10 Simple Steps to a More Secure Business Network
Improving data security is easy, and in many cases it’s free
The success of your business is tied, in a very real way, to the security of your office network and your data. If you leave your network or your data vulnerable to attack, you could ultimately lose the trust of your customers—and, at worst, that could mean the end of your business.
Fortunately, you can take specific, concrete steps to keep your network secure and protect your data. And you can do so without investing large amounts 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 some new 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.
3. Restrict user rights 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. When your work is done, log out
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. You’ve seen those episodes of 24 where the bad guy sneaks in, sits down at an unattended terminal, and steals the launch codes. You don’t want to be the guy who enabled the destruction of the planet, so 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
Is your staff aware of the real dangers of cyber attacks and prepared to spot, respond to and avoid them? Do they understand how phishing attacks happen? Do they know how they can protect company information?
6. Install anti-malware and anti-virus software
Arvig recommends MalwareBytes for anti-malware and AVG for antivirus. You can contact the Arvig Tech Team for pricing on these solutions.
7. Enable security settings for your wireless network
You should be using WPA2-AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), as well as enabling separate SSIDs for company employees and guests who might visit your offices.
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 on 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 critical that all employees using laptops 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.