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Small Business Security Network Ops Center

How to Build a Small Business Network Security Plan

For 2019, the global average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million. Can your company afford to lose that much? Probably not.

In fact, 60% of small businesses close their doors within 6 months after a cyberattack. It may seem like a scary statistic, but the fact is, you can prevent this from happening to your business by implementing a business network security plan. With the proper precautions in place, you’ll significantly decrease the chances of successful cyberattacks.

If you’re looking to up your business network security, then keep reading. We’ll give you a thorough guide on how to do so.

Have Robust Software Installed on Every Device

The foundation of your business’s cybersecurity is robust software. The first thing you need is a firewall.

This is the gatekeeper to your internet traffic; it inspects what’s going out and what’s coming in. Without one, it’s like leaving the front door to your home unlocked and open.

The second thing you need is antivirus software. Don’t just go for a free program, as it won’t catch more sophisticated attacks. Remember: all it takes is one successful cyberattack to bring down your business, so don’t skimp on this area.

In the past, it’d be enough to only install these two things on your desktop computers and laptops. But as mobile devices become more and more powerful, fraudsters are targeting these now. Within the last year, smartphone cyberattacks increased by 50%.

So make sure you install a firewall and antivirus program on not only your computers, but also your mobile devices. This includes both smartphones and tablets.

Keep All Software Updated

It’s simply not enough to just install a firewall and antivirus, and leave it at that. The digital world is extremely fast-paced, and it’s constantly changing.

Cybercriminals look for and take advantage of any vulnerabilities in networks. To counteract that, software companies come out with security patches and updates. Then, the scammers find ways around those, and more patches and updates come out.

Because of this, it’s vital you always install them as soon as possible. Every minute that goes by without installing is another minute of a successful incoming attack.

It can be a pain to wait around for installations, which is why many people click off of it when the popups come up. But this can end up costing your company.

Make sure you and your employees install updates promptly. Perhaps schedule them during lunchtime or when you’re working on something that doesn’t require the computer.

Get Regular Training for Your Employees

One half of the equation to your company’s cybersecurity is the software. The other half is your workforce. In fact, with the proper training and education, your employees can practically negate the need for software (we’re not saying you should get rid of it, of course).

In the past, data breaches relied on hacking and other more proactive methods from cybercriminals. But today, much of it relies on social engineering, usually in the form of phishing.

What happens with social engineering is cybercriminals masquerade as companies or people trust. For example, they may craft an email and website that closely mimics the real ones of your bank.

In the email, they’ll claim you need to log into your account to either verify something or to add details. When you click on the link, it’ll take you to what seems like your bank’s login page, so you enter your username and password.

But what’s really happened is you’ve given the criminals your login credentials. This means they can log into your bank account and/or other digital accounts if you’ve used the same credentials in multiple places.

If your employees are trained to detect key signs of phishing, then they won’t be as susceptible to attacks.

Practice Good Digital Hygiene

As we’ve said above, one of the main ways of preventing successful cyberattacks is to practice good digital hygiene.

What does this mean? Here are a few things to implement at your workplace:

  • Use strong passwords: Try to avoid the use of dictionary words. When possible, use a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Use different passwords on every site: If one password’s compromised, then at least your other accounts can’t be infiltrated. We recommend using a password manager that encrypts all your passwords and auto-fills whenever you navigate to a login page.
  • Change your passwords often: It’s harder to hit a moving target. By changing your passwords regularly, you keep yourself “on the move.”
  • Type in URLs yourself: If you receive an email asking you to log into an account, you should type in the URL yourself to be on the safe side. That way, you’re 100% sure you’re on the legitimate page.
  • Don’t click on attachments and links in unexpected/strange emails: If you weren’t expecting an email from a colleague or family member, and/or if the syntax in it seems strange, it’s best to avoid clicking on anything inside until you’ve confirmed the contents with the sender in person (or by phone).

Hire a Digital Security Officer

Having a digital security officer on-site can be an invaluable investment. This is a person who’s knowledgeable in the most recent cybersecurity threats.

They can hold weekly meetings to get your staff up-to-date on the latest attacks so they know what to watch out for. They can also give presentations on what to look out for in said attacks.

Another thing they can do is administer mock phishing tests. Not only can this keep your employees on their toes, but it can show you where the vulnerabilities are in your cybersecurity and fix them.

Secure Your Wi-Fi

When you’re on a network connection, people can potentially intercept your packets of data. This means they can see sensitive information that you don’t want as public knowledge.

Cybercriminals can easily hop on public wi-fi networks that don’t have passwords and steal important data, such as your trade secrets. Because of this, it’s imperative you secure your wi-fi network with a password.

You should also think about having a separate wi-fi network for employees and guests. Your employees should be properly trained in digital hygiene, which means infection of your employee network won’t be as likely.

But when you have guests, they may not be fully educated in safe online practices, which means whatever network they’re on may be more prone to viruses and attacks. By partitioning the network accesses, you can prevent your company’s data from being compromised should a guest click on malware.

Have Backups of Your Data

The WannaCry virus is ransomware that wreaked havoc across the world in May 2017.  It cost billions to recover from; Britain’s NHS was particularly affected.

Ransomware is where a virus infects your system and locks it up so you can’t access anything at all, besides a note file. When you click on it, it’ll tell you that your data’s held hostage, and to get it back, you have to send a certain amount of Bitcoin to an anonymous wallet.

In this whole operation, you’re working under the assumption that if you pay the “ransom,” you’ll get your data back. But the fact is, the criminals don’t really care about holding up their end of the bargain. 50% of ransomware victims never recovered their data after paying the demanded Bitcoin.

So in the worst-case scenario, you may end up losing both your company’s data and a significant amount of money on top of that.

How to Fight Ransomware

The thing is, ransomware criminals count on you not having any data backups for their attack to work. After all, if the only copy you have is under lock and key, you’ll probably do anything possible to recover it.

But when you have up-to-date data backups, you can essentially ignore ransomware. If you’ve been unlucky enough to have your network be infected, then just wipe your devices and start over. Reboot with the last data backup and you’ll barely lose any work or information.

Having a third party handle your data backups can be a huge load off of your shoulders. Should anything happen to your current data, whether it’s a security breach or a natural disaster, they can easily recover what you need, no matter what time of day it is.

As you’ve seen from the numbers above, you can see that just one successful cyberattack can ruin your company, especially if it’s ransomware and you haven’t backed up your data.

Not only that, but any interruptions to your business can be very costly. When you have backups you can rely on, should anything unfortunate happen, you can pick up right where you left off with little downtime.

Ensure Great Business Network Security for Your Business

It may seem like a lengthy process to get a good business network security setup, but all that hard work is worth it. Once you have good protocols in place, it’ll be effortless to keep it up and evolve with the times.

With the help of expert third-party companies, you can take your company’s cybersecurity even further. So make that small investment and it’ll pay off in the long run, especially when you can fend off even the nastiest of attacks.

For optimized solutions for your business, please get in touch with us today. We’re here for you 24/7, and we always get back to you promptly.

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About Jeff Collins

Experience and Expertise make the difference when searching for top cloud providers. Appliedi has provided managed cloud services since 1999.

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