Cybersecurity threats are real. They are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales, widespread identity theft, corruption and dismantling of networks, and the erosion of public trust. Companies invest huge amounts of time and resources in securing their networks from these real and present dangers. The modern-day business relies on data sharing among stakeholders internally and externally.
Wi-Fi connectivity, network connections, access to servers, and a veritable host of configuration protocols come into play. The risks of inaction vis-a-vis maintaining network security at your organization are far too great to be ignored. Fortunately, there is a myriad of useful tips, tricks, and resources that can be deployed to bolster your network security to make it as safe, secure, and functional as possible.
- Configure File Sharing Options & DHCP
File sharing should never be enabled on all devices that are connected to your company’s Wi-Fi network. If you do this, any user on the network will be able to infiltrate your files. File sharing should be restricted to file servers only. DHCP, or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocols, determines the IP addresses that all IoT (Internet of Things) devices on your network will have. This is the most efficient way to run a Wi-Fi network. It’s always best to restrict the number of IP addresses that are assigned, or you may simply wish to disable this function in totality (and assign manually).
- Define your Security Policy
One way of avoiding cybersecurity threats is the promotion of greater awareness in terms of cybersecurity practices, procedures, and protocols. To get there, a clearly-defined security policy is mandatory. Everyone in the company needs to know precisely what actions need to be taken to maintain network security, and which actions need to be avoided. This includes best practice methodology for storing usernames and passwords, devices, email, and chat functionality, and various encryption protocols. Employees should be apprised of the risks of not maintaining the security protocol and the ramifications which may result from that.
- Antivirus Software, Firewalls, and Always-on VPNs
It goes without saying that network security is impossible without implementing top-tier antivirus software, firewalls, and virtual private networks (VPNs). Antivirus software needs to be up-to-date at all times. If the software is not updated, malware, adware, Trojans, and viruses could sneak through the loopholes and corrupt the entire network. Employees can become actively engaged in the process of ensuring the integrity of antivirus systems by reporting any suspicious activity on work-related devices such as slow loading times, redirects, hijacked pages, adware and the like.
These can all undermine the performance of a network and ultimately compromise the organisation too. Hackers are adept at finding ways into a network, stealing information, corrupting systems, and ultimately wreaking havoc for customers. Security barriers like firewalls can prevent infiltration into computer networks, and traditional VPNs can effectively cloak the IP address of each and every company IT device from prying eyes over the Internet. An even better option is that of the always-on VPN alternative for enterprise-level network security. This nextgen-style cloud-based service provides unrivalled security access and cloud-based web security within the ambit of a user-friendly experience. All of these resources can certainly form a bulwark against bad actors.
- Implement Business Continuity Legacy Systems and Disaster-Recovery Programs
Downtime can have a devastating impact on business profitability. That’s why, it’s important that a business understands precisely how to manage an outage, and recover from such events when they do occur. Estimates suggest that a single hour of downtime can cost a company up to $700,000 on average, and a small business $8000. These types of numbers are significant, and they can cripple a company’s profitability. That’s why it is vital to have a business continuity plan in place and disaster-recovery programs to protect a business from the impact of severe disruption.
- Implement A Watertight Password Policy
Business professionals understand that passwords are veritable keys to the most closely guarded secrets of a company. A watertight password policy is sacrosanct. Effective password practices must be implemented, and stakeholders must adhere to these requirements. This includes the minimum character count, the use of random symbols, upper-and-lowercase letters, etc. Additionally, no password hints should be permitted.
It is always advisable to have a limit on the number of consecutive incorrect password attempts that can be made. If, for example, 3+ attempts are made, the system should have a lockout period and require access from a higher-level manager to re-assign an entry to the network. Other popular options currently available include 2-factor authentication on PC, Mac, or mobile, or simple Google authenticator apps for verification purposes. Passphrases should always include special characters that are impossibly difficult to crack.
If implemented in their entirety, jointly and severally, these network security tips, tricks, and resources can substantially improve the security of your network and prevent internal or external hacking of your systems. There are a few golden rules that must be maintained at all times, notably maintaining correctly updated software. Safeguarding the company Wi-Fi is an absolute priority, and keeping employees educated about the merits of secure company networks is always going to have an outsized impact on operations.