What is Network Security? Defined, Explained, and Explored
Network security is the process of protecting your company's infrastructure from being accessed by unauthorized parties for the purposes of theft or misuse. Many people believe that large businesses and government organizations are the primary targets of hackers and cyber threats.
Therefore, you may be surprised to learn that network security for businesses is equally important for smaller organizations. This is because hackers are looking for the easiest way to access money and data. Smaller businesses are often under protected and offer the path of least resistance. In fact, the number of cyber criminals who set their sights on small businesses is on the rise.
INTERNAL VS EXTERNAL THREATS
Network security for businesses involves more than protection against external unscrupulous sources. While most of us are well versed in the dangers of external threats, there are also a host of potential internal threats that are either negligent or even malicious in nature.
- Negligence - Most employees do their best to follow security protocols and simply make an error, such as falling prey to phishing scams. Others may not take the critical nature of internal threats seriously and may be sharing data on unsecured devices. You can drastically reduce negligent events by choosing a network security service that offers awareness training for your employees.
- Malicious - Fraud, selling industry secrets, and external collusion are all examples of employees using confidential information for financial gain. Disgruntled employees often pose the biggest threat to your business either by theft or sabotage.
Detecting and responding to internal threats can be complex, and hiring an in-house cyber security specialist can be expensive. A network security provider offers comprehensive service at less expense.
External threats have escalated drastically in recent years. Hackers are relentless and will execute password attacks at the rate of 1,000 per second. After getting into your network, they can stay inside for months, extract information, and disappear before you realize it. Here are how some of them work:
- Phishing - Small businesses are most vulnerable to phishing email scams, because it's relatively easy to identify who to send these emails to. A quick scan of your company website or a social media search is all it takes for a cyber criminal to access that information. Your network security provider should provide web content filtering to block these types of threats.
- Malware - Malware is an umbrella term for numerous programs, including trojans and viruses, that access your network. They use a code or file to steal information or conduct malicious activities. In addition to stealing data, these programs can allow a hacker to use an infected machine remotely or send out spam.
- Malvertising - This is a newer threat that places a malicious code in digital ads, which puts every customer and potential customer at risk. Since they show up on legitimate advertising networks, users feel comfortable clicking on banner ads or video content. One click and your customer's computer is infected with a program that can wreak absolute havoc. They likely will not feel comfortable visiting your website again.
- Ransomware - In this attack, malware is used to collect your valuable data. As the name suggests, the cyber criminal holds your information hostage until you pay a ransom to recover it. At least half of all companies targeted are small to medium sized businesses and the results are often devastating, putting many small businesses out of business within months. To make matters worse, repeat attacks are common.
THE REMOTE WORKER RISK
Covid-19 has upped the ante for network security for businesses with the advent of hybrid workplaces. With more employees splitting their time between working in the office and working remotely on personal devices, the risks of network security breaches have risen exponentially. This is due to:
- Employees picking up bad security habits while working from home
- Bringing their infected personal devices to work with them and inadvertently injecting malware into your network
- Much of the malware that will spread throughout your network is the deadly ransomware
It is imperative that your network security service provides endpoint security to protect all devices your employees are using.
Other important protections to look for when choosing a network security provider include:
- Automatic restriction of emails with suspicious attachments
- Block expensive ransomware attacks and data breaches
- Multi-factor identification checks before any employee can access your company's information
- Strict confirmation protocols before an employee can transmit sensitive data
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
There are over 450,000 malware and PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) being created every single day. The risks to your small business are absolutely overwhelming. New technologies are rapidly being developed, but it's a challenge to keep up with them on your own while running your business. Contact Networx IT Solutions for your free consultation. It's our business to keep your business safe.