How Vulnerable is Your Business WiFi Network?

Businesses are now more vulnerable than most executives think. Today, it’s more likely to experience a security breach than not – over half of businesses get hacked every year. Sometimes, these breaches happen because businesses don’t adhere to a standard, current best practices in security systems and protocols.

Other times, the sources of security breaches are much more subtle and easy to overlook. Here are some common (and less common) sources of high-risk security vulnerabilities in business networks, as well as strategies for companies to address them.

Commonly Overlooked Business WiFi Risks to Avoid

Consider the well-known, high-risk security concerns for the average business. These are the “red flag” items on standardized risk assessments, like client information database breaches and DoS attacks. However, today’s cybercriminals are finding new methods of exploitation, leading to a new set of best practices in business security networks. Staying abreast of these developments can be challenging for a busy company, and some of the most common missteps include:

1. An Unprotected Print Environment

All devices on a business network, including printers, MFPs, and copiers, represent an area of risk that may fall outside the typical security priorities of an IT department. However, security research groups have identified printers and print networks as a potential source of security breaches and stolen data for businesses.

Not only should best practices for print security receive attention and action (such as setting an appropriate IP address status and password-protecting connected printers), but the entire print network as well. Source devices such as desktop computers and mobile devices sending data over WiFi should all be considered as points of risk.

2. Out-of-Date Drivers and Firmware

For most IT departments, managing hardware drivers is a complicated task in and of itself. For a busy office with a variety of devices, perhaps with satellite offices and remote users, maintaining up-to-date drivers and firmware across an entire print fleet can be a significant pain point. However, this challenge also presents cybercriminals with an excellent opportunity to discover weaknesses in business networks.

Ensuring that the entire organization is operating with the latest firmware updates and patches as released by the manufacturers is an essential part of maintaining good overall network security. Similarly, building systems that push out regular driver updates to users across all connected devices protect the system from vulnerabilities before and during data transit to printers or other connected devices.

3. Unmanaged User Behavior

The effectiveness of a security system relies on the quality of user behavior within that system. Even a robust system could be compromised by an employee clicking a link in a phishing email, an out-of-date firewall, or even accessing a network site on an unanticipated device.

Mobile device security also represents an increasingly large portion of business WiFi attention. Business mobile device management focuses on both business-owned mobile device security protocols, and private or guest devices on a network. User behavior while connected to a business network, including email and app usage, can impact a network’s security.

Effective Monitoring Helps Businesses Track Real-Time Vulnerabilities

Ongoing network monitoring is another critical component of business network security. Live analysis of WiFi traffic through network servers and routers can help an IT department understand user behavior and needs, as well as minimize the response time during a breach.

Collecting and monitoring data passing through a business WiFi network can help an organization get in front of issues before they become a serious concern or become exploited by a cybercriminal. This is equally important for remote monitoring of satellite offices.

How Managed Network Services Protect Businesses

To stay abreast of a constantly changing environment, many businesses are choosing to outsource their network needs. Managed network services are ideal for organizations who don’t have the expertise to maintain a robust security system alone. By outsourcing network security, businesses benefit from the latest security protocols across their entire network, active monitoring for vulnerabilities, and immediate response in the event of a security breach.

Effective network security begins with a comprehensive assessment. To determine the security status of a business network, a thorough evaluation of connected hardware and software is essential to gain information about any potential vulnerabilities. At Smile, we work with each client individually to assess their unique network arrangement, user behavior, and processes to close security gaps and protect businesses and their customers.

Ready to take control of your business network security? Contact us today to schedule an initial assessment and set a roadmap to security for your systems and data.

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