Many businesses assume their networks and computer systems are secure and safe from hackers and potential data breeches. Many are, but a lot are actually incredibly vulnerable, without the business even realising.
Unfortunately, data breeches and cybersecurity hacks are becoming increasingly common and problematic. Any business can be targeted and lots of smaller businesses assume it will never happen to them – an approach that is simply far too risky. Although large data breeches are the only ones that make the headlines, cyber attacks and data hacking is happening every minute, of every day, and anyone or any business is a potential target.
Cybersecurity and implementing effective network security is a vital process for every business. In fact, businesses may be held accountable if their network is hacked and sensitive data accessed. If your business is collecting customer data, it is your responsibility to look after this data.
The new GDPR in Europe is an example of authorities recognising the importance of businesses becoming more careful and transparent with the data they hold. This will only grow in importance in the future.
So, how does a hacker penetrate your business network and what are they trying to do?
Common Business Network Vulnerabilities
Below are just a few ways hackers may try and access valuable data from WiFi and connectivity. This is only one part of network security, but illustrates the need for cybersecurity and attention in this part of business operations.
- The Man in the Middle
In this approach, a hacker is watching the data you pass from your computer to the network. This means as soon as you pass valuable data, the hacker can see this and take action.
- The Evil Twin
This is similar to the Man in the Middle approach, however, the hacker sets up a different network that looks the same as the original. Staff, customers, or anyone else, may access this fake network and submit sensitive data to it, thinking it is the real network.
- Phishing Emails
These fake emails are often made to look like brands and companies that you’d expect to receive emails from. Simply opening the email, or clicking on any links may download malware or other viruses to the computer and network.
- Social Engineering
This is the least technical form of hacking, but nevertheless, a very effective one indeed. Hackers simply study a person or business and start to take note of any patterns, vulnerabilities in the business and take advantage of that.
This means ensuring employees aren’t putting sensitive information on social media or the internet, that could be used by a hacker.
- Packet Sniffer Software
Packet sniffer software allows hackers to see packets of data that pass through a network. They can then utilise and copy this data.
- Malware Attacks
An unsuspecting employee or customer may upload or download malware from a website, USB, or infected software. This can then record keystrokes, passwords, usernames, etc, and extract valuable information.
An Example – Hotel WiFi
We have many clients in the tourism and hospitality sector. For these business, a comprehensive IT solution, including super-fast WiFi for customers to use, is critical. For example, a hotel that offers free WiFi for guests, helps create a service that meets the needs of their customers. Even in the most remote regions of the world, good connectivity is vital for keeping customers happy.
However, this free WiFi must be set up securely and in a way that prevents easy access to sensitive data. Having an open WiFi network or handing out a password to everyone can be a risky game. Any guest with some technical knowledge could leverage this to then access other things within the network, such as POS (point of sale) systems, credit card readers, computers and backend systems. They may also be able to see other guest’s details. This creates extreme vulnerabilities in the network.
This is why encryption and secure networks built specifically for guest logins is a vital step and why so many businesses in the hospitality sector are risking a lot by using connectivity and WiFi not designed for guest use.
If you’d like to learn more about IT solutions built for your business needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch and talk to our experts.
Tips for Better Network Security
Cybersecurity is all about adaptation and ensuring you are keeping abreast with the latest recommendations. If you’d like to discuss tips and ideas for your specific business, we can help guide you in the right direction.
- Keep Track of Accounts and Access
Your business should have a record of who has access to what data. This particularly becomes important when staff leave, and old accounts become forgotten about.
- Update Software
If the software provider has noticed a potential vulnerability, they will often fix it with software updates. This means you should update any software as soon as a new update is available, otherwise your system may not be protected.
- Make Passwords Secure
Having passwords that are easy to guess, or shared very liberally is a recipe for disaster. You should create passwords that are hard to guess, change them regularly, and never use the same passwords for multiple purposes (otherwise a breech in one location could result in multiple breeches across different platforms and accounts). You should know who has access to what, and ensure sensitive data isn’t on a network that guests can freely access.
- Seek Professional Advice
If you’re running a business, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to keep pace with all the latest innovations and recommendations for cybersecurity. As a result, partnering with an IT and telecoms business that can offer the very best advice specifically for your business, is a great way to stay protected.
Network Security and PureComms
If you’d like to learn more about how to create a secure network for your business, simply get in touch with our friendly team today. Here at PureComms, we help our clients achieve more by utilising better telecoms solutions, from hardware and equipment, to networks and software systems.
IT can be a powerful solution for many businesses, from small cafes and bars, to large multinational organisations. The ability to leverage quick connectivity that helps achieve business aims, in a secure and safe way, can be the driving force for business growth.