Common network vulnerabilities that business owners should address

A network vulnerability is a weakness in your cybersecurity posture that can enable cybercriminals or other bad actors to damage your reputation, steal your data, and disrupt your business. By educating yourself on the most common network vulnerabilities that business owners face, you can shore up the weaknesses that cybercriminals rely on most to protect your people, assets, and revenue. Let’s take a look at some common vulnerabilities, the risks they pose, and what to do about them.

What are the most common network vulnerabilities?

The network vulnerabilities you will most likely discover within your business or that cybercriminals most often exploit include:

Out-of-date software and firmware

Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new ways to attack your systems and steal your data, and it’s the job of cybersecurity professionals to create new protections against them. These new protections come in the form of updates to software programs or the firmware installed on hardware. Failing to apply these updates in a timely manner can result in exploits and attacks that your cybersecurity setup is unprepared to defend against.

Solution: Have your IT department or IT services provider regularly check for and apply updates to all of your key software and hardware, not just your cybersecurity tools.

Weak and recycled passwords

Poor password practices are still a leading cause of data breach, as the news still reports. Cybercriminals can pilfer username and password combinations from less secure platforms, then try them on other platforms. If an employee uses the same username and password for everything, they’ve exposed their identity and your network to a thief. Or, if the password is weak enough, they can just guess it, with the same result.

Solution: It doesn’t hurt to remind your workforce of password best practices, but the most surefire way is to mandate the use of a password manager, such as Dashlane, Keeper, or NordPass.

Unsecure remote access

Remote work is great for both employees and budgets, but it comes with its own unique host of cybersecurity concerns. With employees accessing your network from personal devices via possibly unsecure internet connections, the risks of intrusion and data breach grow exponentially.

Solution: Implement multifactor authentication in your network, and utilize access management tools, such as Microsoft’s Entra ID. You can also install mobile device management software on any device that accesses your network to ensure your data is protected even if the device is lost or stolen.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT refers to non-computing devices that are connected to the internet. These include smart devices, such as smart fridges, thermostats, door locks, printers, TVs, and more. The processing power of these devices is weak, and their security features are just as lacking. This means that cybercriminals can leverage these weak points to access your network.

Solution: Only connect IoT devices to your network that are from trusted vendors and have built-in security features. The firmware should be patchable and upgradable to address future threats.

Poorly configured cybersecurity tools

Cybersecurity software such as firewalls and cloud security tools are not “set and forget,” no matter how sophisticated they are. These apps require meticulous configuration at setup and continuous maintenance by trained professionals. Otherwise, your expensive cybersecurity defenses will be full of exploitable gaps.

Solution: Regularly review the settings and configurations of your firewalls and cloud services to ensure your bases are covered. Enlist the help of expert consultants for further assurance.

Untrained employees

The biggest vulnerability in your business network is your workforce. The majority of successful cyberattacks still occur because of human error and ignorance. Cybercriminals can still trick employees into giving away login credentials, allowing unauthorized access, or installing malware onto the network.

Solution: Regular cybersecurity awareness training, at least once a year, will teach your workforce to spot and prevent attacks before they occur. This will create a culture of vigilance in your organization that stops more attacks than the rest of your network security tools combined.

Interplay IT can help you identify and resolve your SMB’s network vulnerabilities. Get in touch with us today.