Every company wants their internal network to be safe and secure. You want to keep your data away from those that don’t need to see it and make sure that no one can access or change settings that could cause problems.
It is easy to lock everything down but that causes other issues with users then not being able to access systems remotely, complaining about internal ‘red tape’ and problems in emergency situations where someone has to get information quickly but doesn’t have the right permissions.
So how can you make your internal network secure but also make it practical?
There is no magic wand solution and users will need to be on-board with the idea that they may need to change some of their working practices but, as data loss or a security breach can have serious implications to your customer, supplier and staff relationships, there is a good case to be heard for implementing some best practices.
Here are a few things that you may wish to consider for your own network which should be inexpensive and relatively simple to implement.
- Enforce a password policy. Make sure all users have their own user account and password to access the network and that they do not share this information with anyone else. These passwords should be changed regularly (ideally monthly) and consist of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. If you have a Server on your network then this can be enforced automatically.
- Keep your Server Administration credentials secure. Do not give this information to everyone, it is the key to your data and whole network infrastructure! If you have 3rd parties that need to access your server or network to administer their software then give them their own log in account with specific access rights. That way you can also monitor when they are logging in. Or better still, ask them to utilise a secure remote access system such as team Viewer or LogMeIn where you need to instigate the connection.
- Set up you folder and file structure so that it is easy to implement security permissions. For example, keep all your HR and personnel related documents in folder, with sub folders underneath. Permission to this can then easily be restricted to the Users in the Personnel User Group.
- Make sure remote access is secure and via encrypted services such as a secure VPN or Windows 2012 Server Remote Access services. Ensure that remote access passwords are secure and that each user has their own credentials.
- Make sure that laptops, mobile phones and tablets are all secured with pin codes and passwords. Turn on remote wipe so that any corporate information and remote connections can be deleted should your device be lost or stolen.
- Use encryption facilities, such as BitLocker, on portable devices and ideally do not hold any data locally.
- Make sure your wireless network is secure. If you wish to give external users Internet access, set up a separate SSID with access only to the internet and check to make sure this does not give access to your server or network data.
This article is really just the tip of the iceberg. How far a Company goes to secure its network will depend largely on the type of data they hold and its potential importance and value to other people. For example, a firm of builders is not likely to store data or information that would be of great value to anyone else. A firm of Financial Advisers on the other hand may hold data on its clients that could be used for identity theft. But at the end of the data, any unauthorised access to your network should be cause for concern and it will be of more concern if you are not the first to find out about it!
If you would like help in securing your network or would like a free IT consultancy session to discuss security issues, please contact us.
Summary for LinkedIn & Google Plus
How secure is your network? Do you know who has access to your data? What would happen if you lost your phone or laptop with all your business contacts? A security breach and data theft can be a company’s downfall so how can you protect yourself but still give your employees some degree of freedom to work?