Protecting your office network is doubly important because you have to protect your own data as well as the data of your clients. Click here to get 10 tips for protecting your network from hackers.
With the average data breach hovering around the $4 million mark, it’s important to ensure that your office network is secure. An office that is open to hackers and nefarious actors will allow sensitive customer information or company secrets to get into the hands of your competitors. To avoid lawsuits, a damaged reputation, or lost revenue, you need to secure your network from on-site or off-site attacks.
Here are 6 steps to achieving a secure network.
1. Halt Outside Access
For many companies that have a distributed team of employees, they might allow access to their network from outside their immediate network. This is great for getting the best available talent from all over the world. However, this creates a lot of problems for a network on-site.
If your router allows web management through a digital interface, you should disable access from outside the network. There is often a default admin password that is used by entire product lines. If you don’t do this immediately, hackers could do that for you.
Unless you’re okay with the idea of someone getting in and changing settings or checking out your logs, you need to put a lock on the door. Leaving the web interface secured by the default password is as good as leaving the door to your home wide open.
2. Use Antivirus Software
If you have lots of PCs on your network, they need to have antivirus software. Windows machines require spyware and ransomware protections. While most people know this at this point, it bears repeating.
Lots of companies that have great protocols in place will let subscriptions for antivirus software lapse and accidentally expire. Unless you have someone who is dedicated to managing the subscriptions and licenses that your company pays for, you could easily let it go. It happens all the time.
Even failing to update your antivirus software could leave you vulnerable to issues. New attacks are buffered against every day and software gets updated to fight it. If you’re not fighting the latest major vulnerabilities, you could be leaving yourself wide open to attack.
3. Protect LAN Servers
If you’ve got a server connected to your local area network, you could be leaving it vulnerable to attack. While it’s good to have a server that’s easily accessible to your employees and staff, you need to have it on a DMZ or subnetwork as a buffer. If one of your employees’ computers gets hacked, the server could be opened up and all of your most sensitive data released.
If you move your servers to another facility, where it can be easily managed, you’re better off. Having your servers in a place where they can be protected and updated as needed means that you won’t have to worry about your data. A local server might seem like a good idea but it can be a security nightmare.
Hosting your site or your software from your own network makes you a perfect target for attack. Instead, put everything in a DMZ.
4. Scan Servers Regularly
If you insist on having web servers that are connected to the internet, beyond your own network, you need to scan them regularly. There could be exploits that you miss and could leave your servers wide open to an attack.
Your office network could be vulnerable if you don’t change your passwords regularly. The passwords for your domain registry and other online portals need to be changed as often as possible.
If you’re updating web content from on-site, don’t use FTP. Use a more secure method, always use HTTP, and be sure to limit access to your site.
Never send passwords out in the clear or over your open network. Research website protection tools like Databerry and see if they can help you plug holes in your system.
5. No More Sharing
When you allow file sharing or printer sharing on every desktop on your system, you’re asking for trouble. The only place you should allow sharing is on your main file server, otherwise, you’re opening yourself up for vulnerabilities.
For laptop users, when you use open wireless networks, you’re going out into the world unprotected. You could be putting your entire company at risk by broadcasting your files to anyone else on your network. Rather than share your files and company secrets with everyone at an airport or a hotel, you shouldn’t be able to access company servers at all.
You should have one file sharing server that people use specifically to transfer files. Other than that, everything else should be kept far away from open networks.
6. Back Up Off-Site
If you’re keeping all of your back-ups for your servers on-site, in your office, you need to come up with an alternate solution. Whether you’re dealing with an issue created by climate change, a severe ransomware attack, or a power surge, you could lose everything if it’s in one place.
Your best way to ensure that if things go haywire, you can protect your customers and your most sensitive business data, have an offsite backup. This can be a cloud storage solution, creating physical DVDs, or having a secure hosting facility store your company’s backups.
Don’t Cut Corners Securing Your Office Network
A secure office network is essential to do enterprise level business in any industry, from food service to manufacturing. You never know what your customer or employee data could be holding or what passwords to sensitive information they could be recklessly reusing. A password to their desktop could be the same as the one they use for their bank accounts and could jeopardize their whole existence in one simple breach.
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