Regardless of how small or large a business is, there will always be malicious people out there who are intent on causing problems. If you don’t have the necessary security controls in place to prevent intrusions, you could end up losing everything. In this article I will provide you with 8 tips to help keep your business network secure.
Don’t place all of your eggs in one basket
Everyone has heard of the old adage “don’t place all of your eggs in one basket”. This saying is especially true when it comes to network security. You should never rely on just one method to secure your network. Your network security should contain multiple layers so that if someone or something makes it past one of your defenses, you still have additional security in place to protect your network.
Use extra strong passwords
Most businesses will have heard about the importance of this, but very few actually do it. All network devices such as wireless routers, printers and NAS drives must be configured with extra strong passwords. This means setting passwords that are at least nine characters long with mixed case letters, numbers and symbols. Never use names or words from the dictionary!
Encrypt all laptops and computers
How many times have you heard news stories that involve a stolen laptop that contained masses of sensitive information? The last thing you want is for your sensitive business data to fall into the hands of the wrong people. The most effective way to mitigate this risk is to encrypt all of the data on your computers, laptops and mobile devices.
Hide your service set identifier (SSID)
If you have a wireless network, be sure to hide your service set identifier (SSID) or at least change its name to something that’s common. It’s essential that all wireless routers have obscure ID’s when they are detected by users. Rather than using your business name, choose an innocuous name such as “wireless2” or “router3”. This will prevent you from giving away any critical information. It’s amazing how many businesses use their names as their ID’s, make it incredibly easy for opportunists to find out whose router is where.
Regularly audit the open ports on your network
Ports are very similar to doors. If you leave them open for long periods of time without shutting them, you will significantly increase the chances of letting uninvited intruders in. If ports are left open, worms and Trojans will use them to communicate with unauthorized third-parties. This is why it’s so important to regularly audit the open ports and block any ports that are not in use.
Update software when prompted
Be sure to update any third party software when you are prompted, and if you are not prompted, check once a month for updates. As well as providing new functionality and fixing bugs, these updates will often deliver important security patches. It’s also recommended that you install any windows updates when you are prompted; these updates often contain critical security patches.
Disable remote administration
Pretty much all routers have a remote administration feature that allows users to log in and modify network settings via the internet. To minimize the risk of malicious outside user gaining unauthorized access to your network, it’s recommended that you disable remote administration. Administrative changes should only be made from inside the network.
Implement a disaster recovery plan
Even the smallest of businesses can benefit from a disaster recovery plan. It’s definitely worth implementing one, especially when you consider that the loss of data could be critical to the success of your business. You should have a plan in place that covers both man-made and natural disasters. If you already have a disaster recovery plan in place, make sure you test at least once a year.