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Network Security is Important for Small Business

The National Small Business Association's 2013 Technology Survey confirmed that a small business owner's top technology related concern is network security, and nearly half of small businesses have already been affected by a cyber-attack. Network security, like most aspects of a business, is best addressed as an on-going, customized process. There are, however, a number of primary areas that all businesses must consider when putting together an IT security plan.


The firewall controls what traffic is entering and leaving your network. Simply installing a firewall does not mean you are protected, as they must be configured to meet your network's unique configuration. The firewall, like all network hardware, should be monitored routinely and optimized as needed.

Patch Management

Installing patches (updates) from software manufacturers in a timely fashion is critical for network security. The primary purpose of these patches is to fix newly discovered security vulnerabilities. Examples of applications in need of frequent patches include operating systems, web browsers, and productivity tools like Microsoft Office.

Network Monitoring

Network monitoring tools allow you to see who is on your network and what they are doing. Effective network monitoring tools are configured to know the norms of your users' behaviors and trigger alerts when events fall outside these norms. For example, an unexpected level of outbound e-mails would trigger an alert for you to make sure your e-mail system is not being exploited by spam bots.

IT Security - A Process, Not an Event

All of the above items need to be incorporated into any business's IT security plan, and this plan needs to be followed and adjusted as an on-going process. A network that is secure today is not necessarily secured tomorrow, and a plan that protects your network this year may be vulnerable in the future. Working with an outside tech support provider that specializes in networks security for small businesses is a great way to ensure you are protected while freeing up time to focus on what you do best.

Machine Authentication

Machine Authentication is having measures in place for your network to verify that any users (on-site or remote) are supposed to be accessing your network. Considerations here include VPN access for remote users and network level authentication for onsite machines.

Desktop Security

Cyber-threats are able to enter your network at many points, including individual desktops. It is important to protect every machine on your network, even if a particular machine is not critical to operations. Desktop security includes anti-virus/malware protection, but additional administrative controls are needed. These can include blocking users from installing applications, limiting access to certain websites, and requiring routine resetting of passwords. In some cases, two-factor authentication is desirable (ex: password and code sent to a phone).

Data Back-up

In the event of a cyber-attack that destroys your data or attempts to hold it for ransom (crypto-locker), the only way to be truly protected is to have your data frequently backed-up and readily restorable. Backing-up files is important, but backing up functioning system images is even better. These allow you to restore a server's image or desktops settings and files seamlessly to a replacement machine.

Z Networks - Your Local IT Partner Since 2001

Z Networks has been helping small businesses as a local IT partner since 2001 from locations in Seattle, Marysville, Portland, and Los Angeles. We help clients across most industries which means we have familiarity with their line of business software, industry best practices, and compliance needs. Our team based support approach offers superior turnaround time and expertise. Additionally, assigning each client to a dedicated IT Service Coordinator (they manage and deploy a team of network technicians) means we know our clients and their technology. Like most small businesses, our clients are very concerned with security, and we provide them with piece of mind through a guaranteed and proven approach.

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