All modern businesses rely on technology to some degree. Being connected to the internet has made it possible to work more efficiently while reaching a broader audience. Unfortunately, as valuable customer data becomes more widely available online, so has the playground for criminals.
Remote working is on the rise. Network security while working remotely has become crucial for safe collaboration.
If you’re someone who works with sensitive data, keep reading to learn more about network security. We’ve prepared a network security checklist that will help you keep your business data secure.
Why is Network Security Important?
Cybercrime is a growing threat for businesses across different industries. With billions at stake, it’s no wonder that it is now available as a service (RaaS). There are multiple groups actively targeting businesses, locking their data, and asking for ransom.
That’s why ensuring your network is secure is essential more than ever.
If you are in any way connected to the online world, you’ll need to take all the necessary steps to keep your business data safe and sound.
1. Monitor Your Network Activity
The first layer of protection is that you can get network monitoring software. You’ll need a professional who knows how to set it up and work with it. Luckily, there are plenty of user-friendly solutions in the market.
Your IT guys can quickly learn how to monitor your business network.
Using this kind of software will help you ramp up your network security efforts and make your in-house network stable — which is especially important for growing companies with increasing numbers of network users.
2. Keep Your Defenses Up to Date
The growing number of cyberattacks occurs because the networks are running on outdated software. Shockingly, 47% of US Federal Agencies are running Windows XP. Many companies are still using Windows 7.
Using the latest software is a must nowadays, as it consistently receives valuable updates. Therefore, if you’re running an older version of Windows, it’s time to jump to Windows 10 and upgrade to Windows 11 once it comes out. The same applies to your mobile devices, no matter if it’s iOS or Android.
Besides keeping your operating systems up to date, you need to keep your applications up-to-date as well.
3. Stay Up-to-Date with New Threats
New cybersecurity threats keep popping up. You need to stay informed regarding the latest security vulnerabilities.
Taking immediate action reduces the chance of someone exploiting a security flaw in the system.
You have a couple of options at hand. Social media networks such as Twitter are a great place to follow updates from cybersecurity experts.
On the other hand, you can visit websites that keep track of the latest vulnerabilities. Some of these are:
- US-CERT – The official website of the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency is an excellent resource for tracking cybersecurity news.
- NVD – National Vulnerability Database is another excellent resource for tracking the latest vulnerabilities.
- Carnegie Mellon University CERT – Carnegie Mellon University page is a great resource. The vulnerability database features a list of published security weaknesses.
- Seclists.org – This website has been around for a long time and includes a broad range of vulnerabilities.
Staying informed is a great way to keep your network secure. The moment you learn about a security flaw, you can immediately take action to protect your business network.
4. Invest in Employee Education
Keeping your network secure begins with users who know the basic security practices. Therefore, educating your employees is necessary. The majority of vulnerabilities start with someone clicking on a link that they shouldn’t have clicked on.
Your employees need to understand the following elementary security threats:
- Phishing – Phishing remains one of the most common ways of stealing a user's private information. It’s a false page or a request that comes through email. The email resembles an authentic message from a source you trust, asking you to change a password or something similar. For example, an email might look like it’s from PayPal requesting you to change your password. After filling out the details, the attacker receives your current password.
- Malware – Malware is an installation of a malicious program on your system. That’s why all the employees need to understand that only an authorized IT expert can install and remove programs from their computers. The same goes with transferring data to and from USB sticks.
- Man-in-the-middle attack – This is relevant for employees who go on business trips. They need to know that connecting to the hotel’s WiFi carries some risks. Teach them the best practices to keep your whole network secure.
Knowing these threats and understanding how they work is essential for keeping your network secure.
5. Establish Security Protocols
Keeping everything in check all the time is a waste of resources. That’s why companies create policies to streamline all of the in-house processes. If you’re not sure what you need to focus on, here are a couple of ideas.
Create policies and protocols on:
- Training policy – Create a policy that details cybersecurity training that all employees must go through.
- Security breach protocol – If a data breach does occur, what is the course of action? Create a protocol.
- Password policy – What are the best practices? How do people need to handle them? No password sharing. No written passwords on papers. Define a password policy.
- LAN and server policies – Define which employees have access to which parts of the network and servers. There’s no need for some departments to have access to some confidential data.
- Workstation locking protocol – When an employee steps away from their computer, it needs to be locked.
- Mobile device protocols – Create a protocol that handles all mobile device connections. For example, employee phones can connect to a guest network.
- Software update policy – Create a policy defining the update protocols. Keep ALL of your software current and updated.
- Equipment security – Who has access to your IT equipment? Limit this number to as few people as possible. Network breaches can occur through physical contact with sensitive equipment. Keep all the equipment in secure locations, especially routers and servers.
Defining these policies and protocols is necessary to step up the network security game. By explaining everything, your employees will know how to act in all circumstances.
Reach Out to Scale Technology for Assistance
Consider outsourcing your network security to IT professionals.
Are you looking for network security in Little Rock? Request a consultation with Scale Technology. We’ll provide you with all the data security you need. You can count on our wide range of network services in Little Rock.