Secure your hardware

Securing your hardware is an often overlooked and simple step you can take to secure your network. The best firewalls and anti-virus systems are rendered useless if burglars steal your equipment, servers, laptops, and mobile phones.

Lock your servers and related equipment behind a locked door and secure them with server racks. Use cable locks to secure your laptops and desktops to their desks. Protect your facilities with cameras, locks, and alarm systems. All of these items can slow down would-be burglars and the more time it will take them, the more likely they will lose interest in continuing their crime.

Secure your Wi-Fi

Many hacking victims are compromised via wireless networks, through a technique called “war driving.” In cars outfitted with high-powered antennas, hackers drive around, scanning for unlocked or poorly protected networks. Once a vulnerable wireless network is found, the hackers can now search your network for vulnerable passwords and data.

There are a few steps you can take to secure your wireless network. One easy way is to mask your Service Set Identifier or SSID. The SSID is broadcasted out by your wireless router or access point and provides an easy way for any potential hackers to discover your wireless network and attempt to compromise it.

Also make sure you are using the latest encryption standards. Most wireless routers and access points come with a few encryption algorithms of which only one is still secure. Wired Equivalent Privacy or WEP is an old standard that can easily be broken by any computer in mere seconds. Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 or WPA2 is the current standard and coupled with a strong pre-shared key creates a barrier to entry that will ward off even the most determined of hackers.

Install anti-virus

Nothing scares your users more than hearing about the dreaded computer viruses that are waiting to infect their computers at the blink of an eye. Worse, many of today’s malware conceal themselves as legitimate programs at sit unnoticed on the user’s hard drive feeding information about the computer and network back to the hacker on the other side. The good news is these threats can be managed and stopped with proper anti-virus.

Investing in a reputable anti-virus is a great step you can take into securing your network. Most commercial anti-virus suites provide your administrators a central management console where they can monitor your user’s anti-virus installs and apply updates and deal with threats all without your users having to do a thing. They also can come bundled with other features such as URL filtering to help prevent malware from being installed in the first place.

Educate your employees  

Educating your employees is a simple yet great step you can take to help secure your small business network. Many network intrusions are the result of well-meaning employees clicking that innocuous e-mail attachment or hyperlink that turns out to be a virus destroying all your hard work in securing your network.

Even a small amount of training to help employees recognize potential threats such as phishing e-mails, bad URL’s, and social engineering attempts will go a long way into securing your network. Keeping your users up to date with the latest vulnerabilities is also important. A quick company-wide e-mail detailing the vulnerability and what steps your users should take to secure themselves and your network will provide your users with the due diligence that you are keeping them safe from the ever changing and evolving world of malware.

Create Acceptable Use Policies

Carrying on from educating your employees is creating computer and internet policies to protect your network. Without good Acceptable Use Policies, your users will have no direction in what they are and are not allowed to do while on your company network which is a breeding ground for not only malware and other threats, but also losses to productivity and network performance.

There are plenty example Acceptable Use Policies on the internet that can be used as a template. Change the policy to suit your specific needs and then ensure your employees understand and abide by the policy.