How to Secure a Network: The Best Tips for Businesses

Data breaches can cost anywhere from $1.25 million to $8.19 million. The fact is, most SMEs can’t handle these costs, which results in complete shutdowns.

Of course, yours probably can’t, but what if you don’t have the limitless budget that most other large businesses have?

There are still very efficient ways to protect your company, all without having to spend a fortune.

Here are some ways on how to secure a network so you protect your business in the best ways possible.

Use Strong Passwords

Cybercriminals will perform something called brute force attacks. This is where they use a program to run combinations of password possibilities to try and “break in” to your account.

If you use easy to guess passwords, such as ones that involve your pet name, birthdate, or other public information, these programs will guess your password pretty quickly. And if you use that password on multiple websites, these criminals can get into those accounts too.

The best thing to do is to use different passwords for each account. Choose non-dictionary words, as well as uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. The more random and complicated your password, the better.

Make sure you change them often too. Just like it’s harder to hit a moving target with a ball, it’ll be harder for hackers to guess your password if you’re always changing it to a different one.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Something that adds an extra layer of security to strong passwords is enabling two-factor authentication (2FA). This is something extra that checks you’re who you say you are after you input your username and password.

The types of 2FA include:

  • Text
  • Security question
  • Authenticator app
  • Push notification

You may be familiar with the first two already. Many websites send out texts with temporary codes you have to put into your browser. Or they may ask you a security question only you know the answer to, such as which elementary school you went to.

In any case, most types of 2FA work to block cybercriminals from accessing your account since they either don’t have your phone or your personal information.

Have Good Antivirus Software

If you’ve set up a network at your office, then you’ve most likely set up a firewall. This is what monitors incoming and outgoing traffic so there’s no free flow of data.

The other thing you need is antivirus software. There are plenty of free ones out there, but we’d advise against using those. You get what you pay for, and considering the costs to recover from data breaches, you don’t want to risk it at all.

Do some research to determine which paid antivirus software is best for your company and get coverage for every device. Not only does this include desktop computers and laptops, but also tablets and smartphones. Technology’s gotten advanced enough that tablets and smartphones are like mini-computers, which means they’ll be more prone to infection.

Keep Your Firewall and Antivirus Updated

It’s tempting to keep postponing updates when they pop up, especially if you’re busy at the moment. But there are updates for a reason—hackers continually find ways to circumvent the latest in cybersecurity, so updates and patches are created to fill those holes.

The longer you let time lapse between updates and patches, the more likely your device will be breached. Make sure to install these as soon as you can to get the best protection for your device and network.

Have Regular Cybersecurity Training

A very vital part of cybersecurity is your employees. If they’re properly trained to recognize the signs of phishing and other hacker activities, you won’t even need an antivirus program (this is an exaggeration; never disable your antivirus, even if you’re confident in your workers’ abilities).

Consider them as your first line of defense. If they ignore malicious emails and content, then those files won’t even be delivered to your system; your antivirus and firewall won’t have to do any work. In this case, the programs would be your second line of defense.

If you have a digital security officer on your team, they could share their knowledge and expertise with your workforce. Regular meetings to inform your office of the latest scams and phishing tactics could be highly beneficial.

Not only that, but security officers can also administer mock phishing tests. This will give you a good idea of how well your employees can recognize signs and your security officer can tailor meetings to address particular cybersecurity weaknesses.

Back up All Company Data

If you only have one copy of all your company data, it could mean the end of your business if you suffer data loss. This is true no matter if it’s from a cybercriminal or from natural disasters.

Make sure you use the 3-2-1 data backup rule: have 3 copies of your data, back them up on 2 different media, and make sure 1 is off-site. If you follow this guideline, you’ll always have backup data available, no matter what happens.

This is very useful should you run into ransomware. This type of malware operates on the idea that you only have one copy of your data, so the hacker has all the power.

But if you’ve followed the 3-2-1 data backup rule, you should be perfectly fine. If you get infected with ransomware, all you have to do is wipe your device and restore the most recent backup files.

Read more tips to upgrade your cybersecurity even further.

Know How to Secure a Network

By knowing how to secure a network, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and pain in the future. So take some time now to properly install software and train your employees. Keep up with it, and you’ll see it pay off for years to come, especially when your company’s safe while others are toppled due to costs from data breaches.

For more business resources, please check out our other blog articles.