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Beyond the Firewall: Four Areas to Consider When Securing Your Network

Firewall security

A big challenge facing distributed enterprises, such as retailers and franchises, is network security – protecting customer’s PII (personally identifiable information), preventing hacks and ransomware and keeping the business safe. While firewalls might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of security, the reality is that securing an enterprise network has become far more complex.

Here are four areas to consider beyond the firewall:

  1. Connectivity - We worry about how breaches will interfere with business, but everyday outages can be just as damaging. If your network goes down, you can’t process transactions. That adds up to lost customers and sales. Securing your network from any form of disruption begins with ensuring sites have reliable connectivity through secondary and tertiary backup options and automatic failover capabilities.  
  2. Threat surface - Every time you add a device, like a security camera, to the network it expands the “threat surface.” That includes third-party vendors and service providers who may have access to the network; if they are negligent in their own network security, they can create vulnerabilities for yours. Therefore, adequate security requires making sure each device that connects to the network is secure, that each vendor or partner who accesses the network follows proper security protocols, and potentially putting a system in place to authenticate and monitor user access.
  3. Integration - To ensure an efficient and high performing network, it should operate as a cohesive and integrated whole, not as individual parts that are managed and secured separately. This is especially important for franchises, because the brand may dictate which equipment and services to deploy, especially when it comes to the Point-of-Sale system. But you shouldn’t have to worry about whether the POS system will integrate with other aspects of the network or whether you can secure it sufficiently – a central process for adding new components will help your organization benefit from new technologies, without opening it up to potentially harmful vulnerabilities.
  4. Support - Nearly all telecom or network providers offer some type of support, but what they deliver may not be as clear or robust as you require. For retailers, the question is whether you can access support when you need it most. For example, what happens if your network goes down due to a data breach on a peak holiday shopping day – like Black Friday? Or even on a random Saturday night at 11pm? Such outages can be devastating. A better option is a managed service provider (MSP) who will pick up the phone when you call, 365 days a year, 24x7 so you can speak to a live person and not have to navigate your way through a voice response system. But you also need to know that beyond just picking up the phone, they will fix the issue. Does the MSP have nationwide field service technicians they can deploy? What will they do to get your site back up and running quickly?

Cyber thieves are relentless in their search for and targeting of businesses with network security gaps and weaknesses. When you consider all areas associated with network security, you can minimize your vulnerability to attacks and help protect the business and customers you value.

Learn about Hughes Managed Security Services.