All businesses face a host of challenges and liabilities, and the area of network security is no exception. With a myriad of different ways that your network could be compromised, it can be difficult to know where to begin securing it. These five steps will get you started.

Lock up your network. Never conduct business over an open or “public” WiFi connection (you can offer that service to customers, but use a separate network for business operations). Choose a hard-to-guess password for this network, and install a secure firewall. Make sure your employees use the business-only network.

Educate employees. A network is only as safe as the people using it. Think of your network as a “door” into your business. Would you give every employee a key? If you did give everyone a key, would you remind them of some basic safety protocol? Of course you would! So with regard to your network, make sure your employees are educated on topics such as opening suspicious emails, clicking unknown links, choosing safe passwords, and the importance of regular software updates.

Update software regularly. And on that note, remember to update your software as soon as you are prompted. Software developers often become aware of security risks within their products, and release “patches” to fix these problems. But you won’t get the patch if you don’t install updates.

Use two-factor authentication. Particularly with regard to cloud databases, two-factor authentication reduces the chance of data hijacking.

Use a VPN. A Virtual Private Network will route your data through their servers and encrypt it, while hiding your IP address. This will reduce the risk of interception with regard to important files or passwords. Using a VPN allows your employees to work more safely even when they’re away from the office and your secure network (but they should still avoid public networks).

All of these five steps will help to increase your safety online. If you need help implementing any of these measures, or have additional questions about network security, please give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH.