term strategy. You need tools that restrict access, detect intrusion attempts, and interfere with their communications back to their home base. Unfortunately, SMBs are particularly appealing targets for cybercrime, since they typically don’t have the IT expertise to protect themselves. Cybercriminals can tailor malicious emails to SMBs more effectively, since they often have predictable challenges and interests. This makes SMBs a great target, and they are actually 15 times more likely to be targeted than a larger enterprise.
A Bundled Solution
One great way to address both bandwidth requirements and security is with tools from OpenDNS, the world’s largest Internet security firm. Now part of Cisco Systems, OpenDNS monitors 80 billion Internet requests per day to identify and act on cyberthreats. With OpenDNS solutions, you can control access to your systems with an effective layered approach of leading-edge tools. By stopping external intrusions into your network, you free up that precious bandwidth needed for your business to thrive. OpenDNS even provides roaming client access that lets business travelers — a very appealing target for cybercriminals — to access the full suite of security benefits while on the road, rather than risking public Wi-Fi in the coffee shop, hotel lobby or airport.
While controlling access from external threats, OpenDNS tools can also monitor and control which external websites are being accessed from inside the organization. This lets you track who is accessing what and for how long. Most employees are more than happy to comply with policies once they know that it’s easy to monitor their activities.
All this security, monitoring and control adds up to keeping your bandwidth for its primary task — growing your business.
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