Network Vulnerabilities: How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Threats

Nobody is safe from cyber threats. Corporations, police departments, and even the White House website have been victims of hackers and other cybercrimes. Small businesses need to worry just as much, if not more, about their technology security. Network and data breaches can totally ruin companies in certain circumstances. Luckily, organizations can minimize the risk to their networks by employing the following tips.

Network Based

Content from the internet is channeled through a web server. Install firewall software on your web server that can drop suspicious packets before they reach internal servers. The web server should be monitored so you know where to block traffic. Distribute a list of contact numbers for your ISP's support or management team (or whatever contact number was supplied for emergencies) and contact them immediately when external threats are detected.

For Hosting Servers

Ensure that HTTP and TCP sessions time out after a reasonable period. If under attack, you want to significantly reduce these intervals. Install additional host-based firewall software that prevents HTTP threads from spawning new packets.

Keep Software Up-to-Date

In the case of all firewall, anti-virus, anti-malware, and other protection, these programs are only as relevant as their latest updates. Be sure to apply all vendor patches and upgrades as soon as they become available, as these are likely engineered to deal with the latest new threats.

Have a Mobile Device Policy

Many smaller businesses today, having a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach saves on paying for mobile devices, while offering employees some flexibility regarding software solutions. However, some of these third party apps could also conceal security threats. Take steps to ensure that these apps are scanned for malware and cleared by your IT team before use.

Protect Customers

Every business deals with and stores customer data. It's critical that it be protected. Hackers making off with files full of user names and addresses, payment information, and credit card or Social Security numbers will erode public trust and customer loyalty. It could also represent liability for legal and regulatory purposes. Make sure all sensitive data is stored in separate, encrypted tables. Be sure to use all the security recommendations that Visa, MasterCard, or other payment processors require.

Backup Your Drives

This means not just customer or transaction data, but all the information you can. In the event of catastrophe, you want to restore data and recover systems as quickly as possible, so you should have ready backups of system and application files as well. Data can be backed up through cloud services, backup and restore software, application backup options, and more. Backing up to local storage will be faster, but in the event of a natural disaster, could be lost. Most backup policies include both on and off-site data backups.

All security policies should include additional proactive measures, such as educating employees on security awareness, risky emails and downloads, and company procedures to mitigate these risks. Policies should exist regarding use, creation, and regular changing of passwords. Educating employees on security risks and encouraging them to work closely with IT staff is the best single measure you can take toward protecting your network.


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