How to Secure a Small Business Network

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By Bill Minahan   |   October 3, 2019   |   0 Comments

Network Security for Small Businesses

If you’re wondering how to secure a small business network, you’ve landed in the right place.

Today, small businesses are beginning to include network security as a part of their overall business strategies.

how to secure a small business network

However, network security is still not a priority for many small businesses. This makes them the perfect target.

Network security should be a priority. Half of all cyber attacks target small businesses because they know their networks are vulnerable.

50% of small businesses have had a security breach in the last year.

Here are 5 easy, quick, and affordable tips on how to secure your small business network.

  • Conduct a Network Security Assessment

A network assessment sounds big and scary but it’s not. Before you start securing your network, you need to find out where it stands. A network assessment simply scans your network and identifies any vulnerabilities and security issues.

Your security vulnerabilities can be as simple as updating your software. Updating your software is an extremely important part of securing your network. Outdated software is dangerous to have on your devices. Cyber criminals have already publicly exploited loopholes in old software—which can leave a nice unlocked door in your network for cyber criminals to walk into.

Network scans are easy, quick, and affordable—make sure to find a company that offers it with zero strings attached. You shouldn’t have to enter your credit card number or any network credentials.

aNetworks provides business owners of any size a free network assessment and a complimentary report of security recommendations from our experts. All you need to submit is your email address.

Free Network Security Scan

If you already know where your network stands, then read on for some simple steps to ensure your network’s security.

  • Cyber Awareness Training for Employees

This should be the first step for small businesses trying to secure their network. Most cyber attacks happen because of human error. But most human error happens because employees aren’t properly trained.

New employees are especially susceptible to social engineering and phishing attacks. However, no one is immune. From interns to CEOs, employees across the board have fallen victim to cyber attacks.

Just like you wouldn’t let your employees drive your car without driver’s ED and a license, you shouldn’t let your employees into your network without security awareness training.

Cyber security awareness training should cover basic and sophisticated security threats, teach employees and staff what to look out for, and test them in real scenarios.

For instance, aNetworks cyber awareness training tests employees directly by sending spoof emails to their work inbox. If they click, it’s reported. That way, small businesses know which employees are learning and which ones need more training.

If your employees are repeatedly putting you at risk, then you should know about it.

It’s one thing to read about security policies, but another to be held accountable for following them. It creates an incentive to take network security seriously.

  • Enforce Safe Password Policies

Your password is your network’s first security defense. Strong passwords are essential to securing your network. Unfortunately, 80% of all breaches happen because of a weak or stolen password.

Essentially, a strong password policy comes down to two main practices.

The first one is the individual strength of the letters and numbers that make up a password. In a nutshell, strong passwords should be long, use special characters, and be changed regularly. A strong password should NEVER be reused.

Read all the characteristics of a strong password here.

The second practice of password safety and the most important is multifactor authentication (MFA). Whenever you get the chance to use multifactor authentication, you can and should. It adds a second layer of defense to employee’s passwords. If they’re compromised, which they are more and more, the hacker can’t access your network with the password alone.

Today, MFA is free, easy, and one of the best ways to secure your network. So, really, there’s no excuse not to use it.

Read more about how multifactor authentication protects you here.

  • Use a Firewall and ISP (Intrusion Software Program)

A properly configured firewall is an important aspect of securing any network. Every business should have a firewall protecting the primary entry point to their business network.

Usually, most routers include firewall functionality, so most small businesses already have them. However, scan your network to ensure you’ve got a firewall.

Intrusion Software Program (ISP) is a security technology that goes beyond monitoring your network ports. It monitors the traffic flows to protect and prevent vulnerability exploits.

ISP actively analyzes data and scans traffic in real-time. It reports any oddities and sends an alarm to the network administrator. It can automatically send alerts and respond to any detection of malicious or abnormal activity.

Firewalls and ISP are affordable security features that keep your network safe.

However, if all else fails, this last step should be taken very seriously.

  • Back up your data

Every small business should back up all data regularly. You should back up all databases, financial files, electronic spreadsheets, word processing documents, as well as all the information stored in the cloud.

All the cyber security precautions in the world can’t protect your network and data from a fire or flood.

Your data should be backed up off-site and stored in a separate location. If a severe ransomware attack, power surge, or other disaster were to occur, you could lose everything if it’s all in one place.

aNetworks backs up data for companies regularly to ensure its protection in the event of any cyber or physical emergency.

Learning how to secure your network as a small business can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Following basic security steps and implementing security features can mitigate the risk of cyber threats and better secure your network.

If you’re tired of searching the internet for security answers, aNetworks offers a free cyber security consult. You ask our experts all your questions and they answer them.

Ask the experts