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3 Simple Steps to Bolstering your Business’s Network Security

Over the past year, various IT security breaches have crippled companies in terms of brand damage and recovery costs. Unauthorized access
to sensitive data can also put consumers at risk, exposing personal information such as credit card numbers, PINs and social security numbers. Sites like eHarmony and LinkedIn are two examples of networking sites that were infiltrated this year.

Small and medium-sized businesses are no exception to the rising threat of breaches in secure data. In fact, they have become main targets. The pay-off is more certain because there is less risk of being caught; and to make matters worse, smaller companies often lack the resources to recover from the blow.

There are a few basic steps any business leader can take to protect corporate data and credibility, and it’s not as complicated as one might think.

1. Set guidelines for strong passwords.

Earlier this year a hacker claimed to have broken into presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s e-mail by guessing the answer to his security question. Although you may not consider yourself high-profile enough to align yourself with Mitt Romney, hackers have ways of breaking into accounts with lax passwords. Use these guidelines when setting Wi-Fi and network passwords.

Setting company guidelines regarding password accounts can be integrated into software (your IT department can help with this) or can be implemented as a company policy. Passwords should be changed often, and should include an array of special characters and numbers. It’s one small step for your day-to-day operations, but one huge leap for your security.

2. Provide limited and protected access.

Securing your data is all about safeguarding against leaks. The more people who access a single network, the more potential there is for the data to be mismanaged. By creating different networks for different departments, there is less of a risk for the entirety of the data to be compromised based on a single breach.
In addition to a firewall, ask your IT director about implementing an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS). A firewall will monitor ports, while an IPS monitors traffic for any fishy activity that could be malicious. Some routers will include IPS technology.

If employees need to access the network remotely, you will need to invest in a Virtual Private Network or VPN that allows workers to log-in using an encrypted tunnel. Workers who attempt to log onto the network via an insecure connection will be denied access.

3. Keep your staff and equipment updated.

Your employees can’t help you fight malware if they don’t know what it looks like. Ask your IT department to make concise, easy-to-follow rules that will help employees self-mange. Internet filters and blocks may also be necessary to keep your employees from accessing unreliable sites or downloading corrupt material.
Check with your IT department to ensure that all routers and firewall firmware are updated and checked for bugs annually. Antivirus software updates also need to be updated regularly.

An IT department isn’t necessarily the answer to creating a tightly managed security network. Business leaders without the resources for an IT manager can follow these steps as well. Once you have a system in place, maintenance and upkeep are key aspects. You will also want to back up your data regularly and destroy data that is no longer in use.

Guest Article

Eliza Morgan is a full time freelance writer and blogger. She often writes for where she specializes in small and independent business topics. If you have any questions, email her at

This is a guest article by Eliza Morgan about three steps to bolster the business network security. To write guest posts for us, please click on the link below.

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