3 Easy Ways to Better Network Security
Waiting in lineups really isn’t all that much fun. But standing in line waiting to run the gamut at an airport is even worse. You always feel rushed to get out your laptop or tablet, get all the metal out of your pockets, remove your shoes and belt – you know the drill… But whether it is a matter of national safety or the safety of your business network, network security is a huge issue. All companies want to take the necessary steps to ensure their business is covered, but many are unsure exactly what to safeguard themselves against.
Here is a quick overview of the three of the most common network security threats that small and medium businesses face.
Very large and very well organized cyber-crime outfits do exist. Look no further than Anonymous for that. Once they get their hooks in something, there’s nowhere to hide. And if you think it can’t happen to you, think again. Remember: over 96% of businesses in Canada have less than 100 employees so yes they do set their sights on small businesses. Why? Because there are so darn many of them and they usually do a lousy job of network security! Commonly, they will steal your financial information and then, under the guise of a legitimate company, use it to secure loans, goods and services – all on your dime.
You’re going to want to ensure your internet-enabled systems are up to current, your firewalls are setup correctly and your virus scanners are properly configured. Taking these simple steps will get you very nearly 100% safety. A determined hacker might still get through but in most cases, they’ll move on to someone easier. Think of it this way: if your car has a security system and the guy next to you doesn’t, who do you think they will go after first?
OK – so you’ve “hardened” the outward facing part of the business but what about the threats from the inside? The reality is, your biggest risk for network security doesn’t come from the latest Russian malware attack but from Joe, the disgruntled employee in accounting. If your internal systems are left wide open because of poorly secured internal resources (yes, some companies actually do store their passwords on a list on the server), you are leaving yourself open to intellectual property theft, mischief or downright malicious destruction of data.
Does this sound like your company? You may want to take stock of who can “see” what and perhaps lock it down a little if you’ve been too liberal. You don’t have to take a Fort Knox approach to network security as that would be counter-productive but by the same token, you don’t need the workers on the manufacturing floor to have access to payroll either. Working with a qualified managed services provider will go a long way to shoring things up.
The trend of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) is one of the more disruptive concepts in recent memory. On the upside, letting your employees use the devices they prefer to use is great. They are familiar and comfortable with them and they are far more likely to want to get a few things done after hours and that cant be bad. Done right, you could save a lot of cash. Done wrong, and you expose your business to just about every network security threat under the sun.
We have seen so many BYOD related security cases; an employee comes in with an unpatched, unprotected device and suddenly a virus hits the network – hard. But really, the sand in the Vaseline was not so much the poorly configured employee device, but the lack of corporate policy surrounding BYOD. Most small businesses really don’t have anything in place to identify and / or control who brings what onto the network. This can make it pretty tough to pinpoint network security breaches.
Now, we’re certainly not saying BYOD is bad but it does need proper handling. At the very least, you should probably have a list of acceptable devices and each of those devices needs to be assessed by a properly trained specialist before being released to wreak havoc on your network. And if it doesn’t meet muster, it doesn’t get on the network – period.
Following these rules isn’t too awful hard to do but you will need some help. That’s where we come in. We can do a network security assessment for you that will show you quite clearly just where you need to focus. Contact us to find out how we can help reduce the threat to your business.