Network compliance has many benefits for small to medium businesses. Companies processing credit card information may need to maintain PCI Compliance, while healthcare professionals may need to maintain HIPAA Compliance. Businesses recognize the need to secure and protect applications and their data including: customer records, employee privacy data, competitive information and trade secrets.
Depending on your industry regulations there may be strict requirements and steep fines for noncompliance. The risk of cyber attacks also increases the need to maintain a compliant network. Here are some basic tips for keeping your network in compliance.
Network Monitoring for Network Compliance
Performing a periodic network scan can identify any unauthorized computers and/or mobile devices on your network. If your network is not secure, an unauthorized user may be connected through a wireless access or even physically, without your knowledge. In some cases this may be for malicious purposes. At a minimum, an unauthorized computer or mobile device may introduce viruses or malware to your network.
Maintaining Operating System (O/S) Security Patches
It is important to ensure that your O/S security patches are consistently applied. Also, security patches for office productivity tools should also be kept up to date to minimize exposure on your network. Don’t leave it to employees to accept patches. Make sure you have a system in place to ensure all O/S patches are properly applied. If you centrally manage these O/S patches, you can also save on network bandwidth, so all your employees don’t have to download these patches when available.
Keep Anti Virus and Anti Malware Definitions up To Date
It is equally important to keep your Anti Virus and Anti Malware definitions up to date to ensure your network in compliance. One infected, machines behind your firewall can potentially bring down your entire network. Make sure you protect your mobile devices as well. These smart phones, tablet computers and other mobile devices are also targets of viruses and malicious software. Your network is as secure as the weakest link.
In addition to preventing attacks to minimize your exposure, you should also backup your data so you can rapidly recover in the event of an attack. Based on your industry requirements, there will be more rigorous requirements on how to protect your data. If you have concerns about whether you are achieving network compliance, contact your IT services organization and inquire about a network health check.