How to Make Your Small Business Network Impenetrable
A study conducted in 2019 revealed that 80 percent of US companies experienced at least one cyber security incident the previous year. Most of these incidents involved malware attacks. Customers were the biggest victims of cyber crime, with their privacy and safety affected in some way.
Business leaders worldwide agree on the need for better IT security strategies to ward off threats. Many business owners have lost business in the past due to perceived or real lack of cyber security rigor.
A formidable cyber security strategy involves making your small business network immune to breaches. In this feature, we explain ten ways you can maintain a secure and reliable network in your company.
What Is Business Network Security?
Business network security refers to the combination of software, hardware, practices, and policies a company uses to protect their network from unauthorized access. It refers to everything you do to:
- Protect against ransomware
- Avert phishing
- Prevent data loss
- Prevent spam
As cyberattacks increase and become more sophisticated, decision-makers have to come up with new ways to protect their networks.
How to Secure Your Small Business Network Security
There are many things you can do to keep your network more secure from attacks. These include.
Install a Firewall
Network firewalls are highly effective in locking down any ports that opportunistic hackers can use to infiltrate your company and access your data. Work with a seasoned IT professional to install a firewall that suits your company’s size and needs.
Use a VPN
As soon as you have set up a network firewall, look for a reliable VPN solution. VPNs allow staff to log into their business network and surf the internet through a tunnel that safeguards their activity and data from third parties trying to spy on your business.
A dependable VPN is especially important if some of your employees work remotely. That’s because such a work arrangement involves many remote access risks that you need to mitigate.
Invest in Antivirus Software
Installing top-quality antivirus software isn’t a luxury in today’s computing environment. It’s a necessity. Without trusted antivirus software, your business network is exposed to viruses, adware, and malware which hackers use to breach your company’s network.
Often, employees fail to adhere to good computing practices, exposing your business to infection risks. Antivirus software helps detect and prevent malicious programs before they get installed on your system.
Update Your Business Firmware
While significant improvements on firmware security have been made over the years, a lot still needs to be done to make firmware totally secure from attacks. Compared to other computer aspects, today’s firmware is still weak. Up to 80 percent of PCs are vulnerable to cyberattacks, according to a report from Wired.
The best way to boost your firmware security is to put in place a policy for making regular firmware updates to close up any security loopholes. Doing so also helps ensure that your hardware is functioning properly at all times.
Conduct IT Penetration Testing
Penetration testing, or pen testing, refers to the process of hacking into your IT system to expose any vulnerabilities present. The process is done methodically and from many vantage points.
Generally, you want to be aware of potential vulnerabilities in both your network devices and your host network. By the time you are through with the testing, you’ll have a comprehensive report of all potential access points in your network system. You’ll also have suggestions for what you can do to improve hardware and software and upgrade network security.
Train Your Staff
Most cases of data breaches are caused by the actions of uninformed or careless members of staff. Social engineering and phishing account for more than half of all data breaches globally.
What does this mean for your business? If you’re to implement an impregnable network security system in your company, your employees must be at the center of it.
Invest in regular training sessions on cybersecurity best practices. Go out of your way to nurture a strong culture of IT security awareness. The more informed your staff is on their role in network security, the more secure your business will be.
Monitor Employee Activity
Monitoring your staff’s online behavior can be an uncomfortable affair for both parties, but it has its benefits. This practice can help you see if any staff member is involved in behavior that could put you at risk of a cyberattack. Even better, you can get to detect and stop employees who are an inside threat.
The information you get then helps you educate uninformed employees and get rid of malicious ones.
Backup Business Data
Even with the best-laid plans, the unthinkable can happen, and you lose all your data. When hackers do succeed in stealing your business data, the only thing that can come to your rescue is your backed up data.
At the very least, backup your data at least once every week. Store that data in an offsite location that’s locked, fireproof, and floodproof. Even better, backup all your business data in the cloud.
Create a Data Recovery Plan
Regularly backing up your data is only part of a bigger disaster recovery plan. Complement it with a strong data recovery plan to prevent major damage in case a network breach ever occurs.
Your data recovery plan should have clear procedures for various types of attacks. Appoint a mid-level IT manager to take charge of storage and retrieval of data during emergencies.
Consider Outsourcing IT
Running an in-house IT department can be quite costly, especially for small businesses. Full-time IT professionals don’t come cheap. Cutting-edge IT infrastructure can also burn a hole through your finances.
A good solution is to outsource your IT to a competent IT services provider like Ascendant Technologies. These firms usually have highly skilled staff knowledgeable in the latest business network security best practices. Not only do you get to benefit from their top-level expertise, but you also avoid the high costs of investing in full-time IT personnel and infrastructure.
Secure Your Business Network From Attacks
To succeed in today’s highly competitive business world, you need a healthy small business network security is a must. With the tips we’ve shared in this feature, you can successfully ward off malicious attacks from cyber criminals out to steal your data.
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