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Security | 5 min read

10 Proven Ways to Secure a Computer Network

Nick Bambulas
Written by Nick Bambulas

Computer network security breaches are in the news often, and they’re costing organizations that fall prey millions of dollars. In fact, IBM reports that the average cost of a data breach in 2022 is $4.35 million — an all-time high. For a business, that cost could potentially include lawsuits.

If this all sounds scary, that’s because it is. Protecting your system and assets is critical. Still, it can be difficult to understand how to secure a network with maximum effect, especially for small- and medium-sized organizations that don’t employ a full-time IT staff.

Fortunately, there are some computer network security best practices that business owners can implement today to secure their data and build more impenetrable protection against hackers and viruses. Here are 10 proven ways to secure a computer network.

  1. Install and monitor firewall performance
  2. Update Passwords When Needed and/or Yearly
  3. Lean on Advanced Endpoint Detection
  4. Create a virtual private network (VPN)
  5. Train your employee
  6. Filter and delete spam emails
  7. Shut down computers when not in use
  8. Encrypt your files
  9. Secure personal devices
  10. Ask for help

1. Install And Monitor Firewall Performance

A firewall is designed to block unauthorized access to computers and networks. In essence, a firewall is a set of rules that controls network traffic — incoming and outgoing. Computers and networks that pass these rules are granted access, and those that don’t are walled out.

Firewalls are becoming more and more sophisticated (as are hackers), and some of the newest ones are integrated network security platforms that consist of different approaches and encryption methods, all working to prevent breaches and malicious activity.

2. Update Passwords When Needed and/or Yearly

Hopefully your employees know to avoid default passwords or phrases like “password,” “12345” and their dates of birth. In addition to using strong passwords that feature letters (uppercase and lowercase), symbols and numbers for added security, require employees to regularly change their passwords.

It’s been recently recommended to change passwords whenever there’s reason to suspect they’ve been compromised, and annually even if they appear to remain secure. Changing passwords too often can lead to confusion and delays, leading employees to reach out to IT for reminders of their credentials. It’s a bit of a tightrope.

Many businesses now require two-factor authentication to connect to the network. In addition to entering a username and password, users may also need to enter a code they receive via text or by another means to connect to a system or Wi-Fi network.

3. Lean on Advanced Endpoint Detection

In order to respond to the continually evolving online threats in the world today, advanced endpoint detection and response is technology that uses AI to watch for indications of compromise and react accordingly

The technology collects and analyzes information from network devices, endpoint logs and threat intelligence feeds, identifying security incidents, policy violations, fraudulent activity and other threats. In order to respond more quickly, these solutions employ a high degree of automation to enable security teams to quickly identify and respond.

More advanced than antivirus software, endpoint detection and response is part of a modern, layered and proactive approach to cybersecurity to defend against ever-changing cyberattacks.

4. Create A Virtual Private Network (VPN)

With millions of people working remotely in a cosmic work shift accelerated by the pandemic, there’s been a massive increase in reported cybercrimes. VPNs create a more secure connection between remote computers and company servers.

With a VPN, only those authorized to access your systems will be able to do so. A VPN can dramatically decrease the likelihood of hackers finding a wireless access point and wreaking havoc on your system.

Further Reading: Network Security Best Practices for Remote & Hybrid Workers



5. Train Your Employees

Every preparation you have won’t be effective if the people using your system aren’t following security best practices. Frequent reminders about risks and mitigation steps can help them keep network security at the forefront of their attention. Some organizations implement mandatory meetings to help communicate their importance. Educating employees about how to avoid major security risks or getting victimized by identity theft is possibly the greatest weapon you have in boosting your security.

6. Filter and Delete Spam Emails

Phishing emails from hackers are crafted in a way to entice your employees to open them and click on sensational offers or links that seem legitimate. Spam filters have advanced considerably and should be leveraged. 

Even so, the occasional spam email may make it through, especially if a hacker is mimicking someone you know, like a professional colleague or company you do business with. Employees need to use their common sense filters in addition to any spam filter software.

7. Shut Down Computers When Not in Use

It’s tempting to want to leave your computer on and ready for the next day of work. But when your computer sits idle overnight while connected to the internet or your own network, it becomes more visible and available to hackers. Limit their access and block them outright just by shutting your computer down for the night.

8. Encrypt Your Files

The thought of a hacker getting inside your networks is a major cause for alarm. Imagine, however, their surprise when all they find is a bunch of gibberish? Encryption can protect sensitive data on Windows or Mac operating systems using software specifically designed to mask your IP address. You can identify whether a website has been secured using encryption by looking for “https” in the address bar along with a padlock icon.

9. Secure Personal Devices

Employees increasingly use their smartphones and other mobile devices to access information at work. Consider implementing a policy for using personal devices to ensure individuals are following security protocols

Some quick tips for securing both personal information and sensitive work data include turning off Bluetooth, never using unsecured public Wi-Fi and following the same advice for complex personal device passcodes as you would for your work computer systems.

Learn More: The 5 Best Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Tools


10. Ask for Help

When you’re managing your IT internally, the pressure is on to make sure you’re adequately protected against hacking and viruses. While having all these measures in place and ensuring employees are following best practices, it’s still difficult to keep up with the latest cyber threats.

One of the best ways to overcome these challenges is to enlist the help of a technology management provider that stays updated on the latest threats and whose job it is to make your systems as secure as possible. When you work with a technology management provider, you get laser-focused monitoring and attention 24/7.

Working with Elevity

Part of the expertise you can expect from a technology management partner is ensuring maximum system and computer uptime, making sure all of your system’s latest updates are installed and even providing resources to educate your employees. They can help you with day-to-day issues and be there to tackle questions and ensure they’re addressed quickly and resolved accurately.

That’s where Elevity can step in, whether you’re a small business with no internal IT team or a larger business with a team with which we can join forces. Our 4S approach (Strategy, Security, Solutions and Support) means maximum care toward ensuring your systems are running smoothly and securely.

We’ll also anticipate issues before they arise and create problems, which is part of our strategizing. The burden of worrying about whether your network is secure can be a thing of the past when you leverage our services.

Check Your Cybersecurity Risk

Ahead of a partnership, you can get a handle on your current cybersecurity preparedness to see where you may have opportunities to strengthen your defenses. Simply click the link below to take our free Cybersecurity Risk Assessment. It’ll only take a few minutes to answer key questions about your current security protocols, and once complete, we’ll be in touch with a score and possible next steps.

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