Most small firms are connected to a computer network – even if they do not realise it. If all you have is one computer connected to a broadband router that provides internet access, you are still connected to a network.
Infrastructure that connects computers together is a network. It can be public (e.g. the internet) or private (e.g. cabling within an office), and networks can be wired (Ethernet), wireless (Wi-Fi) or both.
The device that controls the information passing between the computers is called a router. Normally, even if just two computers are connected to the same piece of cable, all messages between them pass via a router.
All networks are potentially vulnerable to intrusion. The 2014 information security breaches survey, commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, reported that a third of small businesses detected a significant attempt to break into their networks in the past year, with 12% reporting that their networks were actually penetrated.
Many attempts pass unnoticed – as do many successful attacks. Research by antivirus software provider Kaspersky Labs suggests that 28% of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) have been victims of an network intrusion.