The more employees, devices, and applications you have, the more vulnerable your network is. Setting up a Wi-Fi network and calling it a day can leave your business open to security threats. Take the time to implement the 5 network security tips in this article, and you’ll go from inviting hackers to your business to keeping your data safe and your business secure in the digital world.
What is Network Security?
What the heck is a network? A network is a group of computers or devices connected to a standard set of protocols to share resources efficiently. Network security is then a system designed to protect your network of devices and the data contained in that network from cyber-attacks. Like most security, network security includes both hardware and software to get the job done.
How Does Network Security Work?
Network security allows authorized users like employees to access the network or have limited access to the network but prevents hackers or unauthorized users from entering the network. The security does this through a combination of defenses set up at the edge of the network (like firewalls) and inside the network like malware protection.
Although a lot of people think of network security as being all software, it extends to hardware like routers to even how your equipment is stored. For example, is your router behind a locked door or just out for anyone to access?
Tips for Network Security
- Secure Your Wi-Fi
One of the best ways to secure your network is by securing your Wi-Fi. If you haven’t secured your network, hackers have an easy way to walk into your network digitally. For instance, hackers can set up near your office or home and join the network to gain almost instant access to your information.
Even if you set up password access, hackers can sit near your building with a device that mimics your Wi-Fi router and collect access data from your computer when you or an employee mistakenly access the phony Wi-Fi account. There are hundreds of ways that hackers can get access to your information just via your Wi-Fi if it’s not secured correctly. So how do you achieve it?
To start, you should look at setting up WPA2 encryption on your Wi-Fi network. WPA2 network encryption provides unique encryption keys for each user that accesses the network making it harder for a hacker to get access by snagging someone’s key.
Another simple change that can help increase your Wi-Fi security is updating or masking the SSID (Service Set Identifier) or the name of your router so hackers can’t easily find it or know the manufacturer. Likewise, you can change the password or encryption key from the one provided by the factory.
Both of these changes help you secure your network further because some hackers have gained access to the factory list of SSID’s and passwords given, and when you change them, it makes it harder for them to gain access.
Use a VPN
VPN stands for a virtual private network. It encrypts internet connections and the data sent over your network so employees can access their information when on business trips.
Most VPNs also have killswitch to disconnect the hardware, like a laptop, from the network when the protected connection is lost to guard against data leaks. It’s like if you had a raincoat and if the raincoat got a hole, instead of hoping that you wouldn’t get wet, you’d just get transported home.
Good VPNs to use are NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or Windscribe.
- Update Router Firmware
Another great way to keep your network secure is by updating router firmware. Router firmware becomes outdated, just like your computer malware protection, and needs to be updated. If you don’t update the firmware, then gaps become apparent to hackers, and they can worm their way into your system without being noticed.
Take the time to update router firmware to fix bugs and protect your network and data. It’s best to do this at least once a year. If it seems complicated, set up an appointment with us and we’ll help you through this process.
- Install a WAF
A WAF (Web Application Firewall) protects your online information that passes from the web to your network like customer data when they purchase from your website. Having a WAF is essential for businesses to ensure they don’t have a leak of customer data and a ruined reputation.
Even if you don’t have purchases completed on your website, it’s important to protect customer information that comes in on forms or other communications to make sure their personal information isn’t exposed because of your business.
- Manage your DHCP
Your DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocols) sets the IP addresses for the devices on your network. DHCP’s structured process for creating IP addresses makes it easier to manage your network. To increase security further, you can limit the number of IP addresses assigned by the DHCP or disable the feature entirely, so it’s all done manually, but that can be a lot of additional work for your IT team.
All of these changes to your network security can seem daunting or like unnecessary additional work, but trust us when we say, they are important. They are simple to implement when you have someone who knows what they’re doing and can mean the difference between keeping your business safe and losing a chunk of money or data.
Set up an appointment with us to learn what your security gaps are and how we can help you implement these and more network security tips so you can sleep easy knowing your business is safe.
Check out other articles to continue to learn more about security for your Mac and business.