If your own personal boogeyman looks like a hacker, you’re not the only one. As cybercrime continues to generate news headlines, smart businesses are taking more precautions than ever to safeguard their data against potentially devastating security threats.
The good news is that hacking is getting harder. Software and hardware security is improving, which means hackers have to look for alternate methods to access the network. Now they’re counting on network professionals to miss something and let them slip in unnoticed.
Have you done your due diligence to keep them out?
Whether you’ve set up various layers of security measures to ward off hackers (or just the bare minimum), read on to learn steps you can take to proactively monitor and secure your business network against threats.
Be aware of business network security threats
The Identify Theft Resource Center reports that there have been 717 data breaches in 2015, exposing over 176 million records—the largest percentage of which are healthcare or medical records. (See the full report here.) So how did they happen?
While external threats tend to get the most airtime, internal vulnerabilities are just as big of a problem. Here are some of the most common types of business network security threats, both internal and external, that can lead to data breaches:
- Cyberattack using botnets
- Denial-of-service (DoS) attack
- Malicious spam emails
- Spyware & Adware
- Vengeful or malicious employee intent
- Unauthorized downloads and media streaming
- Unsecured devices
- Missing security patches
How to secure your business network
Take these steps to secure your business network.
1. Keep your security software up-to-date
An intrusion prevention systems (IPS), also known as an intrusion detection and prevention system (IDS/IPS) can report on suspicious activity and help identify threats. Keeping this software up-to-date may seem obvious, but without running the newest version, you’re exposing yourself to potential security holes.
2. Invest in secure equipment
Many devices from Cisco, HP, and other leading vendors build intrusion prevention detection right into their devices so you don’t have to invest in a separate solution.
They also deliver frequent patches and device updates when security holes surface—and just as in #1, getting these is imperative.
3. Configure your devices in the most secure format possible
It’s second-nature to an IT professional to configure network devices in a way that prevents holes and keeps the network locked down.
But as you know, not every network can be configured in this way. Sometimes you have to open holes for a short or even extended timeframe, like if you’re a managed service provider (MSP) who needs access to client networks or a vendor or consultant who needs to allow clients’ VPN access. In these cases, it’s important to watch the tunnel, ensure both parties know the timeline for the network to be open, and monitor all access during that timeframe.
4. Enforce your BYOD policy
All a hacker needs is one unsecured device that’s connecting to network in order to get in. Make sure you’re monitoring every device within your network that has an IP address, company-issued and not. There are also software solutions you can use that will manage all your outside devices and wipe all business-critical information on those devices should an employee end up leaving the company.
5. Leverage network monitoring software’s capabilities
Prevention starts with big-picture understanding. Network monitoring helps you know what “normal” traffic looks like, any suspicious spikes will stand out. Used alongside other security measures, network monitoring software gives added visibility into traffic flowing across all of your network devices. You can even set up text or email alerts to notify you when bandwidth is exceeded on particular devices.
Plus, finding a solution that can monitor non-standard devices will help you keep an eye on any lone device a hacker might target. That way, everything from security cameras to BYOD devices are mapped and tracked so if traffic levels rise, you’ll see it and can take the appropriate next steps.
With the right security measures in place, you can ward off threats and keep your network information safe.