What Are the Foundations of Great Network Security?

March 26, 2021

Roughly two decades ago, the extent of network security for a small business was having an antivirus program on the company computer. Today, the cyber landscape has changed dramatically, and threats are much more sophisticated and come in many different forms.

Some of the most prevalent threats that businesses in Bethlehem, PA and around the world face include:

  • Ransomware
  • Spyware
  • Viruses
  • Banking trojans
  • Phishing attacks
  • Automated bot attacks
  • Insider attacks & account breaches
  • Mobile malware
  • IoT device hacks
  • Fileless malware
  • Data leakage through apps that collect sensitive information

Just one cyber attack can put a smaller company out of business or have them struggling for years trying to repair the damage to their reputation.

Another layer of responsibility that has been added over the past several years is data privacy compliance through regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI, not to mention state data privacy rules. This puts further pressure on business owners to ensure they have a strong cybersecurity strategy, so they don’t face costly penalties for compromised customer or employee records.

Despite being well into the 2000s and the digital age, companies are still lacking some of the basics of good cybersecurity hygiene. According to the Sophos 2021 Threat Report, a lack of best practices is responsible for some of the more serious cyber incidents that companies had in 2020.

The report states, “A lack of attention to one or more aspects of basic security hygiene has been found to be at the root cause of many of the most damaging attacks we’ve investigated.”

What are THE most important foundations to put in place when it comes to network security?

If you have the following building blocks in place, you can help ensure your business is protected from multiple online threats.

Next-Gen Firewall

A firewall is a protective ring around your network that monitors all traffic going in and out. Next-gen firewalls are designed using AI-powered features and machine learning that enable them to catch zero-day malware and other sophisticated threats.

A good firewall protects your entire network and all the devices on it by acting as a gatekeeper and automatically neutralizing any threats before they can make it to your devices and data.

Managed Antivirus/anti-malware

A simple antivirus program is not generally enough to keep a network safe and well protected. Today’s threats use AI themselves and have evolved into using no malware at all (fileless malware), and instead sending malicious commands to legitimate system processes.

Proactive and managed antivirus/anti-malware doesn’t just wait until a threat reveals itself, it hunts down threats by looking for any suspicious behaviors on a network and then quarantines those threats immediately.

DNS Filtering

Also called web filtering, DNS filtering has become a vital pillar for prevention of data breaches and malware infections, which are overwhelmingly spread by phishing emails.

88% of phishing emails use links to malicious sites rather than file attachments. Why? Because a link doesn’t technically contain any malware, so it skirts past many types of anti-malware programs and email filters.

DNS filtering protects a company network by blocking malicious sites that contain malware or fake login forms designed to steal passwords. If someone accidentally clicks the link in a phishing email, the DNS filter will redirect the user to a warning page instead of the site.

Password & Access Security

Hackers love to get their hands on passwords to company cloud storage accounts or cloud platforms. Stealing passwords has now become the #1 goal of phishing attacks. 

It’s important to address password and access security, which can be done in a few ways:

  • Use multi-factor authentication for all logins.
  • Use a business password manager to prevent the use of weak passwords.
  • Use advanced authentication, such as adding challenge questions to higher level accounts or when someone is logging in from outside a certain region.

Ongoing Employee Cybersecurity Training

About 78% of network breaches can be attributed to human error. This can come in the form of accidentally clicking on a phishing email, leaving passwords unsecured, or not properly handling sensitive customer information.

Your employees are one of the main foundations of your entire cybersecurity infrastructure. Well trained employees mean fewer mistakes that cause major compromises.

It’s important that employees are trained regularly on IT security, with short refreshers throughout the year so they can hone their skills. An ongoing emphasis on cybersecurity also lets employees know that its important to your business, so it should be important to them as well.

Device Security

Network breaches often come from a breached computer or mobile device. A trojan or ransomware file infects a device and then travels through the network to infect as many other devices as possible.

Having visibility into all endpoint devices on your network is important as well as ensuring each is secure through timely update management, managed anti-virus, etc.

Annual Vulnerability Assessments

The cybercrime landscape is always changing and evolving, which means the protections you put in two years ago, may no longer be keeping your network fully secure.

It’s important to have annual network vulnerability assessments to ensure your security is still strong and identify any new areas of weakness that need to be addressed.

Automate Your Cybersecurity With Lehigh Valley Technology

Lehigh Valley Technology can help your Pennsylvania business automate your cybersecurity strategy and put a solid foundation in place that protects you from devastating breaches and data compromise.

Schedule a consultation on network security today by calling 610-866-2828 or contacting us online.