4 network security tips for the hybrid workplace

Barry Bader 2 19

Barry Bader

If 2020 was the year of the pandemic, then 2021 could arguably be considered the year of the cyberattack. Gasoline suppliers, insurance companies, municipal water treatment plants, school districts, and even the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, have all been victims of data breaches or ransomware attacks this year.

While it’s mostly big businesses and high-profile hacks that make headlines, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and organizations are also targets for bad actors — costing them downtime, data, business and revenue.

The best network defense is a strong, proactive security offense. Here are four tips for organizations looking to shore up their cybersecurity protocols and products:

1. Implement a mix of threat monitoring, firewalls and anti-virus solutions: Threat monitoring, firewalls and anti-virus solutions are all valuable cybersecurity measures, but they should be used in tandem with each other and alongside smart online hygiene practices, which are basic steps that network users should take to maintain the overall health and safety of the network and its data.

It’s important to select tools that frequently update to help protect against the newest threats, and cover every connected device on your network. Threat monitoring tools actively intervene to block malicious threats like malware, DDoS (distributed denial of service), ransomware, phishing and botnet infections. They also block employees and guests from accessing compromised websites and infected links.

Anti-virus tools detect and block malicious files, but many only block malware they recognize based on signatures that have been written into the AV software. Meanwhile, firewalls allow only authorized traffic or content using configured controls, like access denial to IP addresses known to deliver malware. Even if a malicious payload is delivered, firewalls can prevent it from communicating with control-and-command servers.

2. Manage devices and passwords for an extra layer of security:

Think about all of the connected devices on your business network. From company devices to employees’ personal phones and guest devices, each of them represents a potentially vulnerable…