A Beginner's Guide to Securing a Network for Your Business

Did you know that more than 5207 data breaches occurred in 2017 and exposed over 7.89 billion records? Shocking, right? If you think 2017 was a nightmare for company owners and IT managers, hold on for dear life because cyber-threats loom large in 2018 and beyond.

Cisco, in its Cyber Security Report 2018, says that businesses should expect to face more self-propagating, network-based cyber-threats. If your company handles sensitive data, you're probably wondering how you can safeguard the data from cyber-attacks. The answer is simple: Secure your business network. How can you do this? Well, follow these time-tested tips for securing a network.

Create a Cybersecurity Culture in Your Company

Start with Training

You can start by offering cybersecurity training to your employees. Proper training will ensure every employee in your company is aware of the potential threats they could face. They'll avoid sharing passwords and using unsecured networks.

Your employees should be trained by a competent trainer with current training resources. Also, ensure the cybersecurity trainer uses real metrics that can be used to monitor employees' behavior after the training.

Make sure Your Cybersecurity System Is Flexible and Self-improving

Did you know that more than 600 million "new" types of malware were registered in 2017? That means that more than 1.5 million new threats were released each day. These statistics suggest that hackers will continue developing new and more sophisticated malware that could be difficult to detect or prevent.

To be on the safe side, you should invest in a self-improving system or engage a reliable managed IT services provider. This will help you create a future-ready business network that can fight even the unforeseen threats.

Hide Your Service Set Identifier (SSID)

Do you have a wireless business network? If so, make sure your SSID is hidden or at least change its name. When changing your SSID name, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Don't use your passwords as part of the SSID
  • Don't embed your birth date or other personal information in the new SSID name
  • Don't use tempting names like Top-secret or Click Here
  • Pick a network name that contains both letters and numbers
  • Make the new name as long as the maximum length allowed
  • Change your SSID at least once every month

You should also remember to save and confirm that the new network name is activated.

Disable File Sharing and Protect Your Portable Devices

Disable file or print sharing on all devices. You don't need this feature on each device in your organization as it would increase vulnerabilities. If you don't disable file and print sharing, you'll be exposing your entire file system to everyone around you.

Employees' laptops, cell phones, and other handled computer devices can also be used to siphon information from your network. For this reason, if there are any portable devices in your organization, they should have antispyware protection. Storing your portable devices in a secure, permanent storage fixture can also help to keep your network safe.

Low-Key Appearance

Do you run your own data center? If you do, ensure your server room doesn't have symbols or names that reference "Data Center." This will make it hard for malicious intruders to locate your data center. Also, try to keep the exterior of your data center as nondescript as possible. You should also ensure your server door has reliable locking systems or smart locks. It's also essential to have strong security policies that set out who is allowed to access the data center and who's not.

Get a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN will secure your internet connection and provide privacy online. A VPN comes with a sophisticated technology that will protect your data, browsing history, communications, and sources of personal information. The virtual private network may also help your team to access business applications and services online safely.

Do your employees travel a lot or work mostly outside the office? Well, having a VPN will protect the company's data when they're using public Wi-Fi networks.

Track User Login Activity Is Essential When Securing a Network

Knowing when an employee logs in or off their devices or accounts will make it easy for you to pinpoint the source of a breach in case an unauthorized person compromises your network.

Tracking system activities also help you identify employees who have dangerous habits when using your business network. The tracking program you choose needs to keep track of who accesses a file, time of access, and how they used the data.

Don't Reuse Passwords

Most business owners have one password, which they use to login to whatever account they create. Don't make this mistake. Use different passwords. This way, if a hacker manages to gain access to the admin computer, he won't be able to use the login credentials to access your servers or other networks.

When creating passwords, ensure they're memorable, secure, and strong. If possible, each employee should set their accounts passwords.

Protect Your Server and Devices with an Antivirus

Protect your servers with a stable and reliable antivirus. Without an antivirus, you run the risk of having a virus spread from your files to your endpoints. It's essential to check and ascertain that the antivirus you choose is tested and comes from a legit source.

Final Thoughts

Your smoothly-running business network could have a malware lying in the shadows, waiting for a loophole or a trigger. Take your time to test if your system is secure.

If it's not, the tips highlighted above will help you on your journey to securing a network. Make sure you follow them to avoid hacks and data breaches.

If you have any questions or are in need of our managed IT services, you can contact us now.