Data breaches have become progressively more common in recent years, with 1,802 incidents reported in the US alone in 2022, affecting over 422 million individuals. In fact, the average cost of a data breach has risen to USD 4.35 million, up 2.6% from the previous year.
Businesses can protect themselves by implementing strong authentication methods, encrypting sensitive data, keeping software up to date, and training employees on cybersecurity best practices.
Several recent high-profile data breaches serve as a reminder of the importance of network security measures. Slack, Deezer, and Twitter have all experienced significant data breaches, compromising the sensitive information of millions of users.
In response, these companies have taken measures to investigate and resolve the situation. Users of these platforms are advised to take steps such as resetting passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and being vigilant for potential phishing attempts.
It’s essential to understand the severity of the consequences of data breaches, including financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liabilities. Taking proactive steps to secure networks and protect sensitive data is crucial to prevent such incidents from happening.
Network security is the process and practice of protecting networked systems, including hardware, software, and data, from unauthorized access or theft. In a business setting, network security is essential to keeping sensitive information safe from cyber criminals and ensuring compliance with industry regulations.
There are many ways to improve network security, but some key practices include implementing strong authentication measures, encrypting data in transit, and regularly backing up data. By taking these steps, businesses can protect themselves from various threats and maintain a secure IT infrastructure.
Here are the steps every business needs to take to improve their network security.
Assess your network security posture by conducting a vulnerability assessment and penetration test. Try to discover which systems and data are currently protected, what threats exist, and where your vulnerabilities lie.
Once you know where your vulnerabilities lie, you can work on fixing them. This may involve patching software, implementing new security controls, or changing processes and procedures.
One of the most important aspects of network security is controlling who has access to your systems and data. User authentication and authorization measures such as user IDs, passwords, and access control lists (ACLs) are all effective tools.
This ensures that even if someone does gain access to your systems, they will not be able to read or use the data.
Keep an eye out for suspicious activity and investigate any incidents that do occur. Monitoring can be done manually or through automated tools such as intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).
A firewall can help protect your network from outside attacks and control what traffic is allowed in and out of your network. There are many different types of firewalls available, so it’s important to choose one that will work well for your specific needs.
A VPN (virtual private network) encrypts all of the data that is sent between your computer and the VPN server, making it harder for anyone to intercept and read. A VLAN (virtual LAN) allows you to segment your network into different areas, making it more difficult for unauthorized users to access sensitive data. By using both a VPN and a VLAN, you can significantly improve the security of your internet connection and protect your business from potential threats.
Antivirus software helps protect your computer from malware, viruses, spyware, and adware. Consider price, features, ease of use, and other user reviews when choosing the right software.
Once you’ve chosen an antivirus program, be sure to keep it up to date by downloading the latest updates.
Firmware is the most basic level of software on your devices, and it controls how they operate. Keep your firmware up to date to ensure you have the latest security features and bug fixes. Many companies offer automatic updates, so ensure this is turned on for all your devices.
Penetration testing, also known as pen testing or ethical hacking, is a simulated attack on your network to identify vulnerabilities. By finding and repairing these weaknesses before they can be exploited, you can greatly reduce the risk of a successful cyberattack.
By enhancing internet security, organizations can better protect themselves against malicious threats and prevent potential cybersecurity incidents. Here’s how:
Gain practical experience in dealing with real-world cyber threats, improving skills and expertise in managing security incidents.
Understand the severity and impact of various risks, allowing you to prioritize your organization’s resources and efforts to address the most critical vulnerabilities.
Carry out proactive vulnerability scanning and testing to identify and fix potential weaknesses in systems, networks, and applications, preventing exploitation by malicious actors.
Gain buy-in from stakeholders for increased investments in security measures to better protect against cyber threats.
Identify the feasibility and potential impact of different attack vectors, enabling you to implement effective defenses and countermeasures accordingly.
Comply with relevant regulations, laws, and industry standards, avoiding potential legal and financial consequences of non-compliance.
You’ll be able to identify the root causes of what happened and implement corrective actions to prevent similar incidents in the future.
You’ll be able to detect and respond to security incidents quicker and reduce their impact, thereby minimizing potential damages.
You’ll have a deeper understanding of the tactics used by cyber attackers for lateral movement within a network, allowing you to implement effective defenses and prevent unauthorized access to critical assets in the future.
It’s no secret that employees are the weak link when it comes to network security. All it takes is a single person to click on a malicious email attachment or visit a compromised website for your entire network to be at risk. That’s why it’s so important to provide training to your employees on how to stay safe online.
Below is a list of a few key things you should cover in your employee training:
By providing employees with the knowledge they need to stay safe online, you can greatly reduce the chances of a successful attack on your network.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, phishing is a type of fraud that occurs when an attacker poses as a reputable company or individual to trick victims into giving up sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information.
Unfortunately, phishing attacks can be difficult to spot, as attackers are constantly evolving their methods to appear more legitimate. Employees often fall prey to phishing attacks as they often appear to come from employees or people they know. Educate them about phishing as prevention is always better than cure.
Some common signs of a phishing attack include:
If your employee thinks that they may have been targeted by a phishing attack, there are some simple steps they can do to protect themselves and the organization they work in:
It is important to understand what your employees are doing in order to improve security and prevent data breaches. You can do this by using a monitoring tool.
Perimeter 81 is a robust, easy-to-use, converged networking and network security platform that connects all users, in the office or remote, to all resources. A cloud-native service, it includes advanced capabilities such as Zero Trust Remote Access, Internet access control, malware protection, and firewall as a service. It also enables any business to build a secure corporate network over a private global backbone, without hardware, and within minutes.
The entire service is managed from a unified console and backed by an award-winning global support team that has you covered 24/7. Additionally, our network security solutions are designed to deploy in minutes, providing your business the protection it needs to stay safe online. Finally, all of our products are easy to use and provide a high level of protection, making them a great choice for businesses of all sizes.
Data in transit is vulnerable to interception by third parties, so encryption is essential to protect it. Data at rest is also vulnerable to theft or loss, so encrypting it will help to keep it safe.
Unified Security Management (USM) is a security management approach that combines all aspects of an organization’s security into a single platform. This includes everything from Malware protection and intrusion detection to firewalls, to ZTNA or Web Filtering. By consolidating all of these security functions into one platform, businesses can more effectively manage and monitor their network security.
Make sure you are using the latest version of the software. Older versions may not have the latest security features and can be more susceptible to attacks. Also, don’t forget to implement the latest security patches and use a reputable source for your updates. Be sure to download updates only from trusted websites or sources, such as the official website of the software vendor.
Ensure you have the latest security patches installed on all devices and software, including routers, firewalls, servers, workstations, and laptops. Keep your antivirus software up to date and run regular scans. Install an intrusion detection or prevention system to help identify and block potential threats.
One of the best ways to improve your network security is to implement a Single Sign-On (SSO) solution. SSO allows your employees to use one set of credentials (typically a username and password) to access multiple applications and systems. This greatly reduces the risk of password theft and helps to keep your data safe.
In order to improve network security, it is important to create a risk assessment and management plan that includes all information assets. This includes client lists, customer databases, financial details, active business deals, pricing information, and product design or manufacturing processes. By including all of these elements in your risk assessment and management plan, you will be able to identify and mitigate risks to your network security more effectively.
When choosing a cloud service provider, look for one that offers robust security features. These may include two-factor authentication and encryption. Be sure to also read reviews to see what other users have to say about the security of the service.
Additionally, don’t store sensitive data in the cloud. If possible, avoid storing sensitive data in the cloud altogether. If you must store sensitive data in the cloud, ensure it is encrypted before uploading.
Lastly, limit access to cloud-based data. Only give employees who need access to specific data permission to view or edit it. You can also limit what employees can do with the data by setting up user permissions. For example, you could allow some employees to view data but not edit it or download it onto their personal devices.
SSL certificates encrypt data transmitted between a website and a user’s web browser. This ensures that any sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or login credentials, cannot be intercepted and read by third parties. For businesses that process online payments, using an SSL certificate is absolutely essential in order to protect both your customers’ data and your own reputation.
Even if you don’t take payments on your website, it’s still a good idea to use SSL certificates on any pages where users might input sensitive information, such as contact forms or registration pages.
One of the best ways to improve your network security is to secure your employees’ devices. Secure BYOD policies help businesses limit and control the amount of sensitive data stored on personal devices brought into the workplace.
Things to keep in mind when implementing a BYOD policy:
As everything around us becomes increasingly digital, ensuring your network is secure is necessary. Taking some of the above simple steps and investing in a good network security solution can help keep your business safe from attacks.
Perimeter 81 offers a comprehensive, cloud-based network security solution that can help you protect your business from threats. With our easy-to-use platform, you can manage all of your security settings in one place, ensuring that your data and devices are always protected. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your network security and stay safe online.