Tips to protect your company’s IT network

Posted on April 6, 2021 by Nikhil P Naik

Network security is a growing problem globally with cyberattacks now affecting a huge number of companies. Indeed, in the US alone through 2019 a staggering 75% of firms reported falling victim to a cyberattack. 

While many companies consider themselves too insignificant or their revenue too low to be the target of cybercriminals, actually the opposite is true and hackers are increasingly focusing on Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The primary reason for this shift of attention is the fact that, unlike their larger counterparts, smaller firms often don’t take adequate security measures to protect their IT services. Unfortunately, it’s estimated 60% of SMBs fold following a hacking attack – so online protection most definitely isn’t an area for complacency. 

IT network

IT service providers – your all-in-one networking solution

The truth is, if your firm relies to any extent on IT (and let’s face it, what firm doesn’t these days), then you should look at outsourcing your storage and network to an expert, third-party IT service provider. A professional IT firm will first take a full audit of your current platform, then build a bespoke system tailored precisely to your needs. Better yet, an IT provider will also monitor and backup your services – plus offer upscaling or downscaling, actionable in mere minutes. Bottom line: If you’re serious about your IT provision, you should look at outsourcing. 

Other steps you can take to protect your data

While an IT service provider is the best choice to protect your data, there are still some other steps you can take to keep yourself safe:

Install a firewall and anti-virus software – and keep both updated: An IT provider will do both these steps for you but you should still make sure you keep them updated. Again, your IT partner will almost always monitor and update both but, should they fail to do so for whatever reason, should you receive an update prompt, you should install the latest version.

Always use hard-to-guess passwords – and change them regularly: You should always use alphanumeric passwords on all your accounts – and make sure you don’t share passwords with other services (i.e. each should be unique). Furthermore, you should also change passwords regularly to limit the chances of them being guessed or falling into the wrong hands. You could also consider using the same two-factor authentication that is now common with online banking services where a code is also sent to a cellphone to verify the user when they try to log in. 

Use VPN software: Using Virtual Private Network (VPN) software considerably reduces the chances of unwanted access and malicious attacks. 

Educate your employees about the dangers online: You can take all the security measures you like but statistics prove that humans are most commonly the weakest link when it comes to network protection. Hackers are increasingly using sophisticated social engineering tactics to trick people into freely handing over their private, valuable data. For example, phishing is now one of the most widely-used forms of attack, due mainly to its extremely high success rate. Note, there are numerous other forms of attack, so staff training is the key if you want the greatest protection. 

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.

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