A business can never overlook its security measures. All it takes is one oversight, one slip-up for them to suffer significant – and potentially permanent – damage to their reputation, client numbers, and bank balance.

This is certainly the case when it comes to network security. With so many different systems, employees, and files to account for, trying to keep your data out of the hands of cybercriminals can be a serious challenge.

However, it is not impossible. Below are four methods to help improve your company’s network security efforts.

1. An audit of your network

Before anything else, an audit is necessary to understand your network security – and how to make changes that will bring about improvements.

With an audit, you acquire a clear understanding about the infrastructure of your entire network. This includes everything from location information to the configuration you have for routers and firewalls. Importantly, it also allows you to track all the devices and servers that are connected to your network.

As part of the audit, it’s not uncommon to identify existing security vulnerabilities. You could come across a computer with outdated software for example, or a firewall that has been configured incorrectly.

2. Know what you are up against

It is vital that you are fully aware of your enemy. After all, how can you truly protect your company’s network security without knowing what threats are out there?

The issue with this is that cybersecurity has become much more sophisticated and complex over the years. Malware, phishing, and business email compromise (BEC) are just some of the methods used, and there are various different approaches employed under each one. It can all get confusing, fast.

The best place to begin is with a general overview. A starter guide about cybersecurity and network security is available via Proofpoint. Regular in-depth training is also recommended, particularly if you have a lot of employees that require educating about the subject.

3. Encrypt your network

Encryption can help in a lot of ways when the aim is to boost your network security. While 802.1X authentication and VLANs are beneficial, they don’t necessarily stop cybercriminals from snooping on your network to discover unencrypted traffic – and that may include sensitive documents and passwords.

It is possible to encrypt all traffic. Before doing that, however, it is wise to analyse the situation and see if it’s better to encrypt select communications.

4. Stay ahead of the curve

When running a business, you know the importance of staying current and following the latest trends. This is applicable for your network security.

There is no time to stand still. Cybercriminals are always searching for the latest areas to exploit and refining their techniques. Stick with older technology and software, and this opens the door for them to access your network.

To prevent this from happening, never delay updating your applications with patches and updates. If it’s in your budget, it also makes sense to replace older technology with newer options when they become available.