The growing size of computer networks and internet use spike the number of security threats. Companies of all sizes are vulnerable to cyber, physical, and internal attacks. Even small businesses face network breaches, malfunctions, and even destruction.

These problems lead to significant expenses, bankruptcies, lost reputations, and many other unfortunate consequences. From identity theft to compromised data, companies all over the world suffer from poor network security practices.

Let’s take a closer look at network security importance and key ways to protect your data.

What is Network Security?

Network security is a set of measures aimed at protecting the integrity of your network, applications, and data. Implementing proper network security measures can keep your network safe and prevent dangerous breaches.

With a huge variety of online and offline connections, the importance of network security is especially high. Many companies face the challenge of keeping their data, hardware, and software safe from attacks.

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of businesses is taking proper network security measures. More often than not, companies don’t have time, money, and resources to implement them.

That’s why some of them choose to outsource network security to managed IT service providers.

Why is Network Security Important for Small Businesses?

Contrary to a common misconception, small businesses risk being attacked by cybercriminals as much as enterprises do. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercrimes increased by 600%. Today, 43% of cyberattacks target small companies.

Criminals have a variety of reasons to attack small businesses. They vary from sensitive data theft to stealing market share. Meanwhile, in case an attack occurs, small business owners have a lot to lose. Many of them can’t restore their reputation and end up selling their companies.

In many cases, poor network security is the problem faced by small businesses that simply don’t have sufficient funds to ensure proper safety measures. Meanwhile, large companies hire sizable IT departments that understand the importance of network security policies and implement them timely.

Common Types of Network Security Threats

As the number and variety of network security threats grow, the most common issues tend to stay the same. Both small and mid-size businesses suffer from the following problems.

1. Phishing Attacks

More than 90% of organizations experienced a phishing attack in 2019, and the numbers keep rising.  One of the key reasons why phishing attacks occur is the lack of education. Employees tend to leave loopholes for cybercriminals to take advantage of.

Proper network security measures include educating the employees about the dangers and details of cybersecurity threats like phishing attacks.

Since phishing attacks become more and more sophisticated every year, it’s important to arrange employee training on regular basis.

2. Malware Attacks

The second worst type of attack is a malware attack. It involves malicious software implementing itself in the network and executing unauthorized actions. It can involve stealing data, blocking the computer, monitoring network activities, and much more.

Malware attacks can have different purposes, but their consequences are often similar. For some businesses, facing a malware attack could lead to a lost reputation or bankruptcy.

These attacks can easily be prevented with proper employee education, strong security software, and control of access to network systems.

3. Ransomware Attacks

A ransomware attack involves criminals stealing data or blocking access to it. They promise to give the access back in exchange for payment. About 68% of American companies that face a ransomware attack pay the ransom.

Unfortunately, paying the ransom doesn’t always mean that you can recover your data or prevent criminals from releasing it to the public. In the most recent sizable ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline Company, the criminals provided the decoding software, which was excruciatingly slow. The company had to use the backup to recover some of its data.

Ransomware attacks can be prevented with proper network security measures that include staff education, strong security software, timely system updates, and thorough backups.

4. Internal Threats

One of the worst problems companies face are internal threats. When network security is compromised by employees, it can be hard to get back on track. That’s why it’s imperative to set up network security policies that regulate access to sensitive information and computer systems.

Additionally, it’s important to have a strong culture of security awareness within the organizations. Employees need to understand why network security is so important and see which steps the company takes to ensure it.

Key Reasons Why Network Security Is Important

The main reasons why network security is important include:

  •         High costs – each cyber or internal attack can lead to significant costs. From paying ransom to salvaging data, a company may not be able to recover financially. The cost of implementing network security measures is minuscule compared to the costly consequences of security breaches.
  •         Sensitive data – if you work with clients’ sensitive data, you are responsible for keeping it secure. Poor network security can cause you to lose the data. Besides hindered reputation, your company may face lawsuits.
  •         Requirements – depending on your industry, you may be required by law to implement specific network security measures. For example, medical organizations that work with patient data need to comply with HIPAA regulations.
  •         Rise of cybercrime – with cybercrimes becoming more and more sophisticated, the basic set of security activities is no longer viable. You need to work out high-quality network security measures regardless of your company’s size.  

Overall, if you have a business, you need to work on network security. Otherwise, you may face costly consequences, lost reputation, bankruptcy, and legal issues.

Top Steps to Improve Your Network Security

More often than not, small and mid-size businesses can do something to improve network security. Here are a few steps you can start making today.

  •         Check for software updates on all network infrastructure elements.
  •         Find out if your building or server room is properly secured.
  •         Install a high-quality network firewall.
  •         Get rid of unused software.
  •         Make sure you have excellent data backup protocols.
  •         Educate your employees about possible cyber threats.
  •         Install proper anti-virus software on all devices.
  •         Filter network access and traffic.

If you have a small IT department, it may not have sufficient time or resources to ensure proper network security. In this case, you may want to consider outsourcing the task to managed IT support providers.

If you understand the network security importance and want to find a reliable managed IT support company, you can take advantage of ITCompanies.net. Our resource is designed specifically to bring business owners and trustworthy IT service providers together.