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Five Steps for Maintaining Business Network Security

A photo by Rayi Christian Wicaksono. unsplash.com/photos/6PF6DaiWz48Has your company been hacked? Recently Oracle, The Wendy’s Company, and Eddie Bauer discovered their data systems had been breached. If you have not taken a close look at your business network security in the last year—it is time.

Our business offers a suite of IT services to help companies reduce their costs and improve their IT infrastructure, function, and security. We work closely with our clients to assess, deter, and mitigate data threat.

Cyber threat is a great leveler. Although enterprise businesses invest in robust network systems, those systems reside in a linked digital ecosystem. Network security is only as strong as its weakest link. For Wendy’s or Eddie Bauer and many other companies, the weakest link is a often a point of sale (POS) device managed by a third party vendor.

Business network security and third party vendors

While social engineering, insider threat, and poor security practices contribute to a weak network security profile, the errant actions of a third party contractor can act as the equivalent of an open door to hackers with any level of sophistication.

To improve network security, consider the following four tips:

  1. Assessment: Understand your network vulnerabilities before you consider solutions. Detection of gaps in your security is essential to depicting your current state. Work with a specialist or a qualified vendor to understand and remediate the potential for data loss.
  1. Best practices: Develop and deploy best practices, protocols, and training to protect your network and data assets, and educate employees about digital risk.
  1. The need for trained cyber specialists: In small to medium size businesses, IT hires are often expected to wear several hats. While managing your hardware and software, these managers are also expected to be knowledgeable about threat, capable of real-time monitoring, and experienced with deterrence and mitigation. If you have IT personnel who are not security specialized, work with qualified vendors who offer these services. Cyber security is diverging as a specialized form of IT activity.
  1. Stay current: Be sure you have the latest versions or updates to your software or operating platform. It may sound obvious—but we often point out that software is not set and forget. Networks and their components require updating, just as passwords need to be routinely changed.
  1. Considering a third party vendor? If you work with a third party vendor, or have plans to do so in the future, do your research now. In compliance-sensitive industries, third party vendors have access to sensitive information. Too often, bad actors use social engineering or other tactics to obtain passwords or login credentials and gain access to a larger network. Target became the classic example of this ploy in 2013, when hackers gained access to customer credit card information passing through POS devices via a heating and air conditioning vendor who worked with the retail giant.

The strength of your business network security is critical to your profitability and brand reputation. Poorly managed network security leaves you open to data breach, potential lawsuits and loss of intellectual and financial assets.

When you have questions about network security, or data compliance—we can help.

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