Three Steps to Prevent Vulnerabilities From Showing Up on Your Network

Three Steps to Prevent Vulnerabilities
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 The number of cyberattacks on small businesses goes up every year, and attacks are only expected to escalate. It’s too late to ditch company networks: our companies depend on them, and our clients and customers expect us to provide the benefits these kinds of networks offer. But everyone dependent on your company’s robust network structure also expects excellent vulnerability management, which keeps data safe while ensuring minimal downtime and disruption.

1. Secure Your Software

Software is one of three key areas that can make you vulnerable. Even the simplest of networks have lots of applications running, usually on multiple machines and even operating systems. If even one of those applications on one of those operating systems has a major flaw, it could open up your whole network.

Manage Software

Don’t let anyone put software on your machines without approval from qualified IT professionals like those we employ at Edafio. IT managers must know what’s on the devices, keep up with any necessary security patches, and protect employees from accidentally installing Trojan horse software that might penetrate your network.

Also, making it too hard for employees to get the software they need doesn’t make things safer. It frustrates them until they’re tempted to just go around IT whenever possible. A proactive, personable team of IT experts on your side will help.​​​

Keep Software Updated

Outdated software is unsafe software. Your IT team must keep up-to-date on every application you use, constantly checking for updates and patches and installing them. IT professionals also know how to check on software developers and determine which ones are properly patching and which ones may be letting things slide.

It’s even more important to have the best IT team on the case if you’re dealing with software that was written in-house, which can be much more vulnerable to zero-day exploits.

Keep Software Configured

Software is only safe when properly configured, and a lot of software defaults to prioritizing usability rather than security. While that might work in some cases, your IT team should go through all software and make the right choices for you. This could mean things like changing the default names of files, directories, passwords, and login items and appropriately configuring a VPN.

2. Secure Your Hardware

The physical hardware your network uses is as vulnerable as the software. Any device can be problematic if it’s not guarded and managed well. Your IT team needs to be ready to replace anything that becomes obsolete and no longer eligible for security patches. Some other essential things to do are:

Keep Up With Your Firewall

This is your first line of defense, and this could be part of your router, a virtual device, or a separate physical device. The default configurations for firewalls are often not secure enough: these aren’t really plug-and-play devices. Ensure your IT team has carefully configured which ports are open, and they’re offering access only when they should be. Remember, too, that you might need more than one firewall for good vulnerability management.

Keep Things Physically Safe

A bad actor doesn’t need to break into your network virtually if they can gain physical access to your devices. It just takes a moment for someone who knows what they’re doing to put malware on a machine. This can be done by a person gaining physical access to your devices, but it can also happen via a malicious USB drive.

 These are often sent as “gifts” to employees and, once plugged into the computer, immediately install their malware. Your managed IT services will be able to keep employees trained on how to avoid these kinds of malicious attempts to compromise your network.

Watch Those IoT Devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a whole ecosystem of products that we don’t really perceive as vulnerabilities, from smart refrigerators to smart thermostats and more. The very thing that makes these devices so useful is their primary weakness. They’re made to be dummy-proof: anyone can set one up and get it working with just the password to an internet system and very little tech savvy.

 When you add to this the fact that IoT devices are often cheaply made with little to no thought about their security and the fact that many can’t be configured or have their firmware updated, you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen. Your smartest move here is to buy only secure devices from reputable vendors and run every new IoT device by your IT professionals. If you need something that doesn’t pass muster, segregate it to a subnet with restricted network access.

Train Your People

The best computer systems in the world can be breached if they fail at the point where users interact with them. Most of the time, employees who cause a security breach don’t mean to do so, but without training, any employee can present a risk to vulnerability management.

Work on Authorizations

Most people know that weak passwords are a danger, yet many continue to use them because they simply don’t have the brain space to remember better ones. The safest thing to protect your network is using only unique code generated by password generators. A good password manager will keep these safe and allow your people to access a needed code if they cannot memorize it.

Be sure to have your IT team add multi-factor authorization to your network, too. It’s much harder to steal a password if you also have to find a way to access other forms of approval, like a mobile app or text message.

 Teach Smart Scam Awareness

Cyber thieves love to trick people into giving them information, whether that’s through fake websites, phishing emails, or even phone calls and “gifts.” If a bad actor can convince one of your employees that an email asking for their security info is coming from you, your network becomes vulnerable. Robust security training will teach your employees how to recognize these scams and authenticate any message before responding.

These are just a few ways to protect your network, and doing so has never been more critical. At Edafio, we provide intelligent technology and truly business-oriented solutions tailored to your needs, so your business can thrive. Contact us now at Edafio Technology Partners to learn how we can secure your network.

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