Ensuring business network security

Apr 17 2013

security Maintaining a secure small business is not easy; it takes time, energy and professional expertise to keep things locked down. Here are some of the most critical steps you can take to ensure your business network security and keep your data from ending up elsewhere, and none of these take much time or effort to accomplish.[break2]For ongoing security efforts, follow these steps to ensure your network is protected: [break2]1.    Monitor the traffic coming in and going out your firewall and read the reports carefully. Make sure someone on your team understands the data and is prepared to take the necessary action. Solutions from Watchguard all offer  firewall real time monitoring tools and reports for monitoring.
2.    Keep an eye on new threats as they’re discovered and posted online. You can subscribe to security alerts from hardware or software security manufacturers like Watchguard, Kaspersky, and GFI.
3.   Make sure all of your PCs use antivirus software and if you’re using Windows, add antispyware/antimalware protection as well. Make sure that all of your antivirus subscriptions are current and running the latest antivirus engine version. We recommend Kaspersky antivirus which offers complete protection against all types of threats.
4.    Enable automatic updates for Windows operating systems, Office products and any other Microsoft related products (computers, laptops and servers). Microsoft releases security updates once per month (3 rd week of the month) or  critical updates as soon as they areavailable.
5.    Train employees on an ongoing basis so they understand any changes to your security policy. Also, encourage a “neighborhood watch“ approach to security. If an employee notices anything suspicious, such as not being able to log into an email account right away, he or she should notify the appropriate person immediately.
6.    Install a data protection solution for backup/recovery , such as an automated backup system using tape, NAS or online devices. They will protect your business from data loss if your network’s security is breached. We recommend Symantec Backup Exec server software with agents for email, database and remote servers.
7.    Consider hardware security solutions (firewalls) that will further protect your network as well as expand your company’s capabilities. For example, WatchGuard’s XTM firewalls include a suite of flexible management tools that allows IT administrators to manage security through an intuitive centralized console, command line interface, and web UI:  an intrusion prevention system (IPS) lets you block peer-to-peer traffic, such as instant messaging, while a secure wireless network lets users stay productive anywhere in the building; standard firewalling capabilities (packet filtering,  network address translation,  VPN, protocol inspection) ; Application Control  and many more.
8.   Email security; in today’s electronic world, email is critical to any business. In most cases it is the backbone of most companies’ day-to-day activities and its use will continue to grow. Because of it, the importance of email security becomes more significant: management of email storage, policy enforcement, auditing, archiving and data recovery. GFI Mail Essentials is an award winning email security and antispam solution for Exchange server and other mail servers, protecting your network against email viruses, malware threats and delivers a spam capture rate of over 99%.
9.    Use encryption on your wireless access points (AP) and make sure to hide your SSID. Many site surveys have found half or more of all wireless networks are wide open, being an easy target for anyone to gather all the traffic and perhaps record your sensitive information by sitting in a nearby parked car. All wireless routers should have obscure IDs when they announce themselves to the world.
10.  Use VPN (virtual private network) for remote access back to your local LAN . The most common VPN used is Microsoft VPN technology that comes  with Windows servers. A recommended solution is to use a professional firewall with VPN capability so the entire communication will be secure. We recommend WatchGuard firewalls. All their firewall models come with mobile VPN software as well as branch office static VPN for businesses with multiple sites.
As new threats are launched and discovered almost daily, it is important to continually evaluate new security technologies as they’re released and determine if they are appropriate for your business.
Last but not least, assess what you can handle in-house in regards to business network security and ask for help from security experts if you need it.

Recent posts