When businesses connect their systems and computers, one user's problems may affect everyone on the network. Despite the many benefits of using networks, networking raises a greater potential for security issues such as:
- data loss
- security breaches
- malicious attacks, such as hacking and viruses
You can implement measures to reduce your network's vulnerability to unauthorised access or damage. It may not be possible, or economically practical, to eliminate all vulnerabilities, so performing an IT risk assessment is important in deciding what measures to implement.
Dealing with common network security issues
Typical preventive measures to help you avoid network security threats include:
- security devices such as firewalls and anti-virus software
- security settings in the router or the operating system
- data encryption systems for sensitive data
- data backup, including the use of off-site backup
- restricting access to the network infrastructure to authorised personnel only
- training staff in the safe and secure use of the equipment
As well as training staff, you should also implement policies and rules for computer use in the workplace. You should let your staff know that misuse of networked equipment can be regarded as misconduct and may result in disciplinary action.
Find sample IT policies, disclaimers and notices for your business.
Importance of regular network administration and housekeeping
Regular maintenance of your computer network is an essential part of keeping your systems running smoothly and securely. Redundant data, disused software, forgotten mailboxes and remains of old updates can slow down your network system, potentially causing efficiency and productivity issues for business.
It is important to ensure data security through regular housekeeping such as:
- backing up files
- password routines
- system logs
- removing access from employees who leave
As your data will be stored in one location on the server, physical security is also very important. Find out more about server security.
Virtual private networks (VPN) security
If your staff need to access the network while off-site, consider a virtual private network. This creates a secure link and protects information sent and received. Find out more about advanced computer networks: intranets, extranets and VPNs.
Whichever technology solution you select, security should be a priority. If you're unsure how to proceed, seek expert advice from your internet service provider, system provider, installer or an adviser. You may also want to read more about cyber security for business.