Concerns over network security have long since migrated from the IT department to the boardroom in many companies of all sizes and sectors.
A 2015 report jointly published by NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) and Veracode showed that, of 200 directors interviewed, 80% said that cyber-security was a key agenda point for their business. More concerning perhaps, was that 66% suggested a lack of confidence that their networks had adequate protection.Security breaches to your IT network are costly. A Direct Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack can cost a company upwards of £100,000 per hour while any breach that causes any kind of downtime is going to hit the bottom line. Not to mention the potential cost and legal ramifications attached to sensitive data loss. Or the potentially fatal wounding in your brand’s reputation.
And, while it’s extremely difficult to prevent an attack on your business’ network, it is imperative that you take measures to offer suitable protection and minimise harm.
Here are 5 steps that can make a crucial difference to the security of your IT network.
Secure access points
Access points to the network can be particularly vulnerable spots when it comes to security. As networks are accessed more frequently, using encryption to block data from view can be an effective way of ensuring its content is kept from unscrupulous eyes. It can also be considered good practice to ensure that the really sensitive data remains accessible only via central computer systems, where possible. With this data being protected from access via secure password access.
You can protect against unwittingly letting malware onto the network via email or external devices (such as a USB stick) by ensuring scans take place before documents are opened or images appear.
Of course, passwords themselves can be a point of vulnerability. If an employee lets slip a password, or if it can be easily hacked, then data on the network is at risk. Your pet’s name and the number 1 at the end really won’t cut it in today’s sophisticated environment. Obscure combinations of letters, numbers and symbols offer much more secure protection. And, should that fall into the wrong hands, a secondary stage in the process – maybe an SMS reminder to an independent device, for example – can deliver another layer of protection.
Robust Network User Policies
Everyone in the company shares a responsibility to ensure the network remains protected. So a strong policy on appropriate use and access can help. As well as ensuring employees are using strong passwords, the policy can also put into black and white issues that we might consider common sense, but pose a risk if overlooked. Such as opening email attachments from unknown sources. Or controlling user access to data – so that users can only see what is relevant to their work.
Professional-grade security software
As mentioned above, there is no 100% guarantee against a security breach. But utilising the best levels of security software and ensuring they are regularly kept up-to-date is as good a way to ensure high-security as you can find. Professional grade security software can deliver a multi-layered level of security across your network. Including anti-malware protection & frequent scans, email attachment and document scanning, firewalls or even some form of biometric detection for user access.
Attacks happen and sometimes even the most robust systems will be hit. As part of your overall strategy, having a contingency in place to minimise the effects is therefore vital. Backing up and using secure, enterprise-level cloud services protects your data against loss at points when your system goes down.