A Network Security Plan For Business in 2020
Cyber threats and critical data loss are real problems that businesses face, find out how to protect your business in 2020 with a network security plan.
Preventative maintenance is all about careful forward planning and never was that more important than in dealing with the rising tide of cyber crime. Regardless of your business size, unless your IT network and digital infrastructure are sufficiently secured, then you are at risk of suffering significant financial losses in the event of a hack attack or a big data loss event.
Cyber threats are increasing in their sophistication and their number across the globe and if you rely on your IT network to run the daily operations of your business or, more importantly, if you are reliant on valuable or private data then you must ensure that you are doing everything in your power to keep your IT network secure and your data safe. The dangers of leaving the door open to cyber criminals are numerous and can include losing time and money to unnecessary downtime, losing your existing customer base and turning off potential new customers while risking significant damage to your brand reputation.
With this in mind, we have drawn up a simple and easy to implement guide to creating a network security plan for your business in 2020.
Building a data network and IT security policy for your business
The first and most important part of the security plan process is ensuring that everybody is on the same page. How do you achieve this? By drawing up an IT security policy that everybody can understand and adhere to. This will be the guiding light in your campaign and a document that will ensure that your entire team, internally and remotely, will understand the goals and objectives of your security policy.
Take the time to work with your team to explain why the policy is important, making sure that they understand the consequences of lax security and the potential ramifications of not adhering to it.
Here’s a brief idea of the kind of elements you should include in your security policy:
- Create a list of all the USB drives (and any external data recording devices) along with a list of the staff that might have access to these devices. Most USB devices can be password protected (ensure you only use those that can) and make sure that only staff with clearance to use that USB device has password access.
- Business data is fluid and changes regularly. Always make sure that you are fully aware of all the business critical data that should be regularly backed up and where it should be stored.
- Retain a robust password creation policy that everybody is aware of and agrees to. There are password management software programs out there to assist with this task and make it easy.
- Read all you can (or ensure that your core IT team do) about potential IT security threats and risks in your industry. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
- Audit your staff for IT security knowledge and training needs; identifying any gaps in knowledge that could be filled with targeted training courses.
- Always ensure that everybody who requires access to the security policy is notified when it is updated. Clear communication is critical.
Building a robust IT security strategy for your business
Your security policy will allow staff to stay up to date with the latest IT security requirements and ensure everybody remains up to date with any changes. The next part of your plan entails taking care of all the technical security details, assigning IT security responsibilities to key staff and any third party agencies or IT and network security experts.
The following are some examples of the kind of elements you should focus on as part of your IT security plan:
- Your first line of defense is a reliable and regularly updated firewall system. This is to protect your internal network and can extend to your remote devices too. Make sure that key staff are trained in its use and ensure that it is regularly updated.
- Install the best antivirus software you can afford, and make sure it is always kept up to date (setting automatic updates in the safest policy). You may already have one in place but check that it is fit for purpose and meets your needs.
- Devices used internally must be accounted for and audited regularly. Ensure that only authorized staff are using the storage devices and media that they have been assigned to use.
- When setting a password policy, make sure that everybody is using the same system. Use password management software that can be scaled from desktop use to smartphone and tablet use to ensure ease of use and consistency across all devices.
- Data backups are extremely important and it is never worth taking shortcuts. Alongside regular backups to cloud based storage solutions, make sure you also keep a physical backup away from your regular location, that way you will never be caught short.
- Businesses rely on a multitude of devices these days, both in-house and remotely. Make sure that all users take responsibility for their devices, keeping them updated with the latest security updates and operating systems to make sure that no vulnerabilities crop up in your network.
- Automate everything. With so many devices, software instances and applications in so many locations, making use of automatic updates will ensure a far higher percentage chance of eliminating loopholes.
- Upgrade all email accounts on your network to 2-factor authentication to ensure best in class security for business email communications.
- Nothing should be downloaded to the business network without prior authorization. Third party apps can be riddled with vulnerabilities and must be initially audited, authorized by key staff and then immediately updated to the latest security patches before being used.
Creating a network security plan for your business is crucial for protecting your organization against preventable, financial losses. Don’t leave anything to chance and make sure that you retain a regularly audited and updated security policy that everybody is aware of and has clear access to, allied to a robust security strategy that ensures that all loopholes are closed to would-be hackers and cyber criminals.