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7 Network Security Tips that Small Businesses Should Implement NOW!

7 Network Security Tips that Small Businesses Should Implement NOW!

Network security attacks are on the rise, and the most common targets are small businesses that do not implement the right cybersecurity measures. Although digitization had opened several avenues, you need to safeguard your business environment with the right security essentials.

Unfortunately, business owners don’t realize the significance of cybersecurity until it’s too late, and that’s the reason why almost half of all cybercrimes are committed against small businesses. Since most of this occurs due to network-related issues, we decided to discuss how small businesses can strengthen their network security, so let’s get started.

1. Firewall to Block Out Malware

Many small business owners presume that Firewalls are essential only for big businesses, but that cannot be farther from the truth. Every business needs this security tool to monitor traffic and prevent actions that can cause damage to their IT infrastructure.

Types of Malware

The Firewalls come in handy because they allow the administrator to perform predefined actions such as preventing the outflow of data, restricting incoming .exe files, reporting anomalies, and several other functions. It is also considered effective in preventing phishing attacks that are highly deceptive and can trick over 97% of users.

Therefore, it is necessary to block out such activities by creating a strong first line of defense from network-related threats. However, once you install the firewall, don’t forget to update it periodically so that it can protect you from the most recent threats. For best results, make use of both software and hardware firewalls to protect your IT infrastructure.

2. SSL for Better Web Security

Websites operating on the HTTP protocol are insecure because the client’s data and the server are in plain text format. So, when someone intercepts this, they can easily make sense of the data, which could be financial information, passwords, etc. You can prevent this by installing an SSL certificate on the webserver. If you are worried about the cost, try out the Comodo SSL certificates that are pocket-friendly and come from a reputed CA.

Once you install the SSL, it ensures network security by activating the HTTPS protocol, enabling data transfer in encrypted form. So, when third parties intercept the in-transit data, it appears as jumbled text that makes no sense. This is achieved by using public-private key cryptography, ensuring that the data remains accessible only to the intended recipient.

3. Use a VPN to Create a Secure Tunnel

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an affordable security tool that small businesses can use to prevent data theft. This is achieved by concealing the source’s IP address and replacing that with the VPN’s IP to ensure secure data exchange.

This is particularly useful for small businesses which rely on remote employees or contractors to run their business. As those professionals access corporate data from locations that are not under the direct control of the business, a VPN becomes necessary. It facilitates secure exchange and prevents breaches caused due to the carelessness of the employees.

VPN

For example, your marketing analyst could be accessing customer information through public WiFi, which can expose your business to security threats. Therefore, you must make VPN mandatory for anyone accessing corporate data from a remote location.

4. Backup the Data

Your corporate data is precious, and you can be sure that hackers are aware of it. No wonder large businesses are spending millions of dollars on data security. However, if you think you will not be a victim because your business is small, then it’s time to wake up. Hackers target small businesses because they know such businesses do not have the resources to fortify their IT infrastructure like their larger counterparts.

Website security is the action that protect any website’s data

Therefore, backing up data works wonders because then you don’t have to worry about a ransomware attack locking you out. The best way to do this is by automating the backup process and storing the data on a system that is not a part of your IT infrastructure. Also, ensure that no one has access to this system until there is a security breach. Most large businesses have this kind of a mechanism as part of their disaster recovery program, and that is why they function smoothly despite exigencies.

5. Make Use of a Secure Payment Gateway

When you operate a small business, it is always better to integrate a third-party payment gateway and avoid insecure payment methods. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for gateways without proper encryption algorithms. So, an easy way out is to put up with the transaction fee charged by third-party payment gateways like PayPal. You can always cascade the extra charges to your customers by letting them choose from multiple reliable payment methods.

6. Multi-Factor Authentication

Microsoft claims that 99.9% of attacks can be prevented with multi-factor authentication, which usually involves using one memory-based password and another which is time-based. As the time-based OTP is sent to the mobile device or email, this is much more reliable. You can easily implement this secure mode of authentication within your IT infrastructure using Google Authenticator, a free tool offered by Google.

7. Updated OS and Apps

Unpatched vulnerabilities can be fatal for a business and can be easily avoided by delegating the responsibility of updating the operating system and applications to an IT Admin. Even if your employees work remotely from their corporate laptops, the IT admin would be able to install prompt and timely updates.

Final Takeaway

Over the past couple of years, there have been two major changes in how businesses operate. Firstly, few businesses have embraced the remote work culture and now operate with employees scattered across multiple locations. Secondly, consumer behavior has changed, and with an increase in e-commerce, digitization is the key to survival. However, each of the two changes comes with a certain degree of risk which can be averted with the abovementioned network security measures. However, unless you implement it, you might find yourself entangled in regulatory inconsistencies and consumer lawsuits which often follow a security breach.

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