Virtually every business operating today faces internet security risks. If your business is equipped with computers, digital point-of-sale machines, credit card machines, or other networked equipment, then you should be aware of certain security risks posed by these devices. Even businesses simply, incidentally, offering or using WiFi face network security risks from malicious users and code. While you may have taken steps to increase security concerning customer or internal business information, there could be a significant weak link in your security chain. Read ahead to find out how to identify and correct weak links in your business’s network security. acls certification

Securing Devices for Your Business

Securing your business requires the knowledge of several security hardware and software devices and protocols. The overall security of your business entails everything from devices and systems like cameras, lighting, and alarm systems, to using encrypted, secure point-of-sales machines and internet protocols.

Security systems for business use include IR cameras, motion-detecting lights, and keypad-style alarm systems, which are often tied into your primary local network. Secure these devices by changing their default passwords and IP addresses, which are accessible as options through each device’s administrator panel.

Securing Your Business Network

Many businesses are equipped with a small local network, connecting several computers and terminals to a central administrative system. The first thing to know about setting up these kinds of networks is that each user should have a unique username and password. This will allow you to restrict access to authorized users, and discover the initiating source of any security breaches that may occur later on. If your network is wireless, as many are, then you should set up a secure, password-protected WiFi network with custom access limitations.

Access restrictions for your local network can be setup in your router’s administration panel. These settings are often left at the default levels, which is a common weak link among businesses. Instead of leaving your network at default settings, setup a custom administrator username and password, and tweak access controls to your liking. You can most often choose specific websites, IP addresses, and even times to restrict access to by changing your router’s settings.

Every terminal or station in your business should kept up to date using the standard Windows, Mac, or Linux software updates. This will help ensure that new vulnerabilities discovered by hackers never affect your systems. You should also fix any weak links involving your local machine policies. Start by barring USB devices from being plugged into your machines by employees. These devices often contain malware which can pose a great security risk to your business, even if the user is unaware of the malicious code.

Other Things You Can Do to Secure Your Business

Oftentimes, employee, customer, or user-behavior is responsible for leaks of company information or breaches in business security. Users may purposely or inadvertently allow your machines and data to be accessed by third-parties, which can then sell or take advantage of your sensitive financial information. The first step in preventing this kind of security breach is to fix the user-error weak link that is so common among businesses today. This can be done through training and monitoring of employee activity.

The best and most discreet way to monitor activity on your network is to install a network TAP. This is a device that passively captures traffic between two machines. For example, many business owners install a TAP between their router and modem to capture all internet traffic on their network. The TAP captures all data packets traveling through it, and makes a copy of each packet. The TAP then passes on the original data packets, undetectably. As the network administrator or business owner, you can then inspect the traffic going to and from your business’s machines. This will help you identify if employees and customers are using your equipment in accordance with your policies.

Finding the weak link in your security involves inspecting each system for potential vulnerabilities. Start your investigation by sealing off each machine and user with unique usernames and passwords. The next step in securing your business is to change and customize all settings on your network and security equipment. Lastly, you should consider installing a TAP on your network to monitor traffic and locate the cause of any security leak.

 

by: Rick Delgado