"Stack" is a hot buzzword in technology right now. Simplified, a stack is just the various components you are utilizing for something, such as running a website. You need your servers (Microsoft Azure for example), and the code they're running on (such as Java or .NET). Everything in a business can be classified as some sort of stack. Your business' security stack is what keeps your network up and running, your data secure and your assets safe.
Worldwide Security Spending in 2015: $75,000,000,000
IT security is critical for any business in today's age of hackers, ransomware and other threats. Gartner, the leading technology research firm, predicted that $75 billion would be spent worldwide in 2015 (source). That is a lot of money just to keep things secure. So what does security and stacks have to do with your business? As previously mentioned, a stack is composed of various components, and your security should be too. Purchasing spam filtering services and calling it a day is a surefire recipe for disaster.
Building a Solid Base
The foundation of a structure is a solid, physical starting point that everything else builds off of. A firewall for your office(s) is the same thing. Running your business on a consumer class firewall is like having an amateur pour your foundation, it may last for a while, but long term it is a major risk. When selecting a firewall, make sure it can grow with your business, but more importantly, make sure it has excellent security services. Even inside your own office, there can be many threats such as guest laptops or tablets. A good firewall will watch all inbound and outbound network activity for potential security issues. If you want to take security to the next level, invest in an intrustion prevention system (IPS). Some firewalls will include a lower end IPS, but for maximum protection a discrete IPS (such as SecureWorks, what we use here at Technology Pointe) is recommended.
Physical security is also something to keep in mind. Are you servers in a secure location (locked room, datacenter, etc.) where people cannot get to them? What about your backups? Just something else to keep in mind.
It is a relief not to have to follow up with our managed services provider to make sure all issues are resolved. Technology Pointe has kept me apprised of issues before they became problems and they treat each ticket as if we are the only client they serve. I wish I had signed up with them sooner!
- Elaine Burr ( Office Administrator, Chamberlain McHaney, Customer Since 2015 )
The Essentials: Antivirus and Patching
Patching is a necessary part of security. Adobe's Flash is a service used for lots of interactive internet content (such as Youtube until recently) and since 2005 has almost 800 documented security vulnerabilities (source). Every month Microsoft will release several security updates for Windows alone, in addition to other updates for Office and server products. A regular patching schedule is necessary to keep your network secure. The infamous SQL Slammer virus took advantage of a security vulnerability that Microsoft issued a patch for 6 months prior to the outbreak (read more about slammer here). Except for major vulnerabilities, we recommend applying patches on a 30-60 day window. Due to the amount of changes patches can include, you do not want to be the first ones installing them. On any given month, Microsoft will typically recall at least a few patches due to unexpected side effects.
Patching should be automated as much as possible. User devices should patch automatically, on a regular schedule. If possible, server patching can be automated as well. Automation is a key to success in IT security, anything that requires manual intervention is more prone to failure and thus has more risk associated.
Antivirus coverage has been a long time standard in IT. The basic antivirus products are all standardized at this point, and often it makes sense to select a particular product based off how well it integrates with your existing systems, and especially with regards to how much of a performance impact it can have on people. If security is slowing down a user to where they can't work, it is probably not a good solution.