IT Security Buzzwords Translated for the Small Business Owner

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 12/21/12 8:41 AM

it security buzzwordsThis week's IT buzzwords are all about virtual security and business continuity. As a small business owner, when you have a conversation with your IT department or an outsourced IT provider, security is one area that you need to understand and pay attention to. You need to walk away from these conversations understanding what security software you have in place, how it gets updated, who is responsible and what happens when the system gets compromised. 

Here are this week's IT buzzwords on IT security. 

1. Security Patches

Definition: A change to a software program in order to address a bug or vulnerability. They can usually be installed automatically after a user with administrative privileges authorizes the update.

SMB Significance: Computer viruses are like the flu: they constantly change and find ways of working around your system’s defenses. Much like a flu shot, without routine updates or “security patches” you leave yourself vulnerable to the latest computer viruses.  Your IT person should keep abreast of security patches for any software your company is using in order to maintain the integrity of your system.  Not keeping up-to-date on security patches means lots of unnecessary risk.

2. Domain Controller

Definition: In the Microsoft system, the computer that controls access to the business network.  Although other servers may authenticate users through a login, only the domain controller manages user privileges within the network—adding new users, changing passwords, assigning group memberships, etc.

SMB Significance: The DC is integral to maintaining the security of the SMB network by restricting administrative privileges to only a few members of the organization.  The DC, for example, can prevent employees from downloading files from the Internet that might transmit computer viruses.  Because of the critical role the DC plays, best practices are to keep the DC reserved only for this purpose and to have a backup ready to go in case the primary DC is compromised.

3. BDR

Definition: Backup and Disaster Recovery is a series of technologies and practices that allow an organization to recover its technology infrastructure after a significant disruption to or failure of the IT system.  BDR is a plan to respond to natural disasters, such as hurricanes; a local emergency, such as a fire in the office building; or computer viruses that cause the network to fail.

SMB Significance: It’s crucial to have a BDR plan for your IT system.  Since the needs of SMB will range widely depending on the type of business, an expert should inform you about the best BDR plan for your company.  A minimal recovery plan would back up your company’s data automatically and send it to a location outside the region, where it could be recovered in the event of a disaster.  More sophisticated BDR can run your entire IT infrastructure virtually from a remote server.  In either case, the backed up data should be regularly validated to ensure that it can be recovered quickly and easily in the case of an actual emergency. 

4. RTO

Definition: Recovery Time Objective.  A measure of time between an event that compromises a business’s functioning and the moment of recovery, when the business becomes fully functional again. 

SMB Significance:  It’s a measure of lost productivity. When the IT system is down, most modern businesses can’t function.  Employees can’t access their emails; customers can’t place orders; no one can get needed information.  So RTO usually centers on the Backup Disaster Recovery of your IT infrastructure—getting those core systems you depend on up and running again so your business can operate near capacity.  Most companies target an RTO that would prevent 


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IT Buzzwords Part 1: Cloud & Infrastructure

IT Buzzwords Part 2: File sharing, firewall, antimalware...


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Topics: IT Security, IT Buzzwords