In Our Opinion...

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Small Business Security on a Budget

Dealing with the ever-present risks of a major cyber-security breach is something every small business owner must take seriously. Initiating proactive measures so potential disasters are stopped in their tracks before they arrive has got to be high on the list of places to start.

Cisco Systems are world leaders in the area of dealing with traffic being passed around the world and they have a product called Cisco Umbrella which blocks access to malicious websites before a connection can be established. One simple change in your business router or server and web browsing requests can be redirected to Cisco Umbrella for analysis before a decision to either pass the traffic based on rules you set or deep learning from Cisco’s vast database of knowledge about potential threats determines the ultimate outcome.

Currently Cisco Umbrella (formerly called Open DNS) handles around 1/3rd of the world’s traffic so there is a fair bit of knowledge in there about malicious content.

Cisco Umbrella is a very easy security solution to deploy. Management is in the cloud using a web browser and there is no hardware or software to install and configure. It’s as easy as logging into a website and configure your settings. 

There are multiple options to block malicious web content based on categories or rules. For example, blocking individual websites such as Facebook or Twitter or blocking a category of websites such as gambling or fashion.

All website have a classification by content and the system simply reads the classification before applying the rules.There are over 50 different categories that can be selected to apply a filter or block.

Guest users connecting to the organisation Internet connection would not able to open blocked websites and instead be presented with a custom company branded page highlighting to the user that the content of the request had been blocked based on company policy. For roaming devices such as laptops that are not connected to the company Internet, Cisco Umbrella has a piece of software that can be installed on the device to perform the same redirection.

The ability to have a “Net Nanny” type solution in an organisation makes perfect sense. If company user on company devices cannot access potentially malicious content on the Internet, serious damage to a computer network is one step closer to being safe.

Cisco Umbrella starts at just $20 a month so when you consider the disaster of losing your business because a single click corrupted every file on your network including your backup, it makes perfect sense to be proactive.