Think about the businesses where you live. Whether it’s a tech startup, retail store, bakery, or accounting firm, they’ll all have one thing in common — they rely on networks. Whether it’s a few point-of-sale (POS) machines or a multi-layered hierarchy that spans many devices, the security of these networks is vital to the health of any business.
Read this article to get a better understanding of what network security is and why it’s crucial, especially for new and small companies. Then you can explain the steps every business should take to ensure its safety in the digital world.
What is Network Security?
Network security is a set of practices aimed at preventing unauthorized access to networks of the company. Usually part of the larger cyber security umbrella, network security focuses on how devices interact and how they connect (whether via WiFi, LAN, or other channels).
Network security involves using both physical and software tools to protect network infrastructure from any form of outside access. It can be seemingly innocuous events like preventing guests from using your WiFi or protecting systems from full-blown cyber-attacks.
It views any type of misuse, malfunction, modification as a threat. And network security aims to ensure that all users of the network can perform their functions without any kind of danger.
Why Network Security is Essential for Startups
Whether you are a giant like Google or a brand-new startup, network security is vital because:
- It protects sensitive information like employee or customer data
- It prevents downtime caused by cyber-attack
- It ensures access to authorized users
- It stabilizes systems when problems arise
- It safeguards the reputation of a company
- It shields valuable system resources and files
There is a significant difference between an established company and a startup, however. Even the most prominent companies can and do suffer from data breaches.
One example is Capital One, which had over 100 million customers affected by a cyber-attack in 2019. Capital One estimated the data breach cost them $100-150 million. That’s no small amount. But considering the bank took in $28 billion in revenue the previous year, it was only a drop in the bucket for them.
The worst part is, Capital One had the resources to prevent the attack. But since they are such an established name, only a few people left the bank for a competitor despite their glaring security mistakes.
Startups and small businesses aren’t so fortunate. That’s why 60% of them go out of business after an attack. They neither have the resources nor the strong customer base to overcome these issues.
This is why network security can make a difference in the survival or death of a small business.
The Network Security Strategies Every Business Needs
Even the tiniest startups can put in place superior grade network security. Here are the top things to think about when securing your company network:
- Access Control. Controlling who has access to your network and who doesn’t. You should block unauthorized users automatically. Along with this, even permitted users should only have access to what they need to perform their job and nothing else.
- Anti-virus/Anti-malware. Malware can spread across networks almost instantly. It can also lie unnoticed for weeks or even months, stealing data or choking system resources. You must have security software that prevents infection. Tools like AVAST Enterprise are available for broader network security needs.
- Virtual private network. VPNs create encryption tunnels between your devices connected to the network and the internet to prevent unauthorized third-party access and monitor activities of your employees. It’s a much more secure way to access the internet. There are many VPNs on the market, but companies need something designed for businesses like NordVPN Teams. It ensures all employees can use the internet and access the network of the company safely.
- Data loss prevention. Human error leads to frequent critical data loss. Backups are essential not only for network security but also for organizational efficiency.
- Device security. Wireless devices are an essential part of the business. But they have as many security flaws as anything else. You must have tools to scan and sanitize all devices before allowing network connection.
- Firewalls. They are the backbone of network security. You need to be able to separate traffic that can or cannot flow between your network and the internet. It creates a wall to keep the bad guys out. Make sure to use enterprise-grade software like CISCO ASA.
- Network monitors. You should be able to get an exact picture of what’s happening on your network at any time. It includes event reporting and other tools to help you identify and respond to potential threats.
The Importance of Network Security
Businesses continue to rely on digital tools, so the importance of network security will only increase. Now’s the time to conduct an audit of your network. Are you doing all that you can to protect it? Begin implementing the tools above to make sure your company is safe from the infinite number of threats.