Business Network Security: How To Secure Your Network
Business network security is more necessary than ever for small business owners. With the recent economic collapse, small business owners have become increasingly frequent targets for scams and theft. If you’ve ever been the target of a hacker, phisher, scammer, or ransomware, then you already have an idea of how much financial damage these efforts can bring.
There are necessary steps you can take towards securing your business network so you are not as susceptible to these issues. You don’t have to be a business network security guru to do any of this – be ready and willing to pay for software and services where necessary, though (there’s no such thing as a free lunch anymore).
Network Security Suite
Using a network security suite is common sense for most folks nowadays, but it still needs to be mentioned. Small business owners want to pay careful attention to what network security suite software they are using. Not all network security suite software is created equal. Some network security suites are designed for essential home use while others are designed for more serious protection.
I cannot stress enough that you get what you pay for when it comes to business network security. Do not use a free, limited network security suite. Pay for a full-featured product. An excellent full-featured network security suite should at least have an anti-virus capable of scanning for rootkits and using heuristic scanning (behavior-based scanning), a firewall that monitors application behavior and ports, protection against ransomware, and a password manager. Make sure you make full use of all these features!
One of the most popular forms of hacking a business network involves snooping on your network traffic. A VPN, or virtual private network, obscures your real IP address as well as encrypts your network traffic. This way, you are harder to find and even if they do find you, they will not be able to decipher any of your network traffic. These VPN applications are available for both cell phones and PC.
Fortunately, many network security suite companies have made this incredibly easy to obtain and set up by integrating these services into their software. There are also a wide variety of professional VPN services available which all provide their applications. If you need only the necessary network security, your network security suite’s VPN should work just fine for you. However, if you regularly engage in highly sensitive and confidential communications, you may want to seek out a standalone VPN service.
Two Factor Authentication
Two factor authentication requires both a password and a one-time secret code of some sort when you log in from a device for the first time. It’s a great way to stop password hacking attempts in their tracks. Make sure you have this enabled on your email accounts, cell phone accounts, bank accounts, and social media. Enable it anywhere else it is an option. You can never be too safe from brute force attacks!
Keep an eye on your account’s login history and apps. This can be found in your account’s security settings. If you see any suspicious logins or apps connected to your account, remove/disconnect them and reset your password. Check this at least once a month.
Security Through Obscurity
While it is not an entirely foolproof method to use, making your most frequently used accounts more obscure certainly helps keep them out of harm’s way. You can try setting up an email address for essential logins that no one knows about except you. You can also set up a prepaid card for primary daily use, and then keep your primary bank account private and unused. Using a VOIP phone number for your business phone number falls under this category as well. You can obtain one for free from Google Voice. Anything that can put an extra layer of obscurity between the outside world and your data or accounts helps keep you more secure.
Break Up Your Online Services
While keeping all your services through one provider is nice and convenient for you, it also makes it nice and convenient for anyone that manages to gain access to that account. So, it’s smart to break up your services some rather than relying entirely and thoroughly upon Google, Microsoft, or Apple to manage all your data. If you keep unique and separate passwords for each service you divorce from these companies, you will be creating extra work for a hacker to attempt to gain access to all of them. If you don’t want to break up your services, at the very least back up your data to a secondary account. That way if it gets deleted, you won’t be completely helpless.
You should ALWAYS use an encrypted connection for communicating private and sensitive data such as passwords and financials. It obscures the data while it is being transferred over the internet so no one but you and the participant can read it. There is a massive variety of encrypted messengers and email services available. Some of the most popular include WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger (they call it “secret conversation”).
Use A Password Generator
As hard as you may try to come up with a secure password, you just can’t beat the style of online account security an excellent password generator has to offer. Your password manager should have one built into it, but if it doesn’t, there are tons of free password generators available online.
Fail Your Secret Question
Don’t give real answers to your secret questions used to recover your account if your password is lost or forgotten. Most of the answers to these questions can be found out by doing a little research on you or social engineering you to tell someone what it is. Instead, try to come up with a response that isn’t true but isn’t forgettable for you, either.
Use Pen and Paper
Yes, it helps to go a little old-fashioned sometimes and pull out the pen and paper. You don’t have to put ALL your notes online or even on your devices at all. If you want to keep something private, the best way to go is to keep it on paper in a secure location.
Good Business Network Security and Online Profile Security Depends on Your Level of Caution
Ultimately, good business network security and online profile security depends on your level of caution. If you remain aware that anything you put online isn’t necessarily secret, and that anyone that contacts you via phone or email may not be whom they claim to be, you will be okay. Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions or would like to get recommendations on what software to use.
You can read more about securing a business network here: