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The Ultimate Guide to Business Network Security

Modern businesses across every industry face more cyber threats than ever before. As the number of devices and applications used for work increases with the rise in hybrid environments and cloud computing, vulnerability to cyber attacks has grown exponentially. In fact, a 2021 study found that hackers can penetrate 93% of business networks.1 

Considering these mounting threats, improving business network security is a top priority for many IT leaders. Read on to learn why network security is essential, a few common threats to watch out for, network security best practices, and more in this comprehensive guide.

Why Is Network Security Important?

Businesses without a robust network security strategy are prime targets for cyber criminals. Hackers are constantly seeking new vulnerabilities to exploit, and breaching the minimal defenses of unsecured networks isn’t much of a challenge for them. 

A single cyber attack costs businesses of all sizes $200,000 on average – regardless of whether it’s a data breach, malware, ransomware, or DDoS attack. And worse yet, many companies affected go out of business within six months after an attack.2 Aside from significant upfront profit loss, cyber attacks can also result in:

  • Operational downtime
  • Regulatory fines
  • Loss of customer trust
  • Reputational damage
  • Legal fees
  • Higher insurance premiums


How Remote Work Affects Network Security

The rise in work-from-home initiatives has directly impacted the cost of data breaches, with an additional $1 million lost on average where remote staff was a factor in the breach.3 While remote and hybrid workplaces boast many benefits for employers and employees alike, businesses must adapt their network security strategies to meet the new risks introduced by these environments. 

Luckily, emerging technologies are seeing rapid adoption in response to modern security challenges for businesses. Solutions like SD-WAN, mobile device management (MDM), and managed security services are changing how businesses achieve secure, reliable network connections. These solutions help companies boost network security – even with a remote workforce.


Common Network Security Threats

Strengthening your network security starts with taking proactive steps to identify the most common threats facing your organization – and learning how to defend against them. Here are the five most common cyber threats to prepare for:

  • Malware - Malware typically infiltrates business networks through infected email attachments or malicious website links. These seemingly innocent links prompt a user to download software for the website to load or function properly, which then infects the system.
  • Comprised Admin Accounts - Hackers accessing administrative credentials can change settings, install malicious programs, and manage employee accounts, potentially taking control of your entire network.
  • Physical Device Access - If a cyber criminal gains access to an unsecured physical device such as an employee’s laptop, they can introduce malware, steal data, or even reset the password so that the intended user loses access.
  • Insider Threats - Anyone with access to your data and network, including employees and third-party vendors, can easily delete data or introduce malware to the system.
  • Password Compromise - If your company doesn’t have a strong password policy, hackers may gain access to your network by cracking weak passwords or using a repeated password to expose multiple accounts.


Network Security Best Practices

There are several best practices your IT team can implement today to improve your network security and protect your business. Here are our top tips:

Secure Your Remote Staff

Around 83% of companies currently have a BYOD policy that allows employees to use personal devices for work,5 which typically aren’t as secure as in-office devices. Add to this the fact that remote employees often access mission-critical data and applications from home or public networks, and the risks of compromising your systems increase exponentially. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce these risks using measures like security awareness training and adopting a zero trust model. This infographic provides a quick overview:

View Infographic

Minimize Insider Threats

Insider threats – whether they’re accidental or malicious – are responsible for over 20% of all cyber security incidents.4 Safeguard your organization against these threats by:

  • Implementing easy-to-understand policies detailing the repercussions of negligence or malicious intent.
  • Putting systems in place to quickly identify data breaches and their sources.
  • Taking preventative measures like restricting third-party access, monitoring user data, and purging dormant accounts.

Train Your Employees

Insider threats aren’t always malicious. Often, they’re simply a result of employee negligence or a lack of awareness. The most effective way to combat this type of insider threat is to provide your staff with regular training on cyber security best practices and reinforce their knowledge with weekly reminders or activities.

Take a Proactive Approach

Being proactive when defending and protecting your network can save businesses money, time, and headaches in the event a data breach occurs. A proactive approach to network security typically includes collaborating with network security experts, planning for new technology implementations, deploying a layered approach to cyber security, and more. 


How Does Working With an MSP Improve Network Security?

While there are many steps you can take to reduce the risk of cyber threats affecting your business, one of the best strategies for improving your overall network security is to work with an experienced managed security provider. 

With managed security, you can rely on 24/7 network monitoring and management, automatic software patching, the latest antivirus programs, and more. Your provider can also conduct vulnerability audits and implement emergency incident responses should a breach occur, simplify risk management, and fortify your organization’s compliance efforts.

Outsourcing your security efforts to an MSP is even more beneficial for businesses with remote or hybrid workforces. As you’ve learned in this guide, remote work creates more vulnerabilities within your network. A managed security provider can reduce these vulnerabilities by implementing a multi-layer control defense that combines user authentication protocols, end-point security measures, and network security policy enforcement. These measures ensure your work-from-anywhere staff is secure no matter where they are.

Not sure if your organization would benefit from working with an MSP? Navigate through this checklist to find out.

Download Checklist


Boost Your Network Security With Xceptional

Improving your business network security strategy should be priority number one. If you’re unsure where to start, Xceptional can help. We deliver comprehensive network security solutions tailored to your organization’s unique needs, backed by responsive and capable IT support. Trust Xceptional for:

  • 24/7 managerial support and monitoring.
  • Proactive security detection, alerting, and response.
  • Regularly-scheduled system updates and automatic patching.
  • Performance and issue resolution transparency.

If you have questions about how to improve your network security, or you’re ready to embrace the Xceptional experience with a knowledgeable, security-focused partner, contact us today.