The web we create with the introduction of newer, better technology is a tangled one. In a business setting, we not only have internal servers, but we operate on the cloud as well. We have BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) work environments where our staff are using their mobile phones and personal devices to conduct business on our behalf. We have wireless routers powering all of our office equipment, and all of our employees personal tech as well. All of this interconnectedness increases our efficiency and decreases the time it takes to get tasks done. It also opens us up to a world of network security risks like we’ve never faced before.
We’ve shared with you several of the recent national security breaches. Now we’d like to share with you 5 best practices for staying ahead of the constantly evolving threat of network invasion.
- Install and Maintain your Firewall. The Firewall is the keystone of network defense for a decade or more and is still required for solid foundational security. Its job is still fairly simplistic; control what data flows can go where. Without firewalls in place to drop unwanted flows, your job of protecting your assets increases exponentially. Firewalls need to be present at your external perimeters but also inside of your network for secure segmentation of data.*
- Monitor Applications with Access to Data. Applications are great. They give your business the tools it needs to function and be productive. But they also put your sensitive data at risk. When IT security attempts to protect critical information, it usually involves putting up firewalls and building your infrastructure around the data you want to protect. Then you give applications access to this data. When hackers look to steal your data, they won’t try to hammer their way through your firewall, they’ll look for the least secure system with access to the data they need.**
- Maintain your Security Patches. Cyber-criminals are focused solely on seeking out vulnerabilities and finding new ways to access your network. The companies that make your security software send out regular updates to their software to address the new threats before they get to you. Your network is only secure as the last update you made. To keep your network protected, be sure you are up to date on all patches.
- Educate and Train your Users. The humans on your network are your biggest security weakness. This risk can only be managed if you properly inform them of the appropriate way to use the network and how to be aware of threats. This teaching should include how to write strong passwords, how to detect a SPAM email, and how to protect company data if they need to take it from the building. Also give new hires concise instructions on security policies as soon as you bring them on board.
- Have a Disaster Recovery Plan ready. If all else fails and you experience a breach or data loss, a disaster recovery plan is crucial. It needs to be thorough and precise. It is a guide to getting your systems back online and getting business operations back to normal. It also needs to be accessible to more than the person who wrote it.
While all of these can help keep your network secure, sometimes you need a trusted partner to help keep an eye on your most valuable resource, your network and the data that travels through it. Great Lakes Computer can worry about protecting your network so you don’t have to.