By Mitch Rice
The amount of cyberattacks has increased massively during the pandemic. Most companies struggle to guard their data properly against security breaches, especially with their employees working remotely. This results in the threats costing around $6 trillion a year.
Moreover, considering the risk of cybersecurity threats like data leakage, customers can start losing trust in online companies. This can result in a bad reputation and loss of income.
This article will tell you more about network security, why it’s a crucial element for all websites, and how to use it to keep your data secure.
What is Network Security?
Network security refers to the security rules and practices that prevent unauthorized people from accessing your data and network.
It can be split into four parts:
- Protection. Configuring suitable tools and policies that can protect your network.
- Detection. Monitoring the system and updating configuration whenever available.
- Response. Solving the security threats.
- Recovery. Restoring services that have been weakened and improving the security strategy.
Each part is essential for full protection against potential security breaches and cyberattacks. Without paying close attention to all of these aspects, your website will not be secure.
Why Network Security is Crucial
Network security protects your personal and client data, including passwords and credit card information. Ensuring you have a protected network and are fully compliant with the security regulations does not only protect sensitive information but also helps gain trust from clients or customers.
Network security also helps block malware from entering your computer. So you won’t have to deal with the risks, such as access restrictions to your own files and malware spreading to other devices.
6 Ways to Protect Your Network Security
Here, you’ll look at six methods to keep your network secure.
1. Install a Firewall
A firewall refers to the barrier between your internal network and untrusted external networks, like the internet. It builds rules that permit or block traffic to your network.
Some hosting providers include a firewall with their hosting plans. For example, all Hostinger’s plans come with Cloudflare, which is a DNS firewall you can check out here.
Firewalls can be hardware and software.
By default, your router functions as a hardware firewall, and Windows acts as the software. However, if you need more features, like advanced filtering rules and reporting, installing an additional firewall may be necessary.
For the third-party firewall software, one of the top options is Glasswire. It has many helpful features, like nice-looking graphs of network activity and system file change detection.
If you need firewall hardware, one of the famous brands is Untangle. This brand comes with a wide range of options and pre-installed firewall OS.
2. Build Proper Access Controls
Proper access controls manage the flow of people entering your network by blocking and granting their permissions. It helps monitor the users’ activity and prevent potential unwanted access.
To use this tool, consider installing Network Access Control (NAC) software. Some of the top software are Cisco ISE, Aruba ClearPass, and FortiNAC.
However, NAC may be an expensive investment, especially for small businesses. Therefore, consider your needs and calculate your resources before purchasing them.
3. Regularly Update Your Passwords
Having your account accessed by an unauthorized party is annoying and dangerous. That’s why regular password changes are a must in order to prevent intrusion.
Try to update your passwords every three months. This time frame lowers the chances of someone hacking your account by guessing the password, as it’s always changing.
However, many people tend to choose very memorable and hackable passwords, like password1 and password2. Although this makes it easier to remember them, it undermines your efforts of regular updates as they’re too easy to guess.
Instead of memorizing your passwords, try to use a password manager like LastPass or Bitwarden. They store all passwords for different accounts in a secure location, and you only need to remember a master password to access them.
4. Create Security-Focused Company Cultures
The human factor can be one of the most significant security vulnerabilities, especially if you work with many people. Some of them may not be aware of how cybersecurity works, which can risk the safety of the entire business.
To make sure everyone understands basic cybersecurity practices, consider educating all employees even if they’re not part of the IT department. The training can include identifying suspected phishing, creating strong passwords, and setting up antimalware.
Frequent reminders about the threats and regular simulations will also help keep them aware of network security.
5. Encrypt Your Files
Encryption keeps sensitive files secure. When you encrypt your files, the system will turn the data to be unreadable, and only the intended recipients can decode them. So even though hackers can get the file, they can’t read it because they don’t have the tools to do so.
Windows lets the users encrypt their files in simple steps:
- Right-click a file or folder.
- Click Properties -> Advanced.
- Tick the Encrypt contents to secure the data check box.
- Select OK -> Apply.
An alternative is installing encryption software like ESET. It protects sensitive data with full-disk encryption and multi-factor authentication, meaning you’ll have several layers of protection.
6. Use a Network Drive
A network drive, or network-attached storage (NAS), is a shared folder accessible over a Local Access Network (LAN).
It can prevent data loss as it’s a central storage location, making it easier to back up. Also, to protect against unauthorized users, this drive only lets administrators grant or reject user access permissions.
Setting up a network drive for each OS is slightly different. But generally, you have to make sure the computers share the same network and map it from one of the computers for quick access to the files.
Network security refers to policies and techniques that help keep your data secure and protect you from cybersecurity threats like malware and phishing.
Some of the methods are relatively easy to apply, like changing passwords regularly, training employees about security practices, and setting up a basic firewall.
Meanwhile, others may require extra effort or funding, like installing advanced security software and hardware. Whichever option you choose, we hope it helps to protect your business and your clients.