Steps that SMBs can avoid in deterring cyber-attacks by improving network infrastructure and firewall security

by | Apr 18, 2024 | Telecommunications

Voiceware recommends that to deter cyber-attacks and improve network infrastructure and firewall security, SMBs can take several proactive measures and avoid common pitfalls; security is a proactive process that encompasses many tasks both in firewall equipment, software and end user training which is most often the number one reason for security breaches. It is the combination of all three combined tasks that will ensure a successful security practice in preventing cyber-attacks.

  1. Outdated Software and Firmware: Keeping software, operating systems, and firmware up to date is crucial to address security vulnerabilities and patch known exploits. SMBs should regularly update all devices and applications to minimize the risk of exploitation by cyber attackers. This is a monthly, quarterly, and constant process – it is not an annual set it and forget it task.
  2. Weak Passwords and Lack of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Using weak or default passwords makes it easier for cyber attackers to gain unauthorized access to networks and systems. SMBs should enforce strong password policies and implement MFA wherever possible to add an extra layer of security against unauthorized access.
  3. Inadequate Firewall Configuration: Firewalls act as the first line of defense against cyber threats by controlling incoming and outgoing network traffic. Any business should ensure that their firewalls are properly configured to restrict access based on predefined rules and policies, blocking malicious traffic while allowing legitimate communication to take place. As demand for changes dictate, so should firewall rules follow.
  4. Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks: Open or unsecured Wi-Fi networks can be easily exploited by cyber attackers to intercept sensitive data or launch man-in-the-middle attacks. SMBs should secure their Wi-Fi networks with strong encryption protocols (e.g., WPA2 or WPA3) and use unique, complex passwords to prevent unauthorized access.
  5. Lack of Network Segmentation: Failure to segment network resources can increase the potential impact of a cyber-attack by allowing attackers to move laterally across the network and compromise multiple systems. Your business should implement network segmentation (more often referred to as VLANs) to isolate critical assets and restrict access based on user roles and permissions. This is often more tedious than default network configurations on both network switches, routers and firewalls, however, it deters hacking attempts from spilling deeper into the critical sections of the network such as servers, network storage and critical databases.
  6. Insufficient Employee Training and Awareness: Human error remains one of the leading causes of security breaches in SMBs. Providing comprehensive cybersecurity training and raising employee awareness about common threats, phishing attacks, and social engineering tactics can help mitigate risks and empower employees to recognize and respond to potential security incidents.
  7. Failure to Monitor and Log Network Activity: Companies should implement robust logging and monitoring mechanisms to track network activity, detect suspicious behavior, and identify potential security incidents in real-time. Monitoring network traffic, system logs, and security events enables proactive threat detection and response.
  8. Ignoring Regular Security Audits and Assessments: Conducting regular security audits and assessments helps SMBs identify vulnerabilities, assess risks, and prioritize security improvements. By evaluating their network infrastructure, firewall configurations, and overall security posture on a recurring basis, SMBs can address weaknesses and enhance their cyber resilience over time.

By avoiding these common pitfalls and implementing proactive security measures, SMBs can strengthen their network infrastructure and firewall security, reducing the likelihood of cyber-attacks and protecting their valuable assets and sensitive data.