Network Protection Best Practices – Maximize Your Value

Posted by Fred Bauerfeld on October 30, 2020
Cybersecurity, Hardware & Software Support

Many small businesses don’t need an expensive complex data center to run their operations. But even with a small system, it is important to know about network protection best practices to maximize the value of your equipment.

Your network is composed of the interconnected computers, machines, and operations you use in your business processes to provide your clients with products and services. It includes hardware like your: 

  • Workstations 
  • Servers 
  • Switches 
  • Phones 
  • Access points 
  • Printers 
  • Firewall 
  • Routers 

There are some best practices you need to keep in mind to protect your company’s network and stored data. 

1. Create secure and clean spaces for network protection

Keep your server(s), switches, phone system, firewall, router in either a locked room or in a locked cabinet. Keeping them away from accidental bumps, knock-overs, or spills is just as important as protecting them from a breach. I have seen people knock over server racks that were not secure. I have seen people store cleaning products over servers that eventually spilled on them. No one needs these kinds of expenses when they can easily be avoided.  

2. Make sure these network spaces are well ventilated  

Choose spaces for your workstations, servers, and other network devices that are well ventilated. Heat is very hard on electronics, especially IT hardware. If you use enclosures, make sure they are well ventilated. Use containers with security screens, not those with sheer metal or wooden sides.  

3. Protect your network: connect it to an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) 

Have a good business-type battery backup/Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). A basic home PC-type battery backup is not what you should be using on your server. Look for a Pure Sine Wave Device. Choose one that levels out the power as well as protects from surges. Dirty power that fluctuates constantly can be as hard on your equipment as power surges.  

4. Use Image-based backups for network protection 

Use an image-based backup, not just a data backup. An image-based backup will not only backup your data but also backup the operating system and its settings. If you have an image of the server, you can restore it much faster than if you only had a data backup. We are talking hours to restore, instead of days or weeks. If you are hit with ransomware which encrypts your data, you can wipe the server and restore the image quickly.  

5. Backup your network locally and offsite to reduce rebuild time 

Store backups locally and then offsite. If you only stream data to an online storage service, you can only retrieve it at the speed of the combined internet connections between their side and yours. I was working with a technician on a project once and he only backed up the data online and no image locally. They had a slow internet connection and only a data backup. It took about 2 days to rebuild the server internally with all the settings but then took over three weeks to stream the data from the storage service.  

6. Properly install firewalls to keep bad actors out without slowing business processes 

Use a firewall. They are not overly expensive to own. They keep bad actors out of your network. Have a professional install it so it doesn’t end up slowing down your business processes. You don’t want your firewall to get in the way of where you need to go. Most have content filters to keep your employees from going where they shouldn’t, which optimizes your productivity. 

These are some basic and best practices you should strive to engage in as a small business owner for network protection. None of them will break the bank. But neglecting them can eventually wreck you financially.  

Think ahead. Protect your network. The business you save will be your own. Schedule a free consultation with Joe if you’re in Utah or Fred if you’re in Idaho.


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