All types of organizations, primarily small and medium-sized enterprises, have benefited greatly from the internet and technological advancements in recent years. Because of technological advancements, you can save more money and fine-tune your workflows.
However, while running a small business, there is always the difficulty of network security to contend with! To be sure, hackers have an easier time targeting small organizations since they have fewer resources committed to network security as well as less network security protection. The results of one study even revealed that cyber dangers are a concern for 22% of all small firms worldwide. Because of this, you should optimize the security of your small business network. We’ve prepared a few pointers to assist you in keeping your data and business safe by establishing and maintaining a dependable and secure network infrastructure.
1. Provide Employees with Training
For small organizations, human error is one of the most serious network security concerns they face. For example, it was discovered that almost 90 percent of data breach complaints received by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) were due to human error, according to the study. In addition, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), 21 percent of data breaches were caused by costly human errors. That only goes to show how important it is to educate your employees about effective network security to help you reduce the risks involved. Mistakes such as divulging confidential information through phishing scams, leaving accounts open on shared computers, unintentionally downloading harmful files, or even failing to update passwords regularly can have serious consequences for your company.
Your staff must be taught how to recognize the indicators of a phishing scam as well as the procedures to take if they are the unfortunate victims of one. Also, inform them of the importance of doing frequent software updates on both their work and personal devices. Make certain that you have network security policies in place that cover rules for device and network access, network security application regulations, and password strength, among other things. Additionally, adequate internet use policies and guidelines of behavior should be established, explaining how to handle and preserve customer information and crucial data, as well as other important information.
2. Maintain the security of your company’s website.
In business, having a secure browser is just as important as having a secure browser. You will convert more clients who are becoming more conscious of the importance of web security as time goes on. Installing a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to protect your website is an excellent place to start. SSL Certificates are used to protect data transfers, logins, credit card transactions, and other sensitive personal information on the internet. If a website has an SSL certificate, a green padlock is normally displayed to the left of the URL in the browser when the website is accessed. It will ensure that the connection between a web server and a user’s web browser is secure at all times. The connection will thus be encrypted, and the information about your visitors will be protected from being abused by intruders. This will go a long way toward garnering the trust of visitors. It will also help your website rank higher in search engines, hence accelerating its growth!
3 Installing a Firewall is Step Three.
The installation of a firewall is critical to the security of your network. In other words, it is a tool that acts as a barrier between cybercriminals and your network architecture. In addition to the typical external firewall, you may also set up an internal firewall to give additional security protection. A firewall, in addition to screening network traffic based on IP address, can also detect and prevent malicious network requests, which are sent by a computer. That being said, this feature is dependent on the firewall provider and tools that you use. It is critical to maintain your firewall up to date for it to be able to do a daily diagnosis check and defend you from new threats.
4. Multi-Factor Authentication is a security measure.
Employees may make a mistake that allows their data to be compromised, but multi-factor authentication adds a degree of safety. Multi-factor authentication is a security measure that requires a computer user to show two or more pieces of evidence or factors to an authentication before being granted access to a website or application. Users are validated using a piece of information that is only available to them, such as a code that is delivered to them, in the case of two-factor authentication. Hackers will have a difficult time gaining access to sensitive and critical information because of the additional layer of protection provided by the password and log in. The good news is that most social networking sites and cloud services include the option of using two-factor authentication. Passwords alone may not be sufficient to ensure total network security, which is why multi-factor authentication should be used in conjunction with them.
Tip: It is also critical to put in place password security procedures to avoid authentication vulnerabilities in your organization’s network.
5. Set up a virtual private network (VPN).
A virtual private network (VPN) is essential for protecting your company’s information since it allows you to enter into your computer and access the internet over an encrypted tunnel that conceals your activity and data. A virtual private network (VPN) adds a layer of network protection, which is especially important when accessing corporate information across insecure or public networks. When you use a VPN, your IP address is hidden and your data is encrypted, which keeps your surfing passwords and history safe from possible hackers. If you want to keep up with technological advancements, your small business must be adaptable and dynamic. It is difficult for all of your operations to take place within a single physical location or network, and you may find yourself in the position of having to hire remote or freelance personnel. With a virtual private network (VPN), you can work around this by setting up an endpoint server on your cloud platform or in your office that is responsible for maintaining and handling remote connections. You will be able to operate safely from any location while keeping your data protected.
6. Make sure your WIFI is protected.
A cyber-criminal can use your WIFI network as an entry point into your home or business. As a result, you should take precautions to ensure the security of your internet connection. First and foremost, restrict access to your staff and make certain that your network is protected with a strong password of your choosing. It is critical to conceal your network so that the router does not broadcast the network’s name. It is possible to create a guest account for clients who will require WIFI access, and you can use separate network security methods and passwords to prevent your clients from being able to access your principal network. Keep in mind that if your WIFI network is not encrypted, hidden, and secured, you are opening your network up to hackers, who can then gain access to private information, company data, and internet accounts through your network.
7. Make sure all of your software tools are up to date.
Your software tools are not intended to be used indefinitely! Even worse, most small firms are unaware that out-of-date equipment poses a security risk to their operations. It is estimated that one out of every three data breaches is triggered by software bugs that have not been fixed and are therefore difficult to detect. The easiest approach to avoid this is to make sure that your tools are constantly up to date. Patches are typically released by software providers to address vulnerabilities found in previous versions of their products. Make every effort to keep your company safer by deploying the patches that will make your systems more secure.
8. Put in place mobile device security measures.
Mobile devices are becoming increasingly dangerous to network security, particularly with the rise of Bring Your Device (BYOD) policies (BYOD). BYOD (bring your device) is a trend in which firms allow employees to use their gadgets for work purposes. It provides numerous benefits to you as an organization, but it also poses a threat to network security. For example, gadgets can be stolen, resulting in the loss of information. As a result, be certain that your BYOD policies are up to date to keep mobile devices in your workplace secure. Additionally, mobile device management software should be purchased to assist in keeping track of all mobile device inventory and security. Once again, your employees are your weakest link, and it is in their best interests to educate them on the risks associated with mobile network security as well as mitigation techniques.
9. Restriction on Information Availability
Employees should only be granted access to the systems that they require to perform their jobs. They should also not be permitted to install software on their own without prior permission from the system administrator. When employee accounts are compromised, restricting user rights can help to mitigate the damage that is done. Because malicious individuals can get access to your entire system if user access is left uncontrolled, you should take precautions. When you restrict user access, you are limiting the quantity of information that employees can have access to. This is a wise technique that employers should implement to boost network security and the overall network of their organization. User access that is not limited can result in unintended data disclosure, which can then be exploited by hackers.
10. Make sure your payment gateways are secure.
Payment gateways are a fantastic tool for small businesses to use to increase their revenue. Having said that, internet payments are equally popular with cybercriminals. As a general guideline, be certain that your gateways are protected with appropriate encryption techniques. It is also critical to adhere to the requirements set forth by standards such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to assist with the security of your payment network architecture.
11. Make a backup of your data.
Last but not least, don’t forget to keep your vital data safe at all times. You may have taken all of the necessary steps to implement what you think to be military-grade network security, but it may not be enough to keep you and your network safe. Backups of essential data should be performed as an insurance policy if something happens to your systems. When something goes wrong with your data, you need a comprehensive data recovery plan in place that will get you back up and running quickly.
Using both the cloud and physical storage, you can back up your data more efficiently and effectively.
Examine your backup logs regularly.
Protect your backups by encrypting them.
Every firm must establish a culture of security to combat the growing number of cases involving digital information theft and breaches. It is a fantastic approach to increase client confidence while also avoiding costly snarls and lawsuits that could put you out of business altogether.