Is My Business IT Network Safe? 6 Actions
While business leaders worldwide understand the importance of protecting their networks and data, many don’t have a full understanding of the concrete steps they can take. If you are one of them, you are reading the right article.
I work for a managed IT support services provider and we explain IT network safety every day. I’ve gathered the thoughts of our team of experts and incorporated them in this article, to help give you a place to start.
We know that managed IT isn’t the right solution for every business.
Rather than convince you to work with us if the fit isn’t right, we focus our efforts on publishing easy-to-understand, informative articles that provide the information business leaders like you need to make the best IT decisions for your organizations.
In this article, we’ll walk through 6 specific actions you can take to enhance the security of your network.
Why Is Network Safety Important?
Your network is the lifeline for your business. Without it, business grinds to a halt.
Your network must be safe, available, and efficient to keep your business running. Protecting the information on your network helps prevent cyber attacks that can jeopardize your business-critical information and the security of customer data.
6 Actions That Enhance Network Safety
Many small and medium-sized business owners underestimate their level of cyber risk. While in years past, cybercriminals targeted large, multinational companies, they have shifted their gaze to smaller organizations.
The main reason for this shift is that large companies have invested significant resources to shore up their defenses.
Small and medium-sized organizations don’t have the same level of resources to invest, so their defenses aren’t as strong, but the information they have can be just as valuable.
1. Guest Wi-Fi
Smaller organizations often don’t bother to create a separate wi-fi network for visitors. They often know and trust their visitors.
Here’s the thing: if you allow guests to use your business network, you don’t have control over what they see or do in (or to) your network.
A guest Wi-Fi network limits access. Guests can access your Internet connection, but they can’t see or access data or devices on your network. This limits their ability to compromise your network in any way (malware, security breach, etc.).
2. Default Passwords
Any time you install a network device (like a wireless router or smart device), make sure you change the default passwords to complex, difficult-to-guess combinations of letters and numbers.
Cybercriminals can easily find or guess default passwords, giving them easy access to your data and network.
3. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
Hackers have lots of ways to steal data. With a VPN, incoming and outgoing information is encrypted, making it less likely that a hacker can access your identity or data.
While a VPN is not foolproof, it is an important security tool that works in combination with other security strategies to provide another layer of protection.
Related article: What Is A Virtual Private Network? Does My Business Need One?
4. Updates & Patches
Always install updates and patches on all of your systems (servers, network devices, and endpoints).
Whether you install them manually or migrate to the cloud to take advantage of automatic updates, investing the time to make sure they are updated pays dividends in plugging security gaps and enhancing performance efficiencies.
5. Multi-Factor (MFA)
With MFA, each user is required to provide multiple identifiers before gaining access to applications, websites, or other IT services.
While most users are accustomed to entering a username and password to log in, MFA requires at least one additional piece of identifying information before allowing access.
The extra identifier can be provided via a text message, phone call, push notification to a cell phone, a code from a token or fob, or biometric information (like an eye scan or fingerprint).
Related article: The Truth About 3 Common Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Concerns
6. Next-Gen Firewall
Firewalls monitor traffic traveling between networks.
In addition to its core firewall functions, a next-generation firewall includes a range of other capabilities designed to protect against modern cybersecurity threats.
Related article: Firewalls: What You Need To Know (Function, Features, Capabilities)
After reading this article, you know why network safety is important. You know 6 steps you can take to improve the security of your network and the protection of your data.
If you have an internal IT staff, they may be able to help you implement a guest wi-fi network, change your default passwords, install a VPN, update and patch your systems, begin using MFA, and install a next-gen firewall.
Maybe you don’t have an internal IT staff, they are stretched thin, or don’t have the expertise you need to tackle these critical actions. You aren’t alone. Small and medium-sized businesses often don’t have the resources and expertise to provide all of the support your infrastructure demands.
If you are considering working with an external IT support provider, find out your options for external IT support.
A word of caution. When comparing external IT support providers, explore several options so that you get a provider that is the right fit for you. Learn 10 best questions to ask any IT provider.
Looking for more security tips? Click the button below for a free cybersecurity eBook that explains the actions everyone needs to know to defend against the latest cyber threats. Read this short, informative document to learn 10 actions you can take to protect your data including:
✔️Maintaining current backups
✔️Password protecting mobile devices