Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are just as vulnerable to cyberattacks as larger enterprises, with over 70% of SMBs targeted by cybercriminals, according to research by Keeper University. Since cyberattacks can devastate SMBs and irreparably damage their bottom line, it’s important that business owners do everything they can to keep their networks safe.
Here are 10 steps you can take today to protect your network from hackers and data breaches.
1: CHANGE THE NETWORK NAME
The default network name generally reveals the make and model of your router. If cybercriminals are looking for a network to infiltrate, it’s much easier for them to gain access if they know these details.
Change your network name to something straightforward so that the desired people can find your network but you aren’t making it easy for criminals to infiltrate your router.
2: TURN OFF WPS
WPS stands for Wi-Fi protected setup. WPS makes it easy to pair a device with an encrypted network. Although this may seem useful in the workplace, it allows unauthorized users to gain access to your network by pairing a device. Turn off WPS unless it’s absolutely necessary for your business.
3: DISABLE OR LIMIT DHCP
DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. The DHCP in your router decides what IP addresses are assigned to devices connected to the network.
Limiting the DHCP range stops users outside the range from accessing the network, which is useful in small (or shared) office spaces working within a confined range. You can also disable DHCP and manually assign IP addresses to each device for extra protection.
4: COLLECT NO MORE DATA THAN NECESSARY
The less data you collect, the less data there is for hackers to illegally obtain. Similarly, hackers will find you an attractive target if you collect very personal data such as social security numbers. Only collect and store the data you need for your business operations.
Since all businesses collect data from customers, it’s important that customers know precisely what data you collect and what you do with it. Robust privacy and security policies give customers more confidence in your network security, and they’re more likely to trust you with their data. Review your policies regularly, especially if your business needs change.
6: MULTI-LAYERED PROTECTION
Adopt different layers of protection, including firewalls, spam filters, antivirus programs, and password authentication. These very simple steps make it harder for hackers to penetrate your network and the information stored on it.
7: TRAIN STAFF
Ensure that your staff are properly trained on cybersecurity policies, phishing scams, and mobile device use. Make sure that staff know how to keep your network secure and what to do if they identify any security threats.
8: PROTECT MOBILE DEVICES
It’s important that mobile devices accessing a network are properly secured with the latest security programs, strong password authentication, and spam filters. Employees shouldn’t access your network from unsecured devices, and remote or mobile devices connected to a network should always be scanned for viruses.
9: CHECK APS
Access points (APs), enable access to your network. Make sure there aren’t any unauthorized APs that aren’t properly configured, and periodically scan your network for rogue APs.
10: PRIVATE AND PUBLIC ACCESS NETWORKS
A service set identifier, or SSID, lets you provide two points of network access – one for employees and one for guests. This keeps business data safe from outsiders. Segmenting a network like this also means that if hackers access the “public” section of the network, they can’t easily access the “private” side.