Staying proactive to minimize online risks

The concept of protecting data in today's business world is a double-edged sword, as even a minute misstep can cause a company to tumble, cut itself and bleed out information until its ultimate demise. Not only must businesses keep an eye on internal operations to ensure they do not not inadvertently become vulnerable to malicious individuals, decision-makers also need to ensure that employees do not venture to unsafe areas of the web and casually invite threats inside the network. A recent report by Symantec highlighted the different risks associated with having an online presence in today's highly sophisticated business world. While there is still an abundance of well-known threats like Trojan horses, which act harmless until they are downloaded, and spyware, which transmits sensitive information to malicious parties, new risks are emerging every year. This means decision-makers need to take a stance to ensure that their web applications are not endangered. Symantec said it addressed more than 5.5 billion malware attacks in 2011 - an increase of 81 percent from 2010 - and identified more than 400 new security risks. If executives do not take a stronger stance in recognizing, isolating and eliminating these threats, their company will have trouble keeping pace in the coming years, as server and website performance levels will be easily compromised, leading to fewer sales and more unhappy customers. Knowledge is power Online threats can come from anywhere, including mobile devices accessing the network and individuals connected to mission-critical resources working outside the office. Because anywhere, anytime connectivity is the mantra of today's workforce, businesses need to understand that confidential assets can be exposed at almost any time - unless executives take the proper precautions. Although companies can take a number of approaches to enhance performance and reduce risk, gaining a wider perspective of the network can provide a multitude of benefits. This was highlighted in a recent report by Bleeping Technologies, which noted that an effective website monitoring service provides decision-makers with more insight into the online world and what is happening within the boundaries of their computer systems. Because the goal of virtually every organization in today's private sector is to develop and retain a strong online presence, it is becoming increasingly important that executives take the time to assess how well their web applications are performing, and whether there are any problems within the network, Bleeping Technologies noted. Symantec noted that more than 60 percent of sites that spread malicious software are run-of-the-mill websites that have been jeopardized by an online threat. Meanwhile, another third of the websites that Symantec monitored are vulnerable to these risks. This suggests that decision-makers need to be proactive in their fight against today's sophisticated web-based dangers. By using advanced website and server monitoring tools, IT decision-makers can gather more insight into the happenings within the online environment and reduce the chances of their company falling victim to one of the many threats that can cause substantial short and long-term harm. The same website monitoring tools can also alert executives when anomalous activities take place within the network, allowing IT teams to quickly isolate and address any problems that could lead to poor performance or unreliable security. As the private sector continues making headway into the online world, being proactive will be among the only ways to ensure that operations are carried out smoothly and mission-critical information is not exposed through major or minor weaknesses. Although tools and technologies can help companies reduce these risks, being aware of their presence is critical, as the ignorant mind is easy to distort and corrupt.

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