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10 Easy Ways to Secure Your Business Computers and Devices

Business success and network security are linked together

Every forward-looking and success-driven business wants to keep its focus on recruiting the best talent, building strategies for growth, creating solutions that drive profits and attracting new customers. But in this digitally dependent world, business success is tied—in a very real way—to the security of your IT network.

Cybersecurity is an all-too-often overlooked aspect of a company’s strategy, even as the threats grow more complex and instances of hacking, data theft, malware and viruses grow more common. Overlooking details such as network security leaves a business underprotected and exposed—and that’s not a risk worth taking anymore.

Fortunately, you can take specific, concrete steps to keep your network secure and protect your data without large investments of time or money in equipment or IT security staff. In fact, many of the most important security steps don’t cost anything, and simply require implementing security focused habits.

1. Install all security updates when you see notifications
All of your software—your browser, applications, operating system, everything—should be configured to automatically notify you of security updates, and you should always install and apply those updates immediately.

2. Back up your files regularly
Work files should be backed up to the cloud and to a physical hard drive that you can quickly access in an emergency. You probably know about ransomware, which holds your files for an exorbitant ransom fee. You can render this kind of attack meaningless if you have an on-site, up-to-date backup – simply reinstall your files from your backup drive.

Computer Protected Antivirus

3. Restrict user permissions on office devices
If a user doesn’t need administrator privileges or doesn’t need access to enterprise-level administration, create a regular user account instead of an administrator account. Ask your IT team to handle non-admin work from a regular user account and only log into an admin account when necessary. Switching users takes seconds, but can save hours of heartache from an unintentional mishap.

4. Close the gate on devices
Log out of your computer when you’re not using it, or set up a screensaver that is password-protected. Use a strong password that no one can guess for your account login. Get in the habit of logging out when you walk away from your desk—and make sure everyone else in the office does, too.

5. Educate your employees about security
Is your staff aware of the real dangers of cyber attacks and prepared to detect, respond to and avoid them? Do they understand how phishing attacks happen? Do they know how they can protect company information? Secure training resources and educational materials to help your employees understand the basics—what the leading threats are, how they happen and how they can be prevented.

6. Install anti-malware and anti-virus software
Anti-malware and anti-virus software performs scans of your network to catch threats before they become a problem. Software such as MalwareBytes for anti-malware and AVG for antivirus actively scan your system for problems and root them out. This software is one of the most effective ways to keep your office devices and personal information protected.

7. Enable security settings for your wireless network
You should be using WPA2-AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), as well as enabling separate SSIDs (network name) for company employees and guests who might visit your offices.

8. Install a firewall
At a minimum, enable Windows Firewall or the application firewall on the Mac. Ideally, ensure that you have a firewall on your router to protect the entire network.

9. Use VLANs to separate traffic on your network
A VLAN, or Virtual Local Area Network, is a networking technology that groups together devices on separate local area networks. VLANs can improve office security because they offer greater control over which devices have access to each other. Users should be on one VLAN; servers should be on a separate one. Your public-facing servers can be accessed by people from outside your network; you want to keep your private, trusted, internal network completely separate from any potential outside attack.

10. Encrypt sensitive data on individual computers
You can easily encrypt data on Windows and Mac without investing in additional software. It’s a good idea to encrypt all sensitive information on the computers in your office; it’s absolutely crucial that all employees using laptops and mobile devices do so.

Because of the complexity of threats to your network, there is no way to guarantee that no harm will come to your network and data, but not implementing them will absolutely put your business at greater risk.

Do you want more information on building a better business network? Check out this content:

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