While two of five small-and medium-sized businesses still don't have an online presence, those that do increasingly worry about the security of their data, in particular, as they conduct more business through their Web sites. A June 2010 survey by Symantec of 2,152 global SMBs revealed small businesses rank online attacks and information loss as their top business risks.
It's understandable; 73% reported they were the victims of cyberattacks in the past year and 42% said they had lost confidential or proprietary information. And considering the costs of a single breach: $202 per customer record according to a Ponemon Institute study, security continues to be a growing concern. SMBs also wonder about security with cloud computing, the Internet service which enables users to share resources and information and which is provided to users over the Internet and on-demand.
And for those SMBs that work with a Web hosting provider, they don't always know how breach-proof their Web site is, especially given the security of their site is largely based upon the infrastructure their hosting partner is providing. This includes being fully compliant with data security and privacy regulations. Here are some tips SMBs should consider when assessing a current or prospective Web hosting provider's security.
What features ensure that systems, applications, and data residing on them are secure?
These include the physical security of the provider's network operations center, data centers, and individual servers as well as the robust nature of its systems security -- its firewalls and intrusion-detection and prevention systems. Make sure, for instance, that if something happens to the provider's main data center, there are proper backup plans in place.
Specifically, how do I tell just how secure a Web hosting provider is?
Use several approaches. Ask about internal firewalls. Find out what they use to keep the nasty people out, and then go online to see what people say about those products. And check about backups and whether they back things up for you. How many levels of backup do they provide?