Information Security for Small Businesses Evolves

In the past, security meant that you locked up your business doors before heading home. Now, things have changed – and drastically. In an effort to stay competitive, aided by the explosion of e-commerce, businesses shift to an “always open” model where customers are serviced 24/7, long after the brick and mortar stores close.

New IT security risks have surfaced as a result of this evolving business model, and the need for small businesses to address these risks has grown due to an increased insurgence of security breaches. Research studies show that the impact of a security breach can not only be costly, but catastrophic. The data below shows the average cost incurred by activity as a result of a data breach.


A recent study conducted by the University of Texas revealed that 43% of small business IT that suffer a data breach never re-open. This study is one of many that demonstrate the fact that small businesses are not shielded from the risk of security breaches. Similar to large businesses, small businesses encounter threats and regulatory requirements; however, they often lack resources to secure their data and IT systems. This leaves security holes, and makes it even more important for small businesses to take steps to prevent security breaches. Small businesses need tools to help them protect their data, and Intel Xeon-based servers can help.

One common way to protect data is through encryption. Encryption works by taking data in plain, readable text form and running it through an algorithm to convert it into its encrypted form, unreadable without a special key. Historically, the encryption process was complex and computationally costly to execute, resulting in many businesses not encrypting their data. Today, with Intel® Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI), this is no longer a problem. Intel AES-NI works because it speeds up the encryption process, which makes the use of encryption feasible where it was not before.

There are several usages for encryption in small businesses where Intel AES-NI can speed up the process, including the following:

  • Whole disk encryption. Hard drive encryption is important for businesses to protect critical business and customer data from being accessed by hackers in the event of theft, or when it's time to decommission the drive.
  • Internet security. Encryption is often employed for securing internet and cloud-based transactions. Examples include online banking and e-commerce.
  • Application level encryption. Sometimes it is useful to implement more fine-grained encryption policies. Application level encryption allows you to encrypt a subset of fields in your business/customer database, fields containing sensitive data such as social security numbers, billing/credit card information, etc.

The encryption mechanisms above are but a few example usages of how encryption can enhance your small business' security and offer peace of mind. And with Intel AES-NI, supported by Xeon E3 servers, you can expect up to 58% faster encryption. You no longer need to sacrifice computational resources for security - now you can have both!

Many things have changed since the days when a key to the building meant your business was secure, and it will only continue to evolve from here. Will your business be prepared?