5 Ways to Improve Your Business Network Security in 2024

Date: 19 February 2024

Major cybersecurity incidents across various sectors make news almost every week now. Hundreds of unique instances of malware, cyber attacks, ransomware attacks, data breaches and vulnerabilities come to light daily. For those who are actively tracking these and as a business owner, it can be quite a daunting reality.

With numerous security strategies, frameworks, tools, and techniques available, it often becomes a challenge for IT Managers and leaders to determine which actions should take precedence.

This article will explore the considerations that offer the greatest return on investment when implemented to enhance your company's security.

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5 Techniques to Improve Business Network Security 

Upgrade Your Password Technology

Incorporating password managers in your business gives your users the necessary technology to adopt secure passwords. Password managers aren't just for advanced users or administrators; they're designed for every user.

The demanding standards expected from users can only be achieved with the help of supportive technology. Users can conveniently create unique passwords for each account with access to password managers.

These passwords will be produced by random password generators, resulting in highly intricate and significantly longer passwords than those traditionally used. Using a password manager also ensures that your staff is using different and unique passwords for various accounts/platforms. This minimises the possibility of a credential stuffing compromise on your enterprise network security. 

Initially, there may be some reluctance to this change. Guiding users through the technology and assisting them in updating most of their daily critical passwords can facilitate acceptance.

Invest in a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) uses encryption to safeguard your network, thus guaranteeing online confidentiality for all your users. VPNs hide your Internet Protocol (IP) address, rendering your online actions nearly impossible to trace. Most crucially, VPN services create safe and encrypted links, offering more privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.

A VPN shields your activities, data, browsing history, communications, and other personal data from potential intruders. A VPN secures your files when utilizing a public Wi-Fi network. If you employ staff who work remotely and frequently link to wireless local area networks (such as in cafes, restaurants, airports etc), then a VPN is a critical security barrier. For businesses looking to further enhance their network security and management, a solution for robust network management can offer comprehensive services tailored to your specific needs.

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Update Your Anti-virus Software

A large number of organisations acquire anti-virus and anti-malware programmes that are suitable for company-wide implementation. This ensures that all employee devices, including desktops, laptops, and mobile phones, receive this software when a new device is distributed.

However, as time progresses, this software can become out of date. In numerous cases, users fail to carry out the necessary updates. This leads to the emergence of network security vulnerabilities each time they establish a connection. Update your antivirus software regularly. IT admins must routinely evaluate if all users have applied updates to their individual anti-virus programmes.  Gaps in keeping your software updated is first entry point that cyber criminals jump to exploit. 

Train Employees Regularly

Ensuring your network's safety requires a collaborative approach. Despite the sophistication of network security technology, human error and susceptibility to deception remain constant threats.

This is a fact not lost on hackers who capitalise on it vehemently. Phishing, for instance, is a significant concern, being the culprit behind 54% of ransomware attacks in 2020. Additionally, 27% of attacks resulted from improper user behaviours.

The human element is often called the weakest link in the chain for a reason. It's usually a malicious link that was carelessly clicked on or a suspicious email that was opened which leads to massive compromises and data breaches. It is imperative, therefore, to invest in cybersecurity awareness training for the staff and also conduct cybersecurity awareness training for executives. After all, it's them who are ultimately accountable to the customers, shareholders and the board of trustees, in case anything goes wrong. 

Double-check Your Downloads

Despite having the right antivirus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware software installed, it's not guaranteed that employees won't inadvertently participate in risky actions. These include clicking on unsecured links or downloading damaging files. They might often be oblivious to the risks associated with their actions.

Consequently, it is recommended to establish a secondary system that necessitates all downloads to be scrutinized by a separate entity, such as your IT support team, before being granted access into your system. This approach could bolster your network security by considering possible employee mistakes.

In case, there has been a case of a malicious file being downloaded, you must have a robust Cyber Incident Response Plan and a Cyber Incident Response Playbook in place. These can help quickly detect and isolate any malware or anomalies found the business network and isolate and mitigate them immediately.  Good cyber resilience hygiene practices such as these can go a long way in keeping your business secure in the hostile threat landscape we currently inhabit. 

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Endnote

Network security is critical for all businesses, regardless of size. Cybercriminals are perpetually devising new techniques to penetrate networks and extract confidential data. It's important to note that network security isn't a one-off activity but a continuous process necessitating regular upkeep and supervision.

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