On average, a data breach costs a company $3.92 million. While a data breach is unlikely to call a small business this much grief, it would still have a range of consequences. You could lose custom and customers, have to shut down your business until the problem is fixed, and regulators could fine you under data security laws.
Understanding small business network security is crucial to a business’s success. We’re willing to bet that your business relies on your IT system running smoothly. To keep it that way, you need to appreciate the fundamentals of business network security.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to cover network security basics that you need to know to keep your business safe.
Ready to make your network and your business more secure? Then check out these tips.
1. Train Your Employees In Best Security Practices
This is the most essential step that you need to take as a boss. Your employees rely on you to keep them educated. If you train them in small business network security, your whole business will be more secure.
One common way that hackers gain access to a business network is through phishing. These fraudulent emails disguise themselves as legitimate, asking the targeted employee to either download disguised malware or give away passwords.
Some phishing emails are intricate and utilize social engineering. This means that the email could purport to be from a real employee or business partner.
To defeat the scourge of fraudulent emails your employees need to know how to spot a phishing attempt. Teach them to never give out passwords or download any attachments that seem suspicious.
Another common attack vector that your employees need to be aware of is drive-by-downloading. This technique hides malware in hacked webpages, automatically downloading the malware when you visit the site, breaching your business network security.
Teach your employees to only visit trusted websites and how they can spot hacked or spoof websites.
A workforce well-educated corporate network security is a secure workforce. Limit your attack vectors today, and get your employees educated!
2. Install Security Software and Maintain Backups
You wouldn’t leave the doors to your premises unlocked. Why give attackers an easy route into your network?
You should make sure that all of the computers that are connected to your network have security software installed. This means installing firewalls and anti-virus software.
If you have a large number of employees, you could benefit from using endpoint security. One administrator runs this software across all of your machines, keeping every part of your network safe.
You should also keep backups of all of your data. If your business is attacked by ransomware, a particularly nefarious form of malware that blocks access to your files, you can wipe your computers and reinstall. You should also keep backups in case of hardware failure.
To ensure that your small business network security is tight, run a security audit. Network security auditing checks every aspect of your network’s security, making sure that everything is in optimum condition.
3. Improve Password Procedures
Far too many businesses rely on single-factor passwords. This is the kind of password that you’re most familiar with: type it in and you’re granted access. That’s not good enough in the modern world.
You should utilize multi-factor authentication, at least for access to your most crucial systems. These require authorization beyond the password. This can come through a code that is texted to you, generated by an app, or created by an authentication dongle.
If you add this one step to your password procedures, you will be far more secure. Adding this extra authentication makes hacking your network far more difficult.
4. Limit Network Access to Unsecured Devices
Access to your network is like access to your business’ building: you shouldn’t give it out to everyone. The only devices that should be allowed on your network are those that have been verified as secure.
This means that employee smartphones, tablets, laptops and the like, should not be granted access. If you need to allow employees access to your network on their own devices, ask if they would be happy for you to install monitoring software. Many employees would not be happy with this, which is understandable.
The best solution, if it is affordable, is to have your own devices. Keep network access limited to these devices only. This way you don’t introduce unknown factors and differing levels of security into the mix.
5. Keep Your Wi-Fi Secure
One of the biggest holes in small business network security is an unsecured Wi-Fi network. Your Wi-Fi needs to be password protected: no ifs, no buts. If it is unsecured, you’re giving anyone who wants it access to your files.
Your router’s firewall should be configured correctly too: bring in a professional if you aren’t sure how to do this. This helps keep attackers off your network. You should also make sure that all of your network data is encrypted.
If you have to use public Wi-Fi for business purposes, use a VPN. A VPN is a secure tunnel that encrypts your data and securely transmits it to its destination.
You’ll need to do this because public Wi-Fi is a privacy nightmare. Not only is it usually lacking in security but attackers and the providers can gather your data with ease.
Small business network security relies on a secure network as its backbone. Make sure you transmit your data securely.
Maintaining Small Business Network Security
Following these tips will dramatically improve your small business network security. This is just the foundation, however.
Make sure that you keep your software updated, audit your devices regularly, and ensure that it stays secure. Consider hiring a pen tester to attempt to crack through your network. If there are any issues, they will find them.
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