10 Network Security Tips for Businesses in 2021
One of the biggest threats to any organization is data breach. No one really knows when or if it’ll happen, but if it does, it’s a very serious offense that can leave your company vulnerable. In today’s world, cybersecurity issues are becoming an increasing threat to all types of businesses, with online scams spiking by more than 400% in March 2020 compared to previous months, according to international law firm Reed Smith.
Unfortunately, many businesses—large and small alike—are vastly underprotected from all types of network security breaches. With each passing day, hackers are learning new ways to access confidential data making cyber security an important and necessary precaution to protect your network security.
There are numerous steps you can take to enhance your cybersecurity, including hiring IT specialists that know the necessary steps to setting up a proper network security system. Here are 10 fundamental ways you can enhance your network security immediately.
- Use strong authentication strategies. More than often, hackers will use stolen credentials, such as your username and password to compromise your system. In fact, according to recent research by Verizon DBIR, at least four out five security breaches involve stolen credentials. This means that your traditional methods of a username and password are no match for today’s hackers. Therefore, it’s important to use advanced authentication methods to prevent attacks in the future. You may have heard of two-factor authentication (2FA), which is the process of using two different forms of ID to authenticate your identity online. We highly recommend using 2-factor authentication within every system used in your business operation. The process doesn’t make logging into your account any complicated if implemented correctly. Most 2FA methods require you to input a security key code usually sent to your email or phone number, along with your login ID and password.
- Regularly upgrade your security software. Remember to upgrade your security and malware software as much as possible. Many anti-virus and malware software provide additional security patches with every new update. These additions can give your systems the extra security it needs to protect your computer, mobile phone, and other devices from serious vulnerabilities. If you do not update your security software regularly, all of your devices can be exploited by opportunistic threats. To prevent these obstacles, set automatic updates to your software and remind your employees to update their own equipment frequently.
- Make sure to physically secure your equipment. Outside threats are equally as dangerous as online ones. Many thieves can, and have stolen corporate laptops and devices to access sensitive information about a company. Just a copy of confidential data in a stolen device can compromise your company’s security. As such, make sure your computer is properly protected within your office to prevent criminals from stealing your data or hacking into your network system.
- Train your employees in security protocols. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is—at some point, you’ll need to establish a security policy that works best for your business. Your employees should know the policy you set up. You can help your employees with this process by having them undergo training in basic network security. For example, you can train your employees how to create and set up a strong login ID and password combination for their accounts. When you teach your employees the best security practices, you’ll encourage your employees to follow your policy, which can help your company stay protected.
- Encrypt all of your company’s data. Sometimes, the best way to ensure complete network security is to implement a BIOS password. In its simplest form, a BIOS password is authentication data that is required to log into a computer’s basic input/output system (BIOS) before the machine will boot up. Using a BIOS password can prevent unauthorized use of your computer, since it makes the hard drive inaccessible for those who do not know the password.
- Protect all company devices against viruses and malware. Equip all of your company’s computers, laptop, phones, and other devices with antivirus and antimalware protection. Be sure to use monitoring software that runs virus protection on all devices, and alerts you with important notifications regarding your device security.
- Ensure that external network access is protected. You can further secure your network by using a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs have gained popularity in recent years, and for good reason. For one, a secure VPN creates secure Internet access in between private networks. It typically requires some form of authentication, including one-time passcodes or specific IDs to gain connection. We highly recommend configuring your firewalls to prevent breaches. Gartner Research reported that as many as 95% of firewall breaches are caused by misconfiguration so be sure to evaluate your firewall and make the necessary changes.
- Regularly audit your security policies. Technology is constantly evolving so your security policies should too! Review and evaluate your current security policies, taking special attention to potential threats and vulnerabilities. Auditing your security policies should be performed regularly, more so than other business operations. As many hackers develop sophisticated ways to access data, you must be able to defend against any attack. Regular security audits allows you to measure and analyze your company’s security operations and create new policies that promote full protection.
- Establish security policy for larger accounts. You already know that single-factor authentication provides the least amount of protection. However, you may not realize that your administrator accounts are also vulnerable to certain attacks, especially if there’s a large volume of logins that are needed to run your business infrastructure. Make sure to implement 2-factor authentication to all administrator accounts and let those who access these accounts know to avoid sharing credentials.
- Double-check your downloads. Even with advanced antivirus and antimalware software, your data can still be susceptible to outside attacks. For example, your employees may be exploring different websites without verifying their safety or clicking links onto their computer. Most of the time, they may not realize they’re downloading or accessing harmful files that can lead to a virus or attack. You must set up a software or system that requires the assessment of each file downloaded to a computer. This prevents any harmful virus or malware from compromising your network security.
Your network is a significant part of your business. You may feel it’s not necessary to go through various lengths to protect your network, but it’s important to remember that in most businesses it is the backbone of the company. Your network ensures that your employees are connected to all essential information that helps your business flow efficiently. Without sufficient protection, your business’s sensitive data can be breached, leading to a halt in normal business operations and even a possible collapse. So, make sure your network security is protected at all times to avoid any serious damages to your business infrastructure.
If you would like to learn more about ensuring your company’s security, check out our blog, 6 Best Safety & Productivity Apps for Business Owners for our top selections.