Network and Data Security
Network security is a set of principles and practices designed to ensure the security of network traffic and to prevent unauthorized access, misuse, modification, or denial of network accessible resources.
Data security is a set of principles and practices designed to prevent unauthorized modification, destruction or disclosure of digital data.
Why is network and data security important for small businesses?
The effects of network and data attacks can be particularly devastating for a small business. Network and data attacks can come in many forms, including but not limited to: malware and denial of service attacks.
Malware can incapacitate your network in a couple of ways such as replicating and spreading itself across a network, thus consuming valuable bandwidth and slowing the system down, or by installing backdoors for later use by the attacker.
DDoS attacks are another popular method that can result in data loss, corruption of important business mechanics, as well as the slowing down (or potentially stopping of) overall network function. This is why it is so important for small businesses to take proper preventative measures against network attacks, as well as have plans in place to mitigate the attacks in the event they do occur.
List of best practices
- Firewalls protect your computer from internet attacks from hackers in addition to threats such as malware. A firewall is an essential part of a business, as it protects your data and intellectual property. Some best practices include document rules and using comments to explain their use, alerting admins and users to upcoming changes, and starting with “deny all” before adding exceptions. You should also regularly review the firewall rules and eliminate the unused ones.
- Learn how to Manage a Firewall
- Wireless networks make it incredibly easy to connect to the internet from your mobile devices without having to deal with pesky wires. Despite its convenience, there are some drawbacks to wireless networks, including the ability of others to easily access your Wi-Fi. Enabling encryption is as simple as turning on the use the strongest possible WiFi security protocol WPA2 or WPA3. Make sure to create a guest network and never share your corporate network credentials with the guests.
- Learn more about Wireless Security
Encryption (At Rest)
- Encryption protects the sensitive data of your company by making the contents of a disk or files unreadable without a special key. When used properly, it is impossible to access your important data without decryption. To make full use of encryption, implement a policy where you encrypt all crucial files before saving them. You can choose to do so on a file-by-file basis or via disk, folders or USB drives. Encryption is particularly crucial for any business using cloud storage.
- Learn more about Encryption (At Rest)
Encryption (In Motion)
Secure your Network Devices
- One of the first things a hacker check is whether the default account and password are enabled on networked devices. To reduce the risk of security breaches through default credentials which have been left configured on network devices, it’s best to implement a process to change the passwords when new equipment is installed.
- Learn how to Secure your Network Devices
- Backups are the additional copies of your company’s crucial information, and they are there to help you if you should experience a crashed computer, a natural disaster that damages your equipment, a hacker breaking into your system, or another type of equipment failure. Best practices involve making backups of all important files at least once per week, if not more often. Additionally, you should log user activity that edits these backups.
- Learn how to create a Backup Policy
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- A VPN, or virtual private network, is a private, secure solution within the greater internet. Essentially, it gives you the security of a private network within your business to optimize privacy. As a business, you can use a VPN to connect with a remote data center or just to ensure all data is encrypted and secured. In terms of best practices, opt for good authentication processes that involve secure passwords and two-factor authentication, as outsider access to the network nullifies its security benefits.
- Learn more about Virtual Private Networks