Among the many constant challenges all business owners face, security remains a top priority that affects the quality and success of all other aspects of the company. From on-site security practices, safety precautions, employee training, and onboarding education, all the way to choosing the most trustworthy internet providers, companies need to make sure that their business networks are completely secure. That means protecting all business data, the sensitive information you might be storing regarding your customers, and employee files, as well. All transactions that occur also need to be conducted via safe channels and every single one of them depends on that secure network of yours.
However, with hackers getting more skilled by the day, and constant software updates, you need to make sure that you’re taking all the necessary steps to protect your business network. For starters, let’s go over a few key steps you should include in your security protocols, all of which aim to increase your chances of success in increasing your network security.
Keep up with those software updates
Running a business often means giving your employees equipment which they’ll use exclusively for work, be it a laptop, an office-bound PC, or their phone. In any scenario, using those gadgets means potentially exposing your business to risks if they don’t follow the right protocols of encryption, and if they don’t take good care of their software meant to provide security. For example, malware and virus protection come with most computers you purchase, but you also need to be mindful of the latest updates and upgrades they need.
With that in mind, schedule regular software updates for your staff, and if you have someone who cannot take care of them on their own, regular maintenance with the help of your IT department is another option to ensure optimal security. That means your software should have all the latest security patches and bug fixes that are published regularly so that your computers can function optimally and keep your data safe.
Regulate network access and usage
Most of the time, your equipment is the key focus of all of your security protocols, whereas your employees are in fact the main source of risk for all of your data. Why? Because people don’t always follow the rules or implement best practices when using your business network. To monitor and manage how your employees use your network, you can implement a secure web gateway solution that helps you limit access to unsecure and unwanted websites and minimize data leaks.
Additionally, such a solution grants you an overview of your employees’ behavioral patterns, which will ultimately help you spot negative or security-compromising patterns you can then address and help your employees prevent mishaps. This is particularly useful for businesses that count many employees and continuously hire new staff, making it very difficult to keep track of their knowledge on these safety precautions. That way, in addition to training, you’ll have a solution in place to prevent any unwanted behavior.
Test your network on a regular basis
Although regular system maintenance, software and system updates, and security solutions all work together to ensure a safer business network for your employees, you should also make sure that the network itself is under constant scrutiny. That is the only way you’ll ever know the extent of any network weakness or a leak in your system that needs fixing. To make sure your network is under such tight control, you should schedule and perform regular network audits.
Depending on how often your applications and other software solutions require updates, schedule regular audits that will test the strength of your network’s firewall, your host network, and equipment. Penetration tests might be time-consuming, but they are essential for your business to stay aware of any risks and threats that might come, and prevent them by implementing the right measures.
Educate your employees
In addition to comprehensive web filtering software, your employees need to be able to recognize unwanted behavior on their own and make sure that they are doing everything in their power to keep your network safe and secure. In fact, since your employees are the main source of risk to your business network, keeping them educated, informed, and regularly trained is one of the most pivotal preventative measures any business needs to implement.
For example, educate them on secure password choices and management. Add multi-step authentication for the more sensitive files you store, and teach your employees to utilize password management tools to their advantage. Teach them to follow your company rules on safe data storage, data sharing, file sharing, and collaboration on the cloud. Make sure that your security protocol training is part of your onboarding process, so as to root out any issues from day one.
While you continuously invest in other aspects of your business, make sure that security is an issue you’re addressing on a regular basis, and that you have the needed protocols in place to preserve your business’s integrity. This will help you build a reputation of trustworthiness among your customers as well as employees, and it will help you run a safe business for years to come.