Whether you are an SME or large corporation, start-up or established business, network security is important. A single breach could not only stop a business in its tracks but also irreparably damage its reputation.
Many small businesses think they aren’t a target for cyber attacks, even though the evidence suggests exactly the opposite is true and network security is not a priority.
Here are five ways to make sure that your network security measures are robust enough to keep you, your employees and your customers safe.
1. Create a security policy
Most smaller businesses don’t have any set security policy in place. Without a formal list of directives and targets, it is difficult to maintain the appropriate level of security. Unfortunately, that’s what is needed. Let your guard down for a second and you could be putting yourself at risk.
For example, many businesses operate a BYOD policy because it saves them money on hardware. But they don’t put any effort at all into managing how employees use their smartphones or tablets in relation to their business.
Making sure that all Wi-Fi connected devices are updated automatically with the latest patches and software is another area that businesses fall down on, whether it’s a BYOD or company hardware.
A security policy is a formal recognition of what is expected in order to keep your business safe online that can be easily implemented. If you don’t have a policy already, it’s imperative to develop and implement one as quickly as possible.
2. Train your staff
Many businesses also make the mistake of developing a security policy and then don’t train their staff to ensure it gets implemented properly. For example, you should always give new staff an induction that includes what is expected with regards to online security.
Never assume that your employees understand what is at risk either. The biggest compromises to network security often come from staff themselves. They see an email, don’t realise it’s a phishing attack, open it and infect your whole system.
Make sure that staff get regular updates and information which enables them, and your business, to stay safe online. The more they know and understand, the better protected your company will be.
3. Consider switching to a leased line
The line coming into your business not only enables you to communicate with the entire world, it also opens you and your staff to potential attack from hackers and malicious software. For any business, making sure this connection is as secure as possible is vital.
Most lines are shared by everyone around you. Leased lines, on the other hand, are there for your use and your use alone. In other words, your line isn’t exposed to public traffic. It’s exclusive.
Leased lines are less susceptible to attack because they are riskier for hackers compared to standard business lines. They provide a direct connection to the exchange that your business doesn’t share with anyone else. The good news is that these have become more affordable in the last few years. If you want to improve your business network security, this is one option worth exploring.
4. Review and update your security
Many businesses set their security policy and then let it sit there. Failure to update means your processes and understanding of the risks will quickly become outdated. Most of us don’t fully understand this high-tech environment very much at all.
We know what a virus checker is but don’t truly comprehend what the threats are. Our advice is to set some time aside every month to review how your current network is performing and what processes you need to put in place to tighten things up.
5. Outsource your IT security
Outsourcing has become one of the top business buzzwords in recent times. It saves money and time compared to employing in-house. With IT support, outsourcing has proved extremely important. Employing an IT professional can be expensive and limiting for one thing.
Outsourced IT delivers the high levels of security you need while ensuring you keep the costs down. It also gives you access to a much wider range of expertise that is available instantaneously as well as the latest security solutions. That means you can respond to security risks more confidently.