Two employees at a business discussing SMB security flaw in their systems

Common Flaws in SMB Security and How to Avoid Them

SMB Security is a broad category that covers all of the technologies, processes, and procedures in place to protect an SMB network from untrusted networks that may eavesdrop. It also includes securing data from threats from within the local network, such as ransomware and malicious insiders. Here are the common flaws in SMB security and what you can do to protect your organization.

1. Poor Password Hygiene

Poor password hygiene is one of the biggest security risks that SMBs face. Sharing passwords with many people, using them in places where they are easily accessible, and using weak passwords are the key issues that compromise the network’s security. This is because every hacker who gets access to one device on the network has access to all of them. Weak passwords also include using words and numbers easily guessed by hackers. This can be avoided by giving access passwords to as few people as possible. Encrypting the passwords, changing them periodically, and storing them will help prevent unauthorized personnel.

2. Having a Flat network

Having a flat network means access to system resources is not restricted only to the administrators. This gives each user access to information they should have no access to. It also leaves a lot of devices on the network which are vulnerable to attacks and can be used by hackers to get into the network easily. Making it a hierarchical network and restricting access to the servers based on security clearance will be more secure.

3. Weak Third-Party Providers

Third-party providers are entities contracted by the organization to carry out specific tasks. They could be LAN network configuration, Disaster Recovery Support, Internet Service providers, Surveillance systems, and so on. Sometimes they may give access to systems that are not meant for accessing the network. Doing this puts the entire organization at great risk of being hacked because they might have sensitive information that can be used to access sensitive material. One should be keen on choosing good quality third-party providers who are secure and stand behind their services even when the organization is not secured.

4. Lack of Awareness and Need for Training

Every employee in an organization could be a potential threat to the system’s cyber security. This is because they have access to sensitive information that hackers can easily use to get into the system. Employees must be trained to protect their networks and what can put the organization in a vulnerable condition. They should know what they should report and what they shouldn’t. They should also be trained on how to respond when a third party accesses sensitive information as well as the procedures that follow.

5. The Risks of BYOD

Backing up sensitive data from an end user’s personal devices (BYOD) can be dangerous. Organizations often disable a device or delete files if the user leaves the company. This may or may not be legal, and it might get sensitive data exposed. An organization must assess the risk of employee devices before making a BYOD decision. It is tough to remove all data stored by an end user, especially if the user uses a personal e-mail account or password. The organization should provide an alternative solution for data storage if the organization doesn’t want to support BYOD.

6. Unpatched Applications

With the rise of mobile devices, more organizations are allowing employees to use corporate mobile devices. However, the security of these devices isn’t as stringent as their PCs. Many organizations are allowing employees to connect mobile devices to their network and use mobile apps, especially if it’s a new application that they haven’t deployed on desktops. It’s crucial to patch mobile devices because most don’t auto-update software. An unpatched application can be a major threat to sensitive data if left open on an employee’s personal device.

7. Beware Of PUPs And PUAs

PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) are programs that can infiltrate an organization’s network, but they don’t pose a direct threat to data security. However, they may lead to malware infection if an employee is tricked into installing them on their computer. PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) are software that can make an end-user’s computer vulnerable to cyber-attacks. PUA can access a network and install malware without the user’s knowledge. It could even trick them into possibly clicking on an attachment or link to infect their device. To avoid this flaw, vet applications before installing them on a corporate network.

8. Endpoint Security

Endpoint security is the best way to secure corporate computers. One example of endpoints are computers used by employees while they’re at work and home. Almost every organization has an endpoint of some sort, from desktops to laptops, tablets, smartphones, and TVs. Endpoints share files and settings with other devices nearby as desktop users. These settings include passwords for mobile applications and browser settings that can be easily shared. To cab this security flaw, an organization must deploy endpoint controls to prevent unwanted data from being shared.

9. User Errors

They say a man is prone to error. Employees are humans who make mistakes. Employees may click or download something they shouldn’t have or forget to log out computers containing sensitive data. These user errors can leave an organization vulnerable to security breaches by malware, spam, and malicious insiders. All users must be educated at the IT and compliance levels to avoid these risks.

Conclusion

SMB Security is very crucial to the well-being of an organization. If not managed properly, it can put an organization at great risk. So, suppose a person is either interested in securing their network and the data stored on it or is already an admin. In that case, they need to be aware of these common flaws that risk an organization’s security.

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