business network security

Business Network Security Best Practices & Checklist

Business network security is crucial for protecting sensitive information and ensuring the smooth operation of organizations of all sizes. With the increase in remote working, complexity of modern environments, and emergence of more advanced cyber threats, it is more important than ever that businesses secure their networks, sensitive data, and core systems. 

Organizations must defend their networks, systems, and users against several major cybersecurity threats. For example, Verizon’s 2020 DBIR found that:  

  • 70% of breaches were caused by outsiders 
  • 45% involved hacking 
  • 86% were financially motivated 
  • 17% involved some form of malware, and  
  • 22% featured phishing or social engineering 

Source: Top Cybersecurity Statistics, Facts, and Figures for 2022 ( 


Business Network Security Best Practices 

Here are several Network Security best practices to consider for your business: 

Regular Network Security Audits and Vulnerability Scanning 

When companies are looking to bolster their cyber security posture and improve network security, often the first item we suggest is a Vulnerability Assessment – especially if it has been some time since the last audit or assessment. Conduct periodic security audits of your workplace technology, processes, and policies to identify vulnerabilities that can pose a threat to your business. Cyber security assessments will scan core hardware and network infrastructure, websites, firewalls, and applications to determine any vulnerabilities in the technology environment that require remediation. 

In terms of business network security, security audits will review limits and controls on network ports and protocols, administration privileges, scans network-connected devices, and will review firewall configurations along other key security measures. 

Explore what a network security audit might look like for your business. Uncover potential entry points and vulnerabilities in your networks and connected systems before they are leveraged in a security event. 

It can also be beneficial to perform risk assessments to understand potential threats and their impact to prioritize your remediation and response efforts.  


Firewalls and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) 

Implement firewalls to control incoming and outgoing traffic. Firewalls come in a large range of capabilities, complexity, and configurations. Choosing the right type of firewalls to adequately protect your business while aligning with your budget and in-house talent can be a challenge for some businesses. Firewalls are not a set-it-and-forget-it piece of technology. They require regular maintenance, patching, and adjustments to prevent cyber threats without hampering legitimate network traffic. If you don’t have the skills to maintain a firewall internally, investigate Managed Firewall services where you can hire a company to manage firewalls for you without hiring, training, and retaining additional staff. 

Based on your requirements, consider combining firewall capabilities with intrusion prevention systems to monitor and prevent suspicious activities. 


Access Control and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) 

Set policies to ensure users create strong, unique passwords and consider enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) on core applications and platforms. MFA significantly reduces the risk of password-based vulnerabilities and is one of the lower-cost security measures businesses can use to protect themselves and allows for more secure remote access to company network and systems.  

Restrict access to sensitive data based on job roles and responsibilities. Create a clear architecture to which groups can access data, systems, and shared spaces to limit risk to these areas. Ensure policies are adhered to for changing access when you have employee departures, arrivals, and when they transfer between distinct groups. Incorporate a process to revisit and review access based on these changes. 


Employee Training and Awareness 

Educate employees on security best practices, such as identifying phishing emails and protecting sensitive information. There are several platforms you can license to run Security Awareness programs including education, simulated phishing exercises, and test employees to get a baseline reading on how likely your team is to engage with threats like phishing, vishing, SMSishing, and more. 

KnowBe4, a well-regarded company in the security awareness space, reports that creating budget for security awareness training is effective in changing employee behaviour and measurably reduces security-related risks by between 45 and 70 percent. 

Security Awareness Training Network Security

Source: Train Employees And Cut Cyber Risks Up To 70 Percent ( 


Data Encryption 

Encrypt data in transit using protocols like SSL/TLS. Encrypt sensitive data at rest, especially on portable devices. This is especially important for businesses that handle sensitive personal, financial, and health data. Multiple tools, protocols, and processes can be enacted to encrypt data on company phones, laptops, and cloud applications to prevent data breaches both in the office and for remote employees.  

Encryption can be applied to different layers of the network, including the data, the communication channels, and the devices and endpoints. At what layer you encrypt and how you manage the encryption should be approached strategically based on your specific business requirements and technology stack. 


Regular Software Patching and Updates 

Keep operating systems, applications, and security software up to date to address known vulnerabilities. Software patching and updates play a crucial role in enhancing network security and overall cybersecurity posture.  

Regular patching and updates can help in the following ways: 

  • Patch vulnerabilities before they impact the business 
  • Prevent exploits that could result in unauthorized access, compromised systems, and data breaches 
  • Increased compatibility and stability 
  • Maintaining compliance 
  • Reducing attack surface and exposure to zero-day attacks 


Network Segmentation for Network Security

Divide the network into segments to limit the impact of a security breach and control access to sensitive data. Each segment is isolated from the others, allowing for more granular control over access and security policies.  

In addition to the network security benefits of network segmentation for businesses, it can also lead to additional improvements such as:  

  • Increased network performance 
  • Containment of breaches 
  • Achieve compliance and regulatory requirements 
  • Optimized resource allocation per segment requirements 

Network Segmentation Business Network Security

VLANs or subnets are often used to segment business networks and divide the network into smaller segments that connect users virtually.  


Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) 

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) play a crucial role in network security by monitoring and analyzing network traffic for suspicious activities or security events. IDS will monitor traffic for known signatures, anomalies, and other suspicious patterns to flag as a potential threat to the network. IDS also monitors for changes to files and system configurations to detect unauthorized modifications.  

By deploying a well-configured IDS, organizations can enhance their business network security posture and better defend against a wide range of cyber threats. 


Incident Response Plan 

Develop a detailed incident response plan outlining the steps to be taken in case of a security incident. Encourage employees to report any suspicious activity promptly and have a well-defined process for handling incidents. While this will not prevent a security breach, having an incident response plan in place ensures roles and responsibilities are outlined as well as tasks to carry out based on the threat level of the incident and can reduce the impact of a security event.  


Data Backups and Disaster Recovery 

Regularly backup critical data and store it in a secure offsite location or the cloud. Develop a disaster recovery plan to ensure business continuity in case of data loss with well-defined recovery objectives aligned to your business risk profile. A documented and practiced disaster recovery strategy helps reduce downtime, accelerate recovery, and minimize risk of catastrophic disruptions to business operations and loss of critical data.  

As it relates to network security, ensure that all network infrastructure, processes, and personnel are listed appropriately in the DR strategy to facilitate efficient communication and planning should the need arise. 


Security Policies and Procedures 

Establish clear security policies and procedures that all employees must follow. These security policies should outline what steps should be taken during onboarding new staff, during employee exits or changes, technology patching and updating, and more. Businesses benefit from having a well-documented process in place to revoke access rights and collect company-owned devices when an employee leaves the organization. This helps reduce issues with unauthorized access as well as expediting offboarding processes. 

Other network security policies can include:  

  • Enforcing multi-factor authentication 
  • Password policies and management 
  • Remote access policies and connecting to the company network via a secure VPN 
  • Leveraging proper levels of access and permissions 
  • Firewall configurations and rules 
  • Guidelines for secure Wi-Fi usage 
  • Keeping software up-to-date and security patches applied promptly 
  • BYOD and usage of company devices and networks 


Monitoring and Logging 

Monitor network and system logs for unusual activities. Set up alerts for potential security breaches. Monitoring and logging can be enabled at the network level, operating systems, applications, devices, firewalls, and at each network-connected endpoint that could pose a risk to your business. Companies that use cloud solutions should extend their monitoring to cloud environments and platforms.  


Vendor and Third-Party Risk Management 

As part of regular security reviews, businesses should assess the security practices of vendors and third-party partners who have access to the network and limit access where appropriate. Whenever adding technology solutions or partners, research what level of security the companies adhere to and see what confirmation they can send in terms of secure data storage, privacy concerns, and compliance with relevant security frameworks.  

Questions to ask vendors: 

  • Which security control frameworks do they use? 
  • When were they last audited and who was the auditor? 
  • What approach do they take for vulnerability scanning and how frequently do they scan? 
  • What type of data is retained and where is that data stored? 


Physical Security Measures for Business Network Security 

While most network security threats are digital, there remains the physical, in-person threat that someone could directly access business network equipment. To reduce this risk, there are a few physical network security best practices to adhere to: 

  • Secure physical access to servers and network equipment with keycard access assigned to designated personnel to prevent unauthorized tampering.  
  • Separate storage of critical infrastructure from storage of other items.  
  • Include video surveillance and additional alarm systems and sensor if deemed necessary. 


Small Business Network Security 

Many smaller businesses assume they are less of a target than large enterprise when it comes to network security threats. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Small business network security is even more crucial as many threats are automated to seek out vulnerabilities rather than being targeted and smaller businesses are less equipped to defend themselves and recover from an attack appropriately.  


Continuous Improvement in Business Network Security 

Remember that security is an ongoing process. Regularly reviewing and updating your security measures is essential to stay ahead of evolving threats. Additionally, consider seeking advice from cybersecurity experts or consultants to ensure that your business network security is up to date with the latest industry standards and practices to address emerging threats. 

Get Service Pricing

Want to get price ranges for a specific service? Fill out this quick form.

Do You Have a Comprehensive Disaster Recovery Strategy?

Download our DR Readiness guide to see if your business can recover key data in case of an emergency.