As a small- or medium-sized business (SMB) owner, you need to take the necessary precautions to protect your network and data from cybercriminals. Hackers are increasingly targeting SMBs, as they are seen as easier targets than large enterprises. By following these seven best practices for network security, you can make it much more difficult for cybercriminals to penetrate your systems and steal confidential information. Let’s take a look at each of these practices in more detail.
✅ Perform regular network security audits and maintenance
Performing regular network security audits helps you identify and address vulnerabilities in your systems that could be exploited by hackers. It also enables you to keep track of changes made to your network so you can quickly spot and investigate any suspicious activity.
In addition, regular maintenance of your network infrastructure is essential to ensuring its continued security. This includes performing tasks such as patching software vulnerabilities, updating firmware and drivers, and monitoring system logs. Having a dedicated IT staff or an IT partner that can do these tasks periodically can be invaluable in keeping your systems secure.
✅ Deploy robust security tools and devices
It’s critical to deploy a comprehensive security system that can protect your network from all types of threats. Your security measures should include a firewall, an intrusion detection and prevention system (IDS/IPS), and antivirus or anti-malware software. Access control and encryption tools also play an important role in securing your network.
A knowledgeable IT partner can help you select and deploy the right security solutions for your business. They can also make sure these solutions are properly configured and regularly updated and tested to ensure they are effective against the latest threats.
✅ Update your antivirus and anti-malware programs
As new malware strains are constantly being created, it’s important to keep your antivirus and anti-malware programs up to date. This way, you can be sure they will detect and remove any new threats that may arise. Many of these programs offer scheduled updates, so your IT staff can set them to automatically install updates as soon as they become available.
✅ Implement network segmentation and segregation
One of the best ways to protect your network is to break it up into segments or zones. This helps to limit the spread of any malware or other threats that may penetrate your network. Segregating your network by devices and user groups can further reduce your risk of a security breach. For example, you can restrict access to sensitive data or systems only to authorized devices or users.
Network segmentation can be difficult to implement correctly, so it’s important to work with an IT partner or consultant that has experience in this area.
✅ Secure your routers
Your router is one of the most important devices on your network, as it serves as the gateway to all other devices. It’s therefore essential to secure your routers with strong passwords and encryption. Make sure you update the firmware regularly, as well as any other software that may be running on the device.
✅ Disable P2P file sharing
Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing applications like eMule, Vuze, and uTorrent can be a major security risk, as they often do not encrypt data and can be used to download harmful files. Disable these features on your network, or at least restrict their use to authorized users, to reduce security risks.
✅ Build a culture of cybersecurity
Creating a culture of cybersecurity within your organization means educating employees on the best cybersecurity practices. These include measures like not opening suspicious emails, using strong passwords, and being vigilant when using public Wi-Fi networks. Employees should also be aware of the dangers of social engineering attacks and ransomware, as well as any protocols or procedures for reporting any suspicious activity.
By following these seven essential practices for network security, you can help keep your SMB safe from the many threats that exist today. For more information on network security, or to partner with a reliable IT provider that can help you secure your network, contact outsourceIT today.