As the frequency of data breaches and cyberattacks grows, the failure of companies to have stable counterattacks and security measures in place is no longer an option. Securing your company network when you move to a new office is critical to ensuring the security of your business and client data.
Cyberattacks are now a scary reality for every business, regardless of size or government stature. Although hackers often target large companies because of their size, small and middle-sized companies are more vulnerable because they lack the top-notch defenses of larger organizations.
You cannot afford to overlook or put off securing your new office space because the looming threat of malicious actors on a mission to destroy, hijack, or steal information is real.
Instead, you must be responsible and prepared to protect your network and systems against hackers. The following nine tips can help secure your new office network.
1. Create a Cyber Security Plan
A well-thought cybersecurity plan can protect your company’s critical infrastructure and information systems and reduce exposure to vulnerabilities. If you don’t have one, look at cybersecurity frameworks for guidance. You can even adopt an existing framework to meet your new office needs or develop one internally.
2. Secure All Hardware
Companies often place a lot of attention to acquiring the latest cybersecurity software, leaving out hardware security. The loss of devices connected to your office network is a real threat because attackers can use the gadgets to infiltrate your systems.
Secure your new office by protecting all the physical devices connected to it with complicated passcodes or other authentication requirements. You can also install location software such as ‘find my device’ on all laptops, tablets, and phones.
3. Physically Secure All Ports and Equipment
Hide and secure all network equipment such as routers, access points, and switches from visitors or public access. Intruders who gain access to these points could easily plugin and enter your network. Ensure all wall ports are behind desks or are in locations that visitors cannot access. Disconnect any open or unused public ports from your office network, or remove them altogether.
4. Encrypt Your Wi-Fi
Encrypting your Wi-Fi locks out unauthorized users from your office network. It is best to use WPA or WPA2 enterprise-mode security for your office network. This way, employees will not see your encryption password. It also reduces the chances of being hacked since you don’t store the passcode on multiple devices lest they get lost or stolen.
WPA-Enterprise uses 802.1X authentication, which experts recommend for office and business networks. All users must provide login credentials to gain access.
5. Encrypt and Back-Up Data
Apart from preventing the physical access to your office network, you also need to encrypt your data to render it useless should it fall into unauthorized hands. Data encryption is the best fix for data breaches if they occur. Encrypt all sensitive data, including business, customer, and employee information. Ensure that you activate and update the encryption software on all office devices.
Data backup is another necessary protection against security breaches. You can use it to restore your data if you suffer loss or a ransomware hack.
6. Put Up a Firewall and Restrict Access
Putting up a corporate firewall and restricting employee access is an essential step in securing your new office network. Some firewalls have an integrated VPN whose encryption provides additional protection. You can use a VPN as a security barrier between the employee PCs and your server. Hence, all computers on your network will work across an encrypted passageway whenever they access the server.
7. Create a VLAN for Guests
Never let guests or the public onto your private network to prevent eavesdropping, breaches, or hijacking of online accounts. If you must offer guest access, assign them to a separate LAN and SSID if your network equipment allows it. Otherwise, consider operating a different Internet connection and wireless router.
8. Invest in Cyber Security Insurance
Cybercriminals work tirelessly to find novel ways of breaching network security defenses, which means that all businesses are at risk of attacks. According to a 2019 IBM report, the average cost of a single breach was $3.92 million. To mitigate network breaches, get cybersecurity insurance. Seek specialist assistance to help you select the best cover for your business.
9. Educate Staff and Create a Secure Workplace Culture
Educate your staff on proper network security protocols to protect against breaches. Security is the responsibility of every employee. Thus, create a formal Internet policy for your business and ensure that everyone adheres to it.
Most businesses rarely think of the day-to-day threats of cyberattacks until they get affected. Having a cybersecurity plan to mitigate your biggest security vulnerabilities in place allows you to survive attacks and continue your operations. Protecting your new office space from cyberattacks requires several measures, including securing hardware and access points, encrypting your Wi-Fi, using a firewall, creating VLAN for guests, educating employees, and investing in insurance.