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Despite what one might read or see in the news, business network security incidents are not just a threat faced exclusively by large, multinational corporations. In 2019, 43% of all cyber-crimes were targeted at small businesses, costing an average of $200,000. So significant is the impact of a breach that losses can even cause many small businesses to close down.
There are countless methods for hackers to access your data, but responsive security measures can protect sensitive information. Ensure your business is protected by following this small business network security checklist.
1. Make Sure You Update Your Software
A common weakness with small businesses is out-of-date software. No matter if it’s your operating systems or your financial tracking software, an old application leaves you more vulnerable to data breaches.
Frequently patching applications is one of the best ways of plugging security vulnerabilities or holes.
Regular updates prevent cyber criminals from taking advantage of loopholes found in older software, giving you greater peace of mind as a business owner.
If newer software updates are unavailable because you are using older hardware, you should consider upgrading to newer devices (that support modern software) to ensure your network is properly protected.
2. Keep Backing Up Data
Even a relatively minor cyber attack can result in wide-scale data loss. Alternatively, your data can be held at ransom by malicious actors, putting you in a situation where you are beholden to cybercriminals.
Having your data backed up can make all the difference in recovering from an attack. Both full and incremental backups should be taken regularly to minimize data loss and reduce the effects of a ransomware attack. Employ the time-tested 3-2-1 backup rule to maximize redundancy.
What is the 3-2-1 backup rule?
The 3-2-1 backup rule has been designed to safeguard critical information from loss or corruption. It efficiently balances the number of resources that must be devoted to keeping backups with adequate redundancy.
3 – Keep 3 copies of important files (2 backups and 1 primary)
2 – Store files on 2 different types of storage media (for instance, hard drives and cloud storage)
1 – Keep one copy offsite (outside of your business premises)
Always store the backup outside of your business network, such as on a second server that is isolated from your primary network. Using cloud backup services is another option (as long as you make sure the service complies with any industry requirements, such as HIPAA).
3. Maximize Business Network Security by Training Employees
You could have the most comprehensive small business network security imaginable, but it won’t matter unless your employees are properly educated around it.
Eighty-five percent of data breaches last year involved a human element, meaning that basic business network security training can drastically reduce the risk of data breaches.
This is especially important as remote work (work from home) becomes increasingly popular. Teaching employees how to handle sensitive information, identify suspicious emails, and safeguard mobile devices to add an extra layer of security.
Remember also to stress the importance of social media security as well, as it remains a popular means of socially engineered attacks.
4. Secure Your WiFi Networks
WiFi networks are a common entry point for criminals looking to steal your data. Unlike with a wired connection, which requires an attacker to physically access your network, wireless networks remove that hurdle. By connecting to your WiFi networks, a criminal can remotely access sensitive information and systems.
Secure your WiFi by password protecting your router admin, and ensuring that only select employees have access to the password. If your business uses public WiFi for customers, ensure that employees only connect to the secure network as part of their job.
Also, a next-generation firewall with advanced security features is an absolute must in order to prevent intruders from accessing your network and internet connection.
5. Prepare A Data Loss Response Plan
The old adage ‘Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst’ may be a cliche, yet it’s important to consider when planning your network security.
Small business network security requires ongoing planning and continued vigilance. Make sure to keep updating your business continuity plan to ensure your business can continue to function.
In case of a data breach, you should prepare a data breach investigation report so that your business can quickly mitigate the consequences of the breach and reduce the potential costs of the incident.
Let Fusion Computing Take Care Of All Your Business Network Security Needs
To ensure that your business network security ticks all the boxes, you should consult recognized experts in network security.
At Fusion Computing, we specialize in reviewing and meeting the cyber security needs of small businesses. Work with one of the leading cyber security specialists in Toronto and the GTA. We’ve never had a cyber security breach at any of our clients.
Are you ready to upgrade your cyber security? Contact Fusion Computing for an online security assessment of your network.