Securing your office network should be at the top of your list as a business owner, and using this simple Small Business Network Security Checklist will get you started.
Ensuring your office network is secured should be your number one priority as a business owner. The reason I emphasize the importance of Cyber Security is simply because cybercrime has become one of the fastest-growing problems in the world..
What makes this problem more dangerous is that cybercriminals are becoming very effective at infiltrating businesses and stealing data, which they can then sell for good money in the black market.
Your cybersecurity checklist should include not only technology solutions but also user training and a thorough business IT Security Policy. You can learn more about building an IT Policy
Today, it is more important than ever to invest in a solid business security solution. By conducting a security audit, you can get a good baseline and learn about your current business security health.
You can order one from Corporate Shields Order a Security Audit Here.
The mentality that your business is too small or that none cares about the data you have in your office network will get you hacked faster than the time it takes to read this article.
An article published by VOX.com recently reported that small businesses are a huge target for cyber crooks.
The statistics show that one in five small businesses falls victim to cyber-attacks, and 60 percent go out of business very soon after.
Here five simple steps you can follow to secure your office network today:
1) Enact Company Security Policies and a User Training Program
You probably are thinking, how will a set of business network security policies protect me from cybercriminals? Well, the fact is that most successful Cyber attacks appropriate the “human factor” to execute their plans. Whether is by sending you an Apple free iPhone email, sending you a link to claim a free price, or even texting a link to pick up a free FedEx Package. All these are examples of social engineering attacks that can be very successful.
Data breaches are can happen event in the most secure environments due to human errors and untrained staff.
Business Network Security
Your business network security policies should include at least the following:
- Password requirements policy
- Computer Accepted Use policy
- Internet Usage policy
- Email Security and Usage policy
Computer users simply are not aware of these types of attacks and fall victim to these crooks every single day. Having a good office security policy and user training program is your first line of defense against socially engineered attacks. Nothing is more effective than an end-user cognizant of the types of cyber attacks, how to identify a potential attempt, and sometimes even prevent an actual attack. Well-trained computer users form a high defensive line against cyber attacks.
2) Firewalls and Endpoint Solution
A business-grade firewall and an endpoint security solution are not just crucial but required. If your business does not have a next-generation firewall and endpoint solution in place, you are simply a sitting duck. You need to look for next-generation security systems that are built for these new types of attacks.
Configuring a business firewall or Endpoint projection can be a complicated task. We wrote a small business network setup checklist to help you understand the steps to build a reliable network for your business.
Firewalls and antivirus should be part of every small office network security plan. Your business is completely exposed without a firewall and your computers are completely naked without antivirus.
Your old, outdated WIFI router will not be able to combat these new varieties of cyber threats. We work with different firewall companies and can recommend the right fit solution based on your office size, type of business, and compliance needs. One of our cyber professionals can guide you in the right direction.
3) Update Plan for Microsoft Patches (Important)
Microsoft updates are an essential layer of your cybersecurity plan. Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Apple are continually updating their software to counteract cyber-criminal activity and improve their software muscles. Many of the updates released by these vendors are in direct response to newly found threats, exploits, and vulnerabilities in their software.
If you read some of the advisories issued by Microsoft, you will quickly realize the seriousness of these Microsoft patches and what the consequences can be if these patches are not applied to your office computers. Everything from potential remote access to your computer to zero-day threats usually is patched and fixed by software vendors’ patches.
It is helpful to remember that humans write software, and mistakes will make it to the production software code. Some errors can be harmless and simply create a “bug in the software,” but some can create substantial security flaws. It is important to have a plan in place to regularly and effectively patch every computer in your office.
4) Enforce Application and Web Control
This step is a bit more advanced but is very important and is readably available in most business-class firewalls and endpoint software.
You cannot allow your users free, unmonitored, unscanned, and controlled access to the Internet. Uncontrolled and unmonitored access to the Internet is extremely dangerous, and you need to take action to control web surfing at your business as soon as possible.
The web is a vast network with all kinds of great content, but it also has every single cyber threat available at just one wrong click away. Very often, users go and search for content on Google and click on Trust Everything Google throws at them.
How do you know the page you landed on is not a fake site to catch data, run exploits on your web browser, or try to inject malware into your computer? Trying to guess if a website is clean is very hard to do. Even legitimate websites can get infected without you knowing.
So how do you project yourself from millions of malicious pages and millions of infected websites? Simple, implement a web control or web filter appliance to virus scan, monitor, and block unwanted traffic. These appliances are very affordable and built for small businesses. Many next-generation firewalls, understandably, already include web control modules to help protect your office.
Just think of the peace of mind you will have to know that your users will not accidentally click on a malware link when searching for fashing tips, I mean, medical terms!
These types of appliances and technology are easy to implement but might require the help of a professional’s advice. You can contact us here for more information.
5) Email Protection Solution
The only reason email protection is last on these lists is that it is the hardest and most advanced option on this list. Nevertheless, most attacks are carried out via spam or phishing emails. The most successful type of attack is called a “phishing” email attack. A phishing email is when a cybercriminal or organization sends you or your users an email trying to deceive you and get sensitive information from you.
These emails can be a password reset fake email, credit card offers, or even someone pretending to be your doctor. Phishing email attacks are very successful because the orchestrators are betting on the human nature of the end-user. However, phishing emails come with their own characteristics and features, which are detectable by business-grade email protection systems.
Some of these attacks originate from well know IP addresses or systems that are captured by databases and reported to cybersecurity systems. Phishing emails can be stopped and managed, but you might need to contact a professional to help you.
This Small Business Network Security Checklist is simplified in order to give you an idea of the main steps you will need to take to protect your business. Corporate Shields is an IT Management company but as our name implies, we are a cybersecurity-focused company.
We work to help businesses find the right-fit solutions to protect their businesses and stay away from lawsuits and hackers. We are committed to protecting small businesses and can help protect yours. Give us a call today or send us a note at email@example.com. We know how to protect businesses.