Small businesses often fail to secure their network connections effectively, either because their management does not have robust security policies or because they believe they cannot be victims of cyber-attacks. According to a recent study, 39% of small businesses in Singapore considered or have not yet decided to protect their businesses against cyber risks. For small businesses, an unsecured network can open the door to vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit, leading to compromised network systems and security and data breaches. Network vulnerabilities continually evolve, causing small businesses to lose crucial data and income. According to statistics from Check Point Research, in 2021, the number of cyber-attacks in Singapore saw an increase of 145% year-on-year. Also, the two most common attacks were ransomware of 35% and data theft of 10%, leading to the average cost of cyber-attack at about SGD 1.7 million (USD 1.3 million) per breach. Therefore, small businesses need to know about the security measures they can use to combat cyber risks threatening their networks. Although vulnerabilities and flaws are always present in networks, knowing how to manage them will help you enhance your security posture and protect your business reputation.  This article highlights eight simple steps your small business can take to manage network vulnerabilities better.

8 Simple Steps Small Businesses Can Take to Better Manage Network Vulnerabilities 

Here are the eight simple steps you can use to manage network vulnerability:

1. Train your employees

For small businesses to combat network vulnerability, investing in security awareness training is crucial. Security awareness training is a training program usually organized by cybersecurity professionals to educate employees on how to combat cybersecurity risks. The major goal of this training is to ensure your employees understand their responsibility in combating cybersecurity risk. Effective security training programs will let them know about the different techniques and tricks cybercriminals use to compromise the network. Also, it will help them understand different security measures, the risks associated with their actions, and how to identify cyber-attacks they may encounter via the web or email.

2. Update your software

Software updates are required to keep computer systems, mobile devices, and tablets functioning efficiently, and it helps reduce network vulnerabilities. As hackers develop new techniques to steal sensitive information and gain access to technology devices, regular software updates are one layer of security and a preventative step you can implement to stop them. 

3. Invest in a firewall

A firewall is a network cybersecurity tool that denies unauthorized traffic and prevents an internal threat from accessing your network. It functions as a border, monitoring and controlling network traffic that arrives and leaves the network. The fundamental function of a firewall is to provide a barrier between the internal computer network and outside sources, keeping viruses and hackers from penetrating and causing harm. When individuals connect their personal computers to a network or the internet, they expose themselves to an excess of possible attacks. Moreover, unprotected networks are frequently vulnerable to cyberattacks. Therefore, it is usually beneficial to invest in a firewall to help secure your business network. 

4. Invest in malware-scanning apps

A malware-scanning app is a program that can identify and remove malware from your device. It scans and protects against viruses and other malicious attacks. Malware scanning app will automatically deactivate the dangerous file before it executes in your system. 

5. Use a strong VPN

A VPN connection secures your online data and information by hiding your IP addresses and encrypting your data from external access. Unsecured data can be viewed by anyone with network access, increasing the high risk of a data breach. However, with a strong VPN in place, hackers and cyber criminals are unable to decrypt this data.  A strong VPN connection can also limit the potential of a brute force attack, which exposes data in an unprotected network connection. Remote workers can also benefit from this as it will allow them to connect their devices to a private network and access important files remotely.

6. Secure Your Wi-Fi

Using open or insecure networks can open the door to cyberattacks, as hackers and cybercriminals use individual access to unsecured networks to steal identities, acquire personal information from users, and jeopardise financial and other critical business data. Therefore, small businesses must ensure that their wireless connections are always protected. Wi-Fi security is the protection of wireless devices in a network against cybercriminals seeking to compromise the network’s confidentiality, integrity, or availability. Its goal is to prevent unauthorized access from compromising the network

7. Use Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a security layer that prevents account access unless multiple authentication factors are provided.  Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a crucial security authentication tool that helps organizations keep cyber criminals and hackers out of their systems, even when their login credentials have been compromised. It also prevents common cyber threats, such as phishing attacks, which allow hackers to impersonate users after stealing their passwords. Rather than just the username and password, this security authentication layer requires users to provide two or more authentication factors before they are granted access to the application or account.

8. Perform Network Vulnerability Scan and Assessment

A network vulnerability scan is the process of detecting or accessing flaws in a network and evaluating the external security posture of a business’s network. In simple terms, a network vulnerability scan discovers network security concerns by doing a full network analysis to find network security gaps.  A network vulnerability scanner is an essential security tool organizations must possess. This is because it will accurately analyze your network and eliminate things that can expose it to hackers. 

Protect your network with Managed IT Asia today

Applying these security measures above can help you manage network vulnerabilities. However, network vulnerability can be perfectly managed if entrusted to a cybersecurity professional or company.  Contact Managed IT Asia to learn more about how you can manage your network and see how we can help your business stay protected.

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    MANAGED IT ASIA, we are an IT Support, IT Solutioning and Managed IT Service Provider specializing in serving Small Businesses across Asia. Call us at +65 6748 8776 and let us manage your Small Business IT today!