Your business most likely uses one or a series of network connections. This can be your business’s connection to the Internet, its own intranet, a larger extranet or any combination of the three. These connections power and empower your business to do the things that it needs to do to be successful. Unfortunately, these connections, along with how easy it is to access them, create issues. The problem with network connections of any type is that they are prone to infiltration by elements that can become harmful to your business. While there are steps you can take to keep your connections secure, without a cyber security specialization, there are many things that small business owners may not consider when setting up these connections.
Who Needs Access to the Network?
Generally speaking, the less access the better. While this isn’t always possible or even feasible to a business, it is important that you implement policies that restrict access to your network. Only those with proper authorization should have the ability to access the network. Even among those with access, you should restrict privileges to only what is necessary. As your business changes and grows, it may become necessary to loosen some of those restrictions, but only among those that specifically need the greater access.
Firewalls Big and Small
There are many firewall solutions available. Some are more secure than others are. At the high-end, the installation and maintenance of a firewall can become complicated. A firewall will prevent unauthorized access to your network by closing ports and only allowing approved traffic on the ports that you allow. Open ports are a vulnerability that people with ill intent will first try. Your firewall solution should work to keep unauthorized traffic from coming in from outside your network. It can also help keep those that you authorize to use the network from accessing dangerous sites or unintentionally allowing things into your network that do not belong there.
Update Your Software and Equipment
You should strive to keep everything updated as best you can. This goes for the software you use, your operating system and the firmware for your hardware. Updates usually provide security upgrades and fixes bugs. Sometimes these bugs are exploits that an unauthorized person can use to access your system in a unique way. Sometimes it is not feasible to update things as the update may clash with software you currently use for your business. If that’s the case, you should find alternative means to address the issues the updates fix.
Antivirus and Anti-Spyware
You absolutely need antivirus software. You need it for the same reasons that you need it for your home computer. No matter how secure you make your system, there is a chance that something can slip by. A good antivirus program can alert you or your employees of computer viruses, worms, adware, spyware, rootkits, key loggers and a host of other types of malware that can harm your system. These threats pose a risk not only to your network systems, but potentially to your business as a whole.
Password Protect Everything
Passwords are typically the first level of defense for a network. They can serve as one of your most effective deterrents. You should apply password protection to everything that you can. This goes for access to a computer, server, software and routers. Your wireless network, if you have one, should definitely utilize strong password protection. You may even want to consider multi-factor authentication to access certain things. This is a step beyond a simply password and many businesses have implemented them into their security solutions with good results.
There are many other security solutions available to small businesses and several other things you might want to consider doing to protect your business. Even if you are on a tight budget, there are many free and low cost solutions that you can implement until such a time that you can beef up the security with more robust options. Security is important, so important that you may want to hire a professional service to implement a security solution for you. Of course, this depends entirely on your budget, your understanding of network security and your comfort level with dealing with it.