5 Factors that can Negatively Impact Your Business Network Security

These five factors may be threatening your enterprise network security.

Enterprise networking brings with it myriad challenges and obstacles, but none so potentially costly or time-consuming as network security. In fact, securing a network is arguably more challenging than any other aspect of network administration, from maintaining performance to troubleshooting, and everything else.

Why is that? Because network security is an ongoing, continuous process, and changing times and technology have left enterprises more vulnerable to security breaches than ever before. If you’re experiencing network security problems, look to these 5 factors first — they’re most likely to be at fault.

1. Outdated Security Solutions

Believe it or not, outdated network security measures can be just as bad as having no security measures at all. If your antivirus software or firewall hasn’t been updated in weeks or months, your systems simply aren’t protected. Installing next-generation firewalls, antivirus software, anti-malware, and anti-spyware systems is a good first step, but unless you keep your security software updated regularly, you’ll undo all of that progress.

New threats are introduced to the cyber universe every moment of every day; by some reports, there are a million new viruses released every 24 hours. That means that the security software you updated last month or last year will not be capable of addressing the majority of the threats that are out there now. When your antivirus software asks if you’d like to update, the answer should always be “yes” (as long as you’re sure the message is coming from your antivirus software).

2. Open WiFi

The vast majority of users have no idea how simple it is for a reasonably knowledgeable hacker to gain access to usernames, passwords, and other sensitive data over an open WiFi network. Open or public WiFi can prove not only dangerous to your private enterprise network; it’s also a hazard for the users who log on to it every day. Secure your WiFi network with robust login credentials and encryption. If possible, avoid pre-shared keys; if you must use one, change the PSK at regular intervals.

3. Untrained Users

While blunt force intrusions and rogue employee breaches certainly do occur in enterprise networking, most of the threats your network faces are the result of user error. Untrained users can expose your network to a number of threats, whether by opening a suspicious email, responding to phishing scams, watching Facebook and YouTube videos, online gaming, or visiting unsafe websites.

To address these pitfalls, IT managers should implement robust cybersecurity processes, and educate workers on network security best practices. In addition, it’s crucial to deploy a strong firewall with application visibility and control.

4. Bad BYOD Policies (or No BYOD Policies)

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD), or allowing employees to bring their own laptop, tablet, or cell phone to work, can be convenient and cost-effective. However, it also renders your network vulnerable to a number of potential network security threats. To combat this, your company should develop smart BYOD policies and enforce the rules rigorously.

In addition, you should ensure that your IT department possesses the technical capabilities necessary to effectively manage a BYOD-friendly work environment. For instance, do you have the power to wipe a device carrying sensitive corporate data in the event that a user’s device is lost or stolen? Can you remotely monitor the device when the user is on the go? Are you able to monitor when an unknown device logs on to the network? BYOD policies are only as effective as the technologies and technical capabilities that back them up.

5. Unchecked Shadow IT

Shadow IT” refers to any IT solutions that an employee deploys without the knowledge of your internal IT staff. Shadow IT may refer to consumer-grade cloud storage (i.e. Dropbox), mobile apps by unknown developers, or unauthorized devices. Even when users employ shadow IT as a network security solution, it can still open up your network to vulnerabilities.

That’s because shadow IT, much like BYOD, can easily expose your sensitive corporate data to cybercriminals. More importantly, breaches that occur outside the confines of your network are impossible to identify or remedy. For this reason, it’s vital that you take measures to control the security risk associated with shadow IT. One of the best ways to do this is by partnering with experienced IT professionals like Turn-key Technologies (TTI).

With nearly three decades of experience, the networking and cybersecurity experts at TTI can help enterprises of all sizes navigate each and every one of these challenges with cutting-edge security solutions designed to plug critical security vulnerabilities. Our highly-credentialed team of networking experts brings the expertise necessary to help IT departments manage the security of the networks they’re charged with defending — more cost-efficiently, and more responsively than any alternative. If you’d like to explore how TTI can help secure your enterprise against the threats posed by outdated security measures, open WiFi, untrained users, BYOD, or shadow IT, contact us today.

By Tony Ridzyowski

December 23, 2015

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