Securing both the company data and network is a massive undertaking. With cybersecurity threats being a constant problem for small, medium, and big businesses, this issue will only become more problematic.
People are now familiar with data security and why it’s important to protect it both on personal and professional levels. However, the nuances of cybersecurity, as well as the companies that provide these services, have grown substantially.
Simple tactics like password protection and employee training isn’t enough – though is helpful. Instead, there is talk of layered network security which tightens up security the best way that it can.
For those looking to set up layered network security, consider the following five layers.
Think of the firewall as the gateway guard. These programs determine what is allowed to get through to any computer and what gets blocked. This is ideal for blocking out most external threats. And this is a key component to keep in mind as a firewall can’t stop a user from giving unauthorized permission or access to programs.
In other words, a firewall can’t block malware if a user clicks on a link or downloads software off the internet.
The second layer to a stronger network security is antivirus. As pointed out above, firewalls can’t deal with anything from within. So, if there is malware or a virus that’s downloaded via an email or website, a firewall can’t do anything about it.
This is where an antivirus system comes in as it detects and blocks malware, viruses and other bugs that are working in the background. Antivirus systems work on predefined virus catalogues as well so they will be able to block any viruses they’re aware of.
However, antivirus solutions can hit a snag since malware, viruses, and spyware are constantly evolving on a daily basis. As such, if the antivirus purchased isn’t constantly updating and monitoring for new threats, then it won’t be able to do much to protect users.
Also note that not all antivirus software can block a user from disregarding warnings pertaining to clicking on bad links or downloading a file.
Email Spam Filters
The third layer is a spam filter. Everyone has email these days and and is exposed to getting plenty of spam. It’s annoying as it fills up inboxes and generally wastes people’s time. But email filters are key to network security as this is the most common avenue for cybercriminals to attack.
Cybercriminals know at this point that if they can send an email to thousands of people, they are bound to get someone to open the email, download a file or click a link.
All of this can be avoided by having a program that filters out spam. Do note that not all spam filters will catch everything, but they can prevent a bulk of it and that’s better than nothing at all.
DNS stands for Domain Name System. This system controls email delivery and allows users to browse websites. When its configured, a DNS filter will block employees from getting to specific sites. For example, with a DNS filter, it can block employees from checking social media or other blacklisted sites.
This system is great for security since it can block malware or viruses from spreading through networks. This layer isn’t impacted by regular users as much, but when it’s set up properly and managed, it can do a lot to protect users.
Employee Training & Education
The one thing to note about all security layers is that they have strengths and weaknesses. On their own, they can do some work in blocking threats, but combined, all the strengths play on each layer in some fashion and weaknesses are mitigated.
But what’s more important is that each layer – regardless of strengths and weaknesses – has one common weakness throughout: human error. To ensure the strongest security, it is vital for people to be familiar with all parts of these layers and to know how to set them up to use them properly.
Even with training, mistakes will happen. Some people will click a link in an email thinking it’s from a co-worker and they will download a file onto their computer — or an employee unknowingly gives cybercriminals their username & password information.
The frequency of errors can be reduced significantly when employees are familiar with security and have received training in this area.
These Are Important, But They’re Only A Start
These layers are only the start but there can be further ones added. It’s recommended to have more layers if possible. Even though this is a short list, it doesn’t mean the others aren’t as important.
It’s recommended that users look into these other areas for further security:
- Multi-factor Authentication
- Dark Web Monitoring
- Password Management/Protection
- Data Backups and Recovery
- Disaster Recovery Planning
- Regularly updating programs
- Security procedures for remote devices
- A yearly network security assessment at the minimum
Ultimately, the goal is to be as protected as possible while ensuring staff is educated and trained to mitigate risk.
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