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10 Network Security Best Practices for Businesses

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Learn Which Cybersecurity Services Help Safeguard Your Organization

Cybersecurity is no longer a luxury reserved for companies housing stockpiles of sensitive data or government agencies; it’s practically a necessity for any business that wants to protect itself against today’s modern digital threats. One piece of malware or a successful phishing scam is all it takes to compromise an entire network.

Perhaps the biggest mistake business owners make is being cavalier about security. According to Statista, over 353 million people in the U.S. were impacted by data compromises in 2023. Statista also reports that the average cost of a data breach is approximately $9.5 million; this figure has increased year-over-year since 2014.

To help you avoid becoming another statistic in the cybercrime loss column, a robust system of IT security measures is the best preventative strategy. Keep reading to learn about best practices for cybersecurity in business that will help safeguard your network.

Cybersecurity Services and IT Security Best Practices

Enhancing your network’s security can be broken down into two types of tactics: cybersecurity services and behavioral modifications that support IT security. Use the following tips to enhance your security measures and reduce your risk to cyber threats.

Implement Strong Access Controls

Access control ensures that only authorized users have access to your network and restricts them from resources that aren’t necessary for their roles. Many networks require usernames and passwords, PINs, security tokens, and multifactor authentication to confirm the identity of individuals attempting to access company files and data.

Regularly Update and Patch Systems

Software vulnerabilities are a common entry point for cyberattacks. Business owners can close these IT security gaps by regularly updating and patching operating systems, applications, and network security tools. Automate the patch management process whenever possible to ensure timely application of critical updates.

Use Advanced Firewall and Intrusion Detection Systems

Firewalls act as a barrier between your network and untrusted external networks, while intrusion detection systems (IDS) monitor network traffic for suspicious activity and policy violations. Deploying next-generation firewalls and IDS helps detect and block malicious traffic, unauthorized access attempts, and other common cyber threats.

Secure Wireless Networks

Wireless networks are particularly vulnerable to attacks, especially if the public can connect to them. As a cybersecurity best practice, never use the same Wi-Fi network for business and public use; implement a separate guest network to limit access to internal resources. Secure your business Wi-Fi network with strong encryption protocols and regularly change the Wi-Fi password. This prevents disgruntled employees from accessing networks using old login credentials.

Employ Endpoint Protection

Endpoints are any device that connects to your network, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. They are often targeted by cybercriminals to gain unauthorized network access. Business owners can prevent this by employing endpoint protection solutions that offer antivirus, anti-malware, and personal firewall features. Regularly scanning endpoints for vulnerabilities and confirming that IT security software is up to date are critical steps in safeguarding your network.

Encrypt Sensitive Data

All organizations should encrypt their data, as it makes it significantly more difficult for unauthorized parties to access or make sense of intercepted data. In the event of a breach or a lost laptop that winds up in the wrong hands, data encryption will protect your organization’s sensitive information. Microsoft BitLocker and Apple FileVault are two types of built-in encryption programs small business owners can explore.

Educate and Train Employees

According to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, approximately three out of every four data breaches are directly tied to human error. When employees aren’t up to speed on how to identify a phishing scam or the types of email attachments they shouldn’t download, it can spell big trouble for an organization, no matter how many cybersecurity services it has in place.

Businesses can reduce the risk of human error by conducting regular training sessions that educate employees about the latest cyber threats, phishing tactics, and safe internet practices. By encouraging a culture of IT security awareness, employees will be better equipped to identify potential risks on their own.

Perform Regular Security Audits and Assessments

Cybersecurity for businesses is not a “set it and forget it” type of affair. As cyberthreats and technology evolve, IT security must evolve accordingly. Conducting regular security audits and vulnerability assessments can help identify weaknesses in your network security before they are exploited. These evaluations should inform your ongoing security strategy and help prioritize areas for improvement.

Develop and Test an Incident Response Plan

Planning for a worst-case scenario is a major component of any robust IT security strategy.

Despite all cybersecurity precautions, breaches can still occur. Having a well-developed incident response plan allows you to react quickly and effectively, minimizing damage and company downtime. Regularly test and update your response plan to ensure it addresses current threats and organizational changes.

Explore Professional Managed IT Services

Some business owners may not have the time, the inclination, or the knowledge to manage their own IT security, making them an easy target for cybercriminals. Circumvent this problem with delegation. By hiring a managed IT service provider, business owners put their network’s security in the hands of professionals. A basic suite of cybersecurity services can dramatically improve your defenses, so it’s well worth exploring.

How to Secure Cybersecurity Services for Your Business

Protecting an organization from cyber threats requires a multifaceted approach and an ongoing commitment to network security best practices. By implementing the measures discussed here, organizations can significantly enhance their resilience against hackers and malicious actors, safeguarding their data, reputation, and the trust of their customers and stakeholders.

Organizations that want professional-grade IT security should contact a managed IT service provider. After a brief consultation that assesses your network, they will recommend relevant cybersecurity measures to protect your business. Business owners can tailor their IT services to address specific concerns, including compliance risks, disaster-related data loss, and employee education.

May 15, 2024