The threat landscape facing small and medium businesses makes it so that no one security solution can protect a business from hackers, and this is why Robinett Consulting believes SMBs deserve a layered approach to their cybersecurity. By deploying multiple security layers that can be orchestrated together into a single, seamless experience, businesses can gain better insight into the kinds of attacks targeting their business and the best ways to improve their cybersecurity posture. Each tool implemented into a business’ IT environment must provide unique security features that fill security gaps and support the other security services while providing insightful notifications and alerts.
Here at Robinett Consulting, we strongly recommend businesses improve their cybersecurity posture with three strong security layers that include:
- Next-Generation Firewall
- Endpoint Protection
- Multifactor Authentication
These three security solutions can be customized to meet the unique cybersecurity needs of any business while providing enterprise-level protection to even the smallest of businesses. While the data a company needs to keep secure and the unique aspects of their IT environment often require additional cybersecurity solutions, these three services can help fill security gaps and provide a strong foundation for further improving the company’s cybersecurity infrastructure. In this article, we want to outline the benefits of each service and offer insights into the flexibility and security coverage provided by every solution!
Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)
As companies include remote workers and cloud-based infrastructure in their IT environment, defending the network’s edge becomes critical for a strong cybersecurity posture. An NGFW helps prevent malicious actors from ever getting into a business’ network with real-time remediation tools and around the clock network monitoring. Because the edge of a company’s network can shift often, Robinett Consulting recommends next-generation firewalls for businesses of all sizes. The features included with NGFWs can be customized to match a business’ needs, and as the business grows, an NGFW can scale up to match ever-changing cybersecurity needs.
Next-generation firewalls can reduce the risk of a breach by up to 80%1 compared to regular firewalls. The intrusion prevention features on many NGFWs take automatic action to prevent threats and constantly receive updated threat intelligence that allows them to identify and remediate new threats developed by hackers. When a threat is identified and remediated, an NGFW can send a business’ IT team informed alerts and notifications that can reduce investigation and response times drastically. Because NGFWs come with straightforward and streamlined management systems, IT teams have reported a reduction in investigation and response times of up to 83%.
Endpoint protection defends devices from malware and other threats that have slipped by an NGFW or entered the network through means a firewall cannot monitor. For example, if an employee plugs a malicious USB they found into their computer, an endpoint protection service can identify the malicious code on the USB and immediately prevent it from causing harm to the business’ network. Hackers are constantly looking for ways to disguise attacks as trusted files or imbed malware delivery tools into benign services companies use regularly. To defend against these strategies, our team recommends implementing an endpoint protection service that can easily be deployed to monitor every endpoint connecting to the network.
The most reliable endpoint protection services come with download protection, network access control, and in-depth reporting features that help a business stay protected and informed. Download protection scans files that a user accesses from the internet for any malicious code, and many endpoint protection services will monitor the downloaded file’s actions in case it acts suspiciously. Network access control features allow a business’ IT team to manage which devices can upload data, download files, access equipment, and perform data-related tasks on the network. With these tools, an endpoint protection service can stop unauthorized data manipulation or theft and notify IT staff promptly. These notifications and alerts can provide detailed and actionable incident data that IT teams need to act quickly.
Generally, multifactor authentication is the last layer of security that protects a business’ accounts. MFA solutions authenticate log in attempts to better ensure only the correct users gain access to a work account, sensitive application, or other protected software. Cisco DUO, Microsoft Authenticator, and other MFA services allow employees to authenticate using a push notification or temporary access code, so everyone has a streamlined process for accessing their accounts that won’t interrupt workflows. By requiring accounts to be protected by MFA, businesses can make it so that if an attacker compromises an employee’s credentials, they won’t be able to access the account.
A strong MFA solution requires the right configurations and reliable security tools to support it. By layering MFA with an NGFW and endpoint protection, employees can be protected from threats and identify when their account credentials have been compromised. To be the most effective, MFA services must be configured to only allow a certain number of authentication attempts, provide device health check ups when authenticating, and automatically block log in attempts based on geographic location or other factors. As a security layer, MFA is easily scalable and can be customized to detect devices with poor health and help users keep their devices updated and as secure as possible before accessing the network.
A layered approach to cybersecurity can provide enterprise-level security to small and medium businesses by protecting the network perimeter, endpoints, and account access. Small businesses that have a limited budget can work with an IT consultant like Robinett Consulting to gain access to custom-tailored security solutions at prices that can fit within their budget. By implementing a next-generation firewall, endpoint protection, and multifactor authentication, SMBs can protect their data from hackers and grow with confidence as their security solutions scale with the business.
To make the most of the business’ security solutions, SMBs need an IT consultant that can provide them the managed services they need and offer actionable guidance to operate securely. The team here at Robinett Consulting believe small businesses should have access to the same high-quality security services as enterprise companies, so we provide individualized consultations that assess and address the unique IT environment of our partners. If your business needs to improve its security posture or have its network assessed for security, our IT specialists are ready to provide a complimentary consultation, so we can provide your business IT as it should be.
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- Forrester Secure Firewall Case Study, March 2022 ↩︎