Technology for protecting valuable data from prying eyes, warding off malware, managing spam or empowering employees to work remotely and securely is now bundled in routers at prices that most organizations should be able to afford. Though consumer routers offer some of these protections, you don't have to spend a lot more for business-class alternatives that provide more robust defenses and, typically, features that consumer products simply don't offer.
Small businesses must cope with the same Internet security threats as larger companies do, but usually without the same budget and manpower. And in recent years, the threats have diversified and become more subtle: Whereas several years ago, you worried that a hacker or virus would crash your computers, now you may never even realize that your network has been compromised until real economic damage has been done. For example, your data may be lost or held hostage; you, your colleagues and/or your customers may fall victim to identity theft; or your computers may be used to distribute spam or malware.
Of course, once your business grows to a certain size -- 100 to 200 staffers or more -- you're best off putting security in the hands of a pro, typically an independent contractor or a reseller. But if you're handling security for a work group or a smaller business and money is tight, you can develop and implement your own security policy. This doesn't cost a dime and it can be very effective if you put in the required effort -- but make no mistake, effort is involved. Nobody likes to change passwords every month, perform regular backups and check for software updates, but tending to these chores can help minimize your risk.