Businesses are always under constant threats. Hackers do not discriminate. They target all kinds of organizations, from the biggest ones down to the smallest of them. With all the possible vulnerabilities and entry points available to hackers, no business can sit and relax thinking it is safe.
All organizations need to prioritize network security. Network security combines software, hardware, practices and policies that a company puts in place to protect its network from any sort of unauthorized access. When the network is safe, businesses can prevent phishing, spam, data loss and ransomware. Here is a quick guide for network security in small businesses:
Conduct a network audit
To strengthen and enhance network security in your business, you should first start with knowing what you are working with. What are the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your system that hackers can leverage? Perform a network audit to identify the possible security vulnerabilities. Identify open ports, unused applications in the background and analyze the overall strength of your firewalls. Assess the condition of your servers, applications and software. After a proper audit, you will be in the best place to make improvements.
Keep an eye on new threats
Stay up to date with new threats whenever they are recognized and posted online. Knowing about the software vulnerabilities and exploits hackers are using helps you understand what to look out for and what ways to strengthen your system.
Educate your employees on cyber security protocols
Have ongoing training for your staff to help them know what behaviour is acceptable and what practices put the business at risk. Encourage them to report anything suspicious and guide them on the steps to take in the event of an attempted hack.
Outsource IT support
IT support is essential for businesses today. Business operations can quickly grind to a halt when the IT systems are down. Outsourcing IT support expands the talent pool, frees up resources and helps cut costs. In some cases, the in-house IT team may not have the bandwidth to counter cyber security threats or return to normalcy after an attack. But outsourcing a reputable team of professionals can help provide network security.
Install antivirus software
In the current computing environment, antivirus software is essential. It is integral for getting rid of adware, malware and viruses. Hackers commonly use viruses and malware to breach networks and cause damage. Antivirus software detects and prevents hackers from installing malicious programs on your machines. That is necessary, especially since employees do not always adhere to safety practices and may compromise the system.
Have penetration testing
IT penetration testing is the practice of methodically hacking your own system to identify vulnerabilities from several vantage points. Conducting a network test exposes vulnerabilities in network devices and the host network. Implementing penetration testing helps you recognize problematic access points and identify software and hardware improvements you can make to upgrade your security.
Perform regular data backup
With hackers constantly devising new methods to infiltrate systems, it may be hard to keep tabs on every new threat. Sometimes, the unthinkable may happen, and your network gets compromised. In such cases, only data backups can save you. Back up your data regularly to ensure optimal protection. Store your backups in an offsite facility.
Have a data recovery plan
Have a robust disaster recovery plan starting from backing up data. With a proper disaster recovery plan, you can prevent extensive damage in the event of a network breach. Your plan should have procedures for various types of attacks and disasters. The retrieval process after an attack should be smooth and cause as minimal disruption as possible.
Network security helps to prevent malicious use or any damage to private data and devices. Practices that promote network security help to keep the systems safe and running for all users.