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Five ways to ensure enterprise network security

NetworkTigers provided five ways to ensure enterprise network security.

Nowadays, business networks are facing cyberattacks more than ever. An IBM report conducted in 2018 found that the average cost of data breaches globally rose to 6.4%, reaching $3.86 million. This means that network security should not be taken lightly, but be a top priority for the IT team tasked with securing your company’s network.

With the rising number of platforms, apps, and devices being used in the workplace, vulnerabilities to security breaches have increased significantly, making securing and monitoring all these devices difficult. So, how can you ensure enterprise network security to minimize cybersecurity threats? Keep reading to learn more.

How to make your enterprise network secure

Whether you’re in charge of the security of a big business network, run a small business, or work for yourself, there are some basic enterprise network security measures you should implement to ensure you have a defense against potential attacks.

Follow these simple steps to create a secure network:

Conduct a network audit

Before improving your network security, carry out an audit to know the current position of your business. This step is crucial because you can’t improve underperforming areas without identifying your weaknesses. 

The objective of performing a network security audit is to evaluate the following:

  • Unnecessary or unused apps running in the background
  • The overall health of apps, software, and computers
  • Anti-malware and anti-virus software
  • Potential security vulnerabilities
  • Backup schedule and history
  • Strength of your firewall

Keep in mind that the number of connected applications and devices running on your network plus the size of your company will determine the depth of your network security audit. 

Remember that an enterprise security audit is part of your overall cybersecurity policies and processes and focuses on the network itself.

Visitors or employees sharing sensitive data with hackers or walking out with information on memory sticks fall under cybersecurity while network security covers what users do on the network itself.

You can use the findings of a network security audit to create a plan for enhancing the areas identified as weaknesses, which can either be done through third-party network security companies or internally. 

Update anti-malware or anti-virus software

It’s not enough to ensure that all the devices connected to your network have adequate protection from such software. 

Most organizations buy anti-malware and anti-virus software that they deploy at an enterprise level to ensure all employee devices, such as mobile phones or laptops have this software installed in them whenever a new device is assigned to a staff member.

However, over time, the software becomes outdated and in most cases, workers rarely update the software again, exposing your network to vulnerabilities each time they connect. 

Since outdated software is one of the most common breach points for hackers, make updating your anti-malware and anti-virus software a priority, and a part of an ongoing and regular schedule for updating all employee software on connected devices across your business network.

Invest in a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN ensures online privacy for all your employees as it encrypts your network. VPNs make your online actions virtually untraceable by masking your internet protocol (IP). 

VPN services create encrypted and secure connections to offer greater privacy than a secured WiFi hotspot. Additionally, they block your browsing history, personal information, data, communications, and activities from potential cyber attackers. 

A VPN is an important line of defense if your workforce works remotely and connects to public WiFi networks regularly in places like airports or cafes as it protects files when using such networks.

Set up a network security maintenance system

Although your initial network security setup is important, it’s also crucial to establish a network security maintenance schedule that covers the following key actions:

  • Setting up a regular schedule for updating network passwords and names
  • Scheduling training on emerging security developments
  • Updating user passwords occasionally
  • Ensuring software is up to date
  • Creating regular activity reports
  • Conducting regular backups

These are some of the basic steps that you should include in your maintenance schedule. Depending on the complexity and size of your business, you may need to include more elements in your schedule to stay on top of network security threats.

You should also remain proactive because network security is an ongoing process.

Install a firewall

Like VPNs, a firewall is essential for your business network and you should make it a priority if you haven’t installed one in place. 

While a firewall can be set up on individual devices, your anti-malware or anti-virus software might include firewall protection. However, you can also install a firewall as a web application firewall (WAF) in addition to protecting individual devices.

A WAF protects web applications by monitoring and filtering HTTP traffic between the internet and a web application. Usually, a shield is placed between the internet and a web application when a WAF is deployed in front of web applications.

Proxy servers tend to protect the user machine’s identity using intermediaries while a WAF is a reverse proxy that protects computers from exposure by requiring users to pass through the WAF before reaching the computers. 

Installing a WAF is crucial for online stores that keep customers’ sensitive data as it can protect all your stored information.

Conclusion

Most network security breaches happen due to a lack of processes and the appropriate software. Every business whether large or small should invest in cybersecurity solutions such as Palo Alto Network Firewalls to protect both their network and devices from cyber threats. 

Maclean Odiesa
Maclean Odiesa
Maclean is a tech freelance writer with 7+ years in content strategy and development. She is also a pillar pages specialist and SEO expert.

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