These days, you can’t take cybersecurity lightly. Cyberattacks have been rising for more than two decades, and there is no way to stop them. In 2021, data breaches increased by 17% from the previous year, totaling 1,291 breaches.
The consequences of a data breach are vast. Not only is your customer and business data compromised, but there’s also potential for downtime, fines, and lost files if you’re hit with ransomware.
If you want to protect your network, you need to implement powerful security protocols that detect, isolate, and eliminate attacks. You also need security policies designed to limit network access.
If you don’t already have an ideal cybersecurity plan in place, here are six small things that will protect your network.
1. Use HTTPS
According to Park Place Technologies, network management protocols come in many different forms. One of those protocols deals with security. For instance, HTTPS, SFTP, and SSL are all security-related network protocols.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) combines HTTP with the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols. HTTPS is no longer an option if you want to keep your network secure.
HTTP encrypts data while in transit, protects from data breaches and Man-in-the-Middle attacks, and makes your operation all-around more secure. In other words, using HTTPS builds trust, and that trust is vital in today’s world, where data breaches are occurring at an alarming rate.
It’s not hard to switch over to a secure protocol. If you don’t know how to make the switch, contact an IT professional, and they’ll take care of it for you.
2. Create a solid written security policy
Do you have a written security policy? If not, create one as soon as possible. Your policies need to be well-defined and specific.
Having a written security policy gives you something to fall back on when you need to counsel an employee for an infraction. A written policy also makes it easier to train new hires and communicate your expectations.
3. Enforce your security policies
Your cybersecurity policies are only as good as your willingness to enforce the rules. However, enforcing your security policies is much easier when your policies are willingly adopted. This requires getting staff members to accept, recognize, and appreciate your policies.
This can be easier said than done, since many employees violate company policy out of necessity. For example, say you have company files spread out across four different data storage accounts with different vendors.
At some point, one of your employees is going to ask to borrow someone’s login credentials so they can find the file they’re looking for. This brings up the next point.
4. Fix underlying problems causing policy violations
Most of the time, people share credentials innocently, and it’s only a product of disorganization, not malice. When an employee needs a file to complete their work, but they can’t find the file, they’ll do whatever it takes to get that file – even if it means violating company policy.
If you discover that your employees are sharing login credentials, find out why and take the time to resolve the underlying issues. When you fix the problem causing employees to share login credentials, you’ll eliminate a large number of security policy violations.
5. Restrict access
Restrict access to your company network using software that grants access based on groups and individual users. Don’t just give all of your employees access to the company network through a shared login. Install software that requires a separate username and password for every user and set strict access permissions.
Don’t give anyone access to files and folders they don’t need. No matter how innocent those files or folders may seem, access should be granted only on a necessary basis. Also, don’t give employees more privileges than necessary. For instance, don’t give marketing employees local administrative rights on their machines.
6. Train employees on your security policies
Having a written security policy is important, but you also need to train your staff. You can’t just hand over a packet of information and expect everyone to understand everything.
Create a training program as part of your onboarding system to ensure everyone has a chance to ask clarifying questions about things they don’t understand. New hires are usually overwhelmed, so don’t expect everyone to remember everything right away.
Don’t let carelessness compromise your network
Even when you have the latest high-tech security software, careless mistakes can compromise your network security. While tech tools are important, place an equal focus on training and education.
When employees know what’s expected of them and why, they’ll be more likely to work in a way that keeps your network secure.