How To Improve Network Security
With trillions of losses caused by cybercrime, increasing cybersecurity is a must for businesses nowadays. Organizations can prevent more devastating, headline-making breaches by improving their network security.
The first half of 2019 has been marked with massive cyberattacks. The US Customs and Border Protection’s data breach exposed 100,000 people’s license plates and photos. A ransomware attack targeted manufacturing and industrial firms. Wired Magazine also cited the American Medical Collection Agency’s breach involving millions of healthcare patients’ records as one for the records this year.
Cybersecurity breaches have lasting negative effects on a business and its relationships. Follow these best practices to help improve your network security:
1. Pinpoint Potential Threats in the Organization’s IT infrastructure
Everything that is connected to the network must be outlined. This can help the IT department identify potential weaknesses in the devices’ connectivity. For instance, there may still be those with outdated software or default passwords. For organizations with a Bring Your Own Device policy, every device must have updated antivirus software and firewall. Unidentified external hardware must not be connected to company devices too.
2. Develop a Tight Network Security Policy
Even small businesses are cyber targeted, so security standards must be in place. Put these in writing in the organization’s security manuals and brief each employee about them. Conduct regular checks of the employees’ awareness about these network security protection standards. Review these standards regularly and update the employees about them. Cyber threats are fast evolving, so network security protocols in place must change as well.
3. Teach Employees about Cybersecurity Vigilance
Train employees to check security certificates, URLs, and email addresses every time before providing their private information or credentials. Encourage them to identify potential threats and compensate them for it.
Phishing attacks still prove to be one of the biggest cybersecurity threats this year. It helps to teach employees how to spot phishing attempts. Some organizations used the following tips to help employees pinpoint phishing attempts:
- Showing them sample phishing emails
- Identifying the red flags in these emails
- Reminding them to always check the email address of the sender
- Telling them not to open email attachments from unknown sources
- Conducting an actual test to see who among the employees still fail to identify phishing emails.
- Give them more training until they get it
4. Monitor the Entire Network regularly
Anyone in the network can be a target so you have to be vigilant. This is why privilege management is important. It limits access to sensitive information based on the employees’ job requirements, not their position in the organization’s hierarchy.
Regular network audits are also a must to maintain network security. This can identify vulnerable access points, especially the ones that do not screen traffic. Fortify these points with an access policy. This may include restricting unknown devices from accessing the organization’s network. Filtering Media Access Control (MAC) addresses is a solid first step. It denies access to any devices with MAC addresses that are not in the company’s whitelist.
A good network security policy may also require employees to go through a heavily monitored virtual private network to access the organization’s network.
5. Augment Cybersecurity Support
Cybersecurity departments often point to the lack of support as a hindrance to implementing a strong network security plan. Aside from hiring an in-house team of IT staff, external support may be necessary at times. It could be in the form of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) implementing customized solutions based on the needs of the organization. This is the go-to practical solution for small businesses and organizations with a limited budget.
Network security affects every part of the organization. It should not be dismissed as a cost but instead a benefit when it means protecting the business, its consumers, and its overall integrity as an organization. A study shows that data breaches have forced around 60% of businesses into bankruptcy in as fast as six months.
6. Use Up-To-Date Hardware and Software
Be keen on monitoring and downloading the latest patches. Regularly check for potential weaknesses and threats and fix them. Protecting network security should not only fall on the shoulders of the IT staff. End users should also be involved by giving them constant security policy education.
Contact Aperio IT if you need help managing your computer systems and network security. Our team will implement innovative solutions to protect your network from cyber criminals while ensuring compliance and driving workplace efficiency.