Cyber Security

5 tips for better business network security

2nd Sep 2023 | 6 min read

5 tips for better business network security

With technology now sewn in the fabric of everyday life – in both personal and business settings – it’s more important than ever to be careful. You need to make sure that your business network is as secure as it can be and less vulnerable to infiltrators who want to steal your data.

The rise of GDPR and data, means any breach in your network can have devastating consequences whether it comes from hacking, malicious software or data theft. The increase of technology such as AI has also given cyber criminals increased tools to target businesses at scale.

However, they are still some simple tips you can take to improve your business network security. We’ve listed our top five.

1. Use strong passwords

Creating strong passwords can seem daunting, especially when it’s recommended that you have a different password for every online service and website you use. In the digital age, that amounts to a lot of passwords to remember.

However, using a strong password should still be the first line of defence when securing your network.

Weak passwords are a leading cause of cyber breaches, usually due to users not following best practice. That includes people using passwords with the word ‘password’ in them (yes, really).

On top of this, many people admit to sharing password with other people within their organisation, increasing the risk further.

Use 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 to provide an extra layer of security. It’s designed to ensure that you’re the only person who can access your account, even if someone knows your password.

Two-factor authentication also 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 might include knowledge factors – 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. An inheritance factor, or biometrics, includes 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. It’s worth noting, however, that using two factors from the same category doesn’t constitute two-factor authentication.

2. Encrypt data and devices

There’s now the convenience of widespread connectivity, thanks to the cloud. But it means businesses are more at risk of being hacked High-profile breaches and ransomware attacks have kept businesses constantly on their toes.

Laptops and smartphones now possess features that 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.

Encrypting your data uses computers and algorithms to turn plain text into an unreadable, jumbled code, where the sender must send the recipient 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 can remotely encrypt and remove data from workplace devices if they are lost or stolen.

3. Keep software up to date

If you’re busy, it’s tempting to tell your computer to ‘remind you later’ about a software update.

However, software updates often contain important patches that drive your business network security. In some cases, they’ll specifically be designed to protect against recent threats. So, by not updating your software straight away, you can compromise security.

Hackers and cyber criminals are more active than ever, and older software will continue to have bugs and holes that give them access to your data. 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, where you know it’s safe and secure. It will also be regularly updated to maintain its security levels.

This also stands for mobile devices, which are particularly at risk of malware.

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. Yet, they often get 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. This might include 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. Make sure that the printer is secure and install patch updates via the printer’s operating system to keep yourself protected.

What products can I use to improve business network security?

There are some great products out there to keep your network safe.

Firewalls are an important aspect of any business network security setup. Firewalls help secure your network from threats and cyber criminals by filtering who or what can access your network from the outside.

It’s also worth looking into AI-tools that can help you better manage risk and fight against negative AI-powered attacks.

If you aren’t sure how to protect your network or what products to use, it’s worth partnering with an external IT expert.

At Infinity Group, we offer a fully managed and cost-effective cloud, hybrid and online Disaster Recovery service. It’s designed to safeguard your network 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 service restores your IT operations in minutes.

There’s also 24-hour support so we’re on hand to help when you need us the most.

Infinity Group are IT security and GDPR specialists. If you want to find out more about the latest IT security and GDPR compliance we provide, please get in touch.

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