4 key tips to protect small businesses from cyberattacks

Pierangelo Bertino

Cyberattacks are frequently making headline news: to ensure network security, we must understand the challenges and think in practical terms.

In 2020 there will be 24 billion devices connected to the Internet: these – routers, firewalls, servers, smoke detectors, cameras – definable as “sensors”, will communicate with each other, producing data; many of these devices won’t have security policies, so it’s easy to understand how cybersecurity will increasingly become a high-priority.

This problem won’t concern only the large enterprises, not at all: Many hackers attack very small settings like homes, offices or any scenario with a router, a server, maybe surveillance cameras, where the vulnerability is much simpler to take advantage of and they can more easily extract sensitive data or plant malware.

In a video surveillance system, in addition to using products that are secure, it is therefore essential to implement a daily security routine and apply the same best practices to all the systems, no matter the size of the system.

Here are 4 key things to do to prevent the most common cyberattacks:


  1. Change default password: the password is the most important protection measure of a network camera. Make sure to use a strong password and keep it protected. Leaving the product with the factory settings is a huge source of risk.
    Use a video management software that forces you to set the password during installation and encourages you to set a strong password with a password strength meter.
  2. …and manage them: when you set the new password, define the users and the roles.
    For instance, there can be 3 types of roles:-
    – Administrator (with full access to the system)
    – Operator (access to the live and the recorded video)
    – Viewer (who can only see the live video)
  3. Always use the latest firmware/software: doing so, all the products will be updated regarding security patches, new features and solutions to any bug present in previous releases.
    Use a video management software where the security administrator gets prompted of new firmware and software versions and updates can be deployed with a simple click.
  4. Use encrypted connections when possible: it is always advisable to avoid opening any Ports Forwarding in the Router through procedures such as NAT, Port Forwarding or with the Dynamic DNS service.
    There are security services that automatically configures during the installation and establishes a secure and encrypted communication between any remote client (mobile or PC) and the cameras in the surveillance system without the need of manual port-forwarding and router configuration. Even the apps may allow you to create an encrypted channel to view the live cameras and extract the recordings from the local network.

These practices are simple but effective and if implemented, will be of great help in maintaining the system safe.

In the end, would you leave the door of your house open? Do you keep the manufacturer’s lock or change it? Would you leave the keys to anyone?

Would you like to know more, see Axis solution for professional video surveillance to small business owners, or our work on cybersecurity, including a hardening guide.