Franchises and Firewalls: Business Network Security Tips for Multiple Locations

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As the cost of the average cybersecurity data breach reaches nearly $4 million, there’s not a company on the planet ready for that. When your company grows big enough to build a strong network that reaches across the planet, you also become more vulnerable without business network security. Without the proper security techniques in place, a clever hacker could come in and take advantage of some open virtual doors or unlocked digital windows.

Here are four ways to ensure that your business network is secure no matter how many locations you have.

1. Secure Your WiFi

One of the first places to start when you want to secure your company’s network is to ensure that your WiFi is secure. When you have a wide open network or hand out your credentials to too many people, you’re opening yourself up for a breach. By securing your WiFi network, you ensure that no one can get into your network and start poking around.

Any vulnerabilities in your wireless network leave you open to being exploited. Those openings in your network allow someone to sit in your parking lot and connect to a laptop that will start poking and prodding into your business’s data.

One of the things that hacking software looks for are vulnerabilities related to third-party software that you’ve installed. Lots of third party software is vulnerable to hacking because of default passwords and credentials that are left installed in the system. If you get a great piece of software from a company that doesn’t care about security, they could have default credentials that get you into trouble.

If a nefarious actor on your network finds out, they’ll exploit this connection in whatever way that they can. You can keep them out by ensuring that your network remains secure at all time.

2. Train Your Employees

One of the best ways to keep your company secure is to give proper training to your employees.

Most cybersecurity threats don’t come from hackers or people breaking into your company as much as they rely on human errors. When accounts are left open on shared or network connected computers, that can lead to serious problems.

Take the time to run a clinic for your employees on how to write better passwords. Teach them ways to make up terms, mash up words, or create complicated strings of letters and numbers that are meaningful only to them.

Let them know of common phishing scams and reasons why they shouldn’t use the same password for everything. Let them know about software updates and why they should always follow the latest updates. Most software updates deal with security and so they need to be installed whenever developers release them to the public.

Personal devices are also subject to being hacked so make sure your employees understand how to encrypt the data that they use and send. If they’re handling important company materials on their personal devices, they need to handle it with care.

3. Control Users

Not every user needs to have access to every level of your company at all times. This is true when it comes to physical access as well as digital access. By managing access, you make it easier to hold people accountable and to fix problems when they arise.

Keep a close eye on people who have privileged access to your system. There should only be a handful of people who get the highest level of access to your business network. If you want to keep it secure, you need to have a handle on the entire list of people at all times.

When someone has completed the project that they needed special network access for, make sure that you reset their account back to normal access. Leaving users with too much access leave you open to trouble.

Have your IT staff work with you to create clearly defined roles for everyone at your company. Just because someone is an executive, doesn’t mean they should have access to your data center. Be clear as to who gets access when and why.

If you outsource your network management, you can get them to go through your user database regularly. A company like Acumera can offer tips on how to control the users of your network.

4. Clear Your Database

Your database could be a breeding ground for problems at your company. If your server holds customer accounts and customer information, you could be storing lots of data that you don’t need. When your customers get to access their own accounts or store their own data, you never know what they could be saving on your servers.

Rather than keep every account open indefinitely, take the time to clear out old users from your database. Check in with customers and have them confirm that their accounts are still active if you haven’t heard from them in a while.

Take the time to scrub your database of credentials for former employees as well. An old employee could have left some default credentials on a machine or in a shared folder somewhere. That account could be turned into a zombie account by a nefarious actor and used to cruise your system under the radar.

Install a system that resets all passwords every few months to ensure that your employees are always using new passwords. People are creatures of habit and can end up using the same password over and over. This creates a “one ring to rule them all” situation where your company’s whole world could come crashing down if someone just guesses an employee’s dog’s name.

Rather than leave things to luck, put a smart system in place.

Business Network Security is a Big Deal

Since most of our assets, information, and resources are now digital, business network security keeps your income sources secure. If you leave yourself open to being hacked, your entire business could be impacted, no matter how far apart your servers are located.

If you’re trying to figure out who should house your network and where, check out our guide for all the details.