Most small businesses underestimate their need for network security on the basic assumption that they are too small to hack. While it may be true that hackers are less likely to spend their time trying to personally hack into your network or steal your customer credit cards, never underestimate the passive security risks of our modern digital environment. No doubt, you've heard of phishing and the dangers inherent just in answering the wrong email on a work computer. But small businesses often fail to realize that the risks are everywhere and almost any unmonitored connection to your network could come with a malware rider. Often without even the knowledge of the person who brought it in. Let's take a look at four of the most underrated risks to your network security.
1) USB Drives
Even with continually advancing online sharing and storage platforms, the most convenient way to carry around a set of personal data is with a USB drive. This saves you the hassle (and bandwidth cost) of constant uploading and downloading. However, things can be hidden on a USB drive and saving even one file downloaded from an infected site can turn a USB drive into a highly mobile cyber-plague-bearer.
Be very careful when dealing with USB drives, especially those that have not been purchased and personally managed by your network security team. Make it a policy never to connect an unknown or outside USB drive to a non-isolated computer, no matter how much someone insists that all their information or the best song they've ever heard might be on the drive.
2) Employee Devices
Many businesses encourage their employees to use their devices for work purposes because it is convenient and saves the business the expense of providing nice phones to everyone who could benefit from them. This is known as the BYOD or Bring Your Own Device trend. Unfortunately, this can lead to a number of cybersecurity concerns.
Employee devices can get infected by something they've installed for personal use and that infection can spread when they connect to the company network, to start with. Employee devices are also often automatically logged into their accounts at all times, including secure company apps. This means that if an employee's device is lost or even temporarily mislaid, it could provide unauthorized people to look at any private information that employee has access to on their mobile device.
3) Public Wifi
Public Wi-Fi provided to customers and guests has been a real hot-button issue lately but still few businesses are acknowledging the risk of leaving an open network available to potential hackers. Not only have hackers shown some ability to crack into your business Wi-Fi through the public network if the two are connected, they can also directly hack other guests using the same Wi-Fi network. In some cases, hackers are even hosting false guest networks named almost identically and as the admins, they are able to more easily hack those who connect.
Therefore both providing and connecting to public Wi-Fi networks becomes a risk. Make sure to always fully separate any guest Wi-Fi you offer and go out of your way to offer secure connections to any guests that do make use of your public network.
4) Universal Passwords
Finally, most people today understand the need for strong passwords. But strong passwords are hard to remember. After you get a perfect combination of characters, numerals, caps, and special characters, it can be tempting to use this strong password everywhere. While the password may be strong, the problem lies in using the same password for all security purposes. In this situation, if a hacker gets ahold of even one of your passwords or somehow cracks a single access point, they now have the password for your entire network and everything else you have secured with this one universal password.
Don't underestimate the importance of small business network security or the things that can put your network at risk. For more information about how to strengthen your network and close possible security gaps, contact us today!