With technology now sewn in the fabric of everyday life whether its personal or business, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your business network is as secure as it can be and less available to infiltrators who want to steal your data.
As new technology is released and existing systems evolve and develop, as well as GDPR now in play, we understand how any breach in your network can have devastating consequences whether it comes from hacking, malicious software or data theft. In this blog post, we’ve put together five useful tips to help secure your network.
1. Use strong passwords
Creating strong passwords may seem like a task that is quite daunting, especially when It is recommended that you have a different password for every online service and website you use. However, using a strong password should be the first line of defence when securing your network.
In 2017, it was reported by TechRepublic that 19% of business passwords were considered to be weak and ‘easily compromised’. Alongside this, 7% of enterprise users use a password that is extremely weak, for example ‘12345’ or ‘password’ and 13% of business professionals use passwords that they share with other users, teams and different accounts.
Using strong passwords that have a combination of upper and lower-case letters as well as numbers and symbols are harder to crack. For example, an 8-character password with upper and lower-case letters, and includes numbers and symbols has 457,163,239,653,376 possible combinations.
We recommend two-factor authentication which provides an extra layer of security that is designed to ensure that you’re the only person who can access your account, even if someone knows your password. Two-factor authentication makes it harder for a hacker to access devices and online accounts because knowing the victim’s password alone isn’t enough to gain access.
Authentication factors include knowledge factors which is something that the user knows such as a password, PIN or shared secret. Possession factors include something that the user has such as a smartphone, security token or an ID card and an inheritance factor, or biometrics, which include personal attributes from physical characteristics such as fingerprints or facial recognition.
Multifactor authentication requires two or more of these important credentials for more secure transactions, however, using two factors from the same category doesn’t constitute two-factor authentication.
2. Encrypt data and devices
Entering a time of the convenience of widespread connectivity, including the Cloud, businesses are more at risk than ever of being hacked. Data can and does fall into the wrong hands and the consequences can be destructive. Laptops and smartphones now possess features that can encrypt data, with the iPhone using the same 256-AES standard encryption as the US Military which is both speedy to apply and almost impossible to crack.
High-profile breaches and Ransomware attacks have kept businesses constantly on their toes and encrypting your data uses computers and algorithms to turn plain text into an unreadable, jumbled code, where the sender must send the recipient of the data a decryption key in order for the data to be unscrambled and readable.
Microsoft Enterprise Mobility & Security (EM+S) is a powerful tool that supports modern workstyles and is able to remotely encrypt and remove data from workplace devices in the event they are lost or stolen.
3. Keep software up to date
Due to busy schedules, it may be tempting to tell your computer to ‘remind you later’ about a software update however software updates often contain important patches that have been developed in light of recent threats, by not updating your software straight away you can compromise their security measures.
Hackers and cyber criminals are more active than ever, and older software will continue to have the same bugs and holes that enable these individuals use these entry points that have generally been made public. Installing these updates ensures that your software continues to run safely and efficiently.
4. Download genuine software
If you haven’t done so already, you should make it company policy to prohibit downloads of insecure software non-genuine software opens the door to cyber criminals and can lead to your network being infected with a variety of Malware including Viruses, Trojan Horses, Ransomware, Spyware and more. An example of this could be a file converter that’s been downloaded from the internet.
A study commissioned by Microsoft found that out of 165 CD and DVD samples, 61% carried Malware and 100% of websites that host links to pirated software exposed users to multiple security risks. We strongly recommend you only download software from a genuine supplier, that way, the software is safe and secure. It will also be regularly updated to maintain its security levels.
5. Printer security
Have you ever thought that the humble office printer could pose a security risk? Like many other devices, printers have evolved hugely over the past few years becoming smarter and able to perform more and more functions. Yet, this piece of increasingly vulnerable office equipment often gets less security attention or protection than other devices that access the network.
Specifically, a compromised printer linked to a network as a source can be used to attack other applications, execute malicious code or attack other systems including launching a denial-of-service attack on the printer or your business network. Protecting a printer isn’t much different from protecting any other device on the network, beginning with basic steps such as making sure that the printer is secure and installing patch updates via the printer’s operating system.
What products can I use to keep my network safe?
Firewalls are an important aspect of any business networks security setup. Firewalls help secure your network from threats and cyber criminals by filtering who or what can access your network from the outside. We recommend WatchGuard Firewall, which protect a wide range of business sizes and needs. When setup and activated properly, WatchGuard Firewalls can also assist with GDPR Compliance.
We offer a fully managed and cost-effective Cloud, hybrid and online Disaster Recovery & Backup Service that’s designed to safeguard your data with minimum impact in the event of data loss, fire or theft at a highly secure data centre based in the UK. The Disaster Recovery & Backup service restores your IT Operations in minutes and there’s also 24-hour Support so we’re on hand to help when you need us the most.