Any new technology brings with it new problems, and broadband Internet access has been no exception. Many businesses have had to endure long waits for services like digital subscriber lines to become available in certain areas. Now that these high-speed, "always-on" connections have become more common, business owners need to be aware of the security risks.
An always-on connection, after all, makes a company's network a permanent, easy-to-locate target for all the mischievous individuals and malicious pieces of code that congregate in cyberspace. In addition, companies can be put at risk by employees with DSL or cable connections -- especially those who telecommute often or take company laptops home. If you don't know how to protect yourself, it could come back to haunt you.
In this month's cover feature we take a close look at these problems. We also talk to a "white-hat" hacker (one on the side of the angels) about the most common kinds of attacks and who, exactly, are behind them. If you think that small businesses will fly under hackers' radar screens, think again. Finally, we outline some steps a business can take to protect itself.
Internet access is no longer optional. Most business have decided that they want to make the Net part of the way they do business. Even if they don't have Web sites, they use it for research, for e-mail, to collaborate on projects, and to buy everything from business cards to heavy machinery. And many opt for broadband services as soon as they can get them. That's what makes the situation potentially dire, and why every small business needs to be aware of the security risks.