Almost all aspects of organizational operations and businesses today are run by technology. As long as a company’s IT infrastructure is up-to-date and properly networked, it's possible to maximize it to create more efficiencies, enhance productivity and improve communication within an organization.
What Is IT Infrastructure?
Essentially, IT infrastructure is a combination of software, network resources, and hardware that propel an enterprise's information technology environment. It acts as the foundation every business needs to achieve effective organizational and business usefulness delivery. This is possible with advanced IT systems and applications that can give clients, workers, and other concerned stakeholders meaningful solutions and services.
While perhaps, the default approach is to create an internal IT team to handle your small business’s IT needs, there may be cases wherein getting an external service provider to help you through the process may be more beneficial. This is especially if your IT needs are becoming more demanding and you need extra support. You can check out IT consulting firms to outsource some of the best business-tailored IT solutions.
And considering how vital an IT infrastructure is for an organization to meet its objectives, it has to be reliable, flexible, and secure. Otherwise, the business can become susceptible to security and productivity issues if it hasn't met these qualifications. With that, some of the ways to build secure IT infrastructure for your small business include:
1. Limit User Access To Your Business Network
Controlling access is essentially limiting the number of users in your organization who can read or obtain critical business information. This means you’ll only allow a specific number of people to access your network rather than leaving it open to everyone to enhance security.
To implement this, you can give authorized team members credentials like passwords and pins to access the network when needed. That way, you'll be able to reduce the risk of individuals accessing information without the proper authorization. Hence the chances of experiencing a data breach can be minimized.
Other ways that you can limit access to your network include:
- Installing retinal scanners
- Using two factor authentication(2FA)
- Installing Fingerprint scanners
- Encouraging the use of facial recognition software
In addition, you can also use Virtual Private Networks to help ensure that your network is encrypted. This encryption can make it difficult for hackers to access sensitive information in your organization.
2. Install Necessary Cybersecurity Tools
In this age of technology, with most business operations and transactions being done on digital platforms, it’s essential that your small business have robust cybersecurity measures in place. This can go a long way in thwarting possible cyber threats and attacks that can compromise business data.
For that reason, you'd want to consider using tools to help you in the following:
- Detection: Having software like an intrusion detection system to help monitor your network and system and notify you in case of any suspicious activity or policy violations is a critical step to having a secure IT infrastructure. Depending on the software you implement, some have details on the exact date and how the attack happened. Therefore, detection tools can help you stay informed of all that's happening in your system. And with this information, you can deal with possible security issues before it causes significant damage or data loss.
- Response: A response tool is also essential, as it can help you mitigate the situation when you're experiencing an active attack on your systems. Such tools may shut down some parts of your IT infrastructure to protect them from the cyber attacker's access. Also, they may disconnect some devices from the network until you lace new safeguards or a way out of the attack.
- Recovery: Recovery tools are also as important as detection and response tools. You’d need software that can help revive your networks and systems after a cybersecurity breach. And in most cases, you’ll also need to retrieve business data and assess if it’s not tampered with or manipulated.
Part of building a secure IT infrastructure for your small business has reliable tools that can help you detect and respond to possible threats and aid your system’s recovery. However, you’d also have to inspect them now and then to confirm if they're functioning correctly. If any of them is outdated, install patches and updates to ensure they remain reliable and efficient in securing your system.
3. Have Security Awareness Training For Employees
Indeed, your workforce is your business’s best asset. However, they can also be the reason for possible security breaches. This is especially since such incidents aren’t just due to technology failure. Today, hackers are becoming more creative and using social engineering, such as phishing, pretexting, and scareware, to gain credentials to access your system.
With that in mind, it is essential to invest in security awareness training to educate your employees about cyber threats, their effects, should an attack happens, and what to do in such cases. You'd also want to enlighten them about the importance of protecting critical information in your company.
This training can give you a platform to discuss common security risks and practical ways to prevent them. This is a critical approach since your employees are your first line of defense against possible attacks. This means them being informed and equipped with the right information to detect and respond to threats effectively can significantly help secure your small business’s IT infrastructure and minimize security breaches.
4. Establish Solid IT Policies
Aside from raising security awareness and enlightening your team members of potential risks and threats, you could further boost employee participation in safeguarding your IT infrastructure by establishing IT security policies. Doing so could guide your employees regarding the best practices for securing critical business data and the company’s network.
Examples of regulations that you can establish include:
- Prohibiting them from downloading unnecessary software or applications, especially those that are not related to their functions
- Generating strong passwords
- Adhering to all network and data encryption standards
- Reporting any security threats
- Using IT tools and systems responsibly
These are just some of the regulations you can have in your organization. And as you cascade these policies, ensure to explain to your team the possible repercussions if they fail to comply.
5. Invest In High-Performance Storage Solutions
Some business owners use physical servers to store their business information; however, they're more susceptible to natural disasters and unauthorized access than virtual servers.
In that case, you can opt for cloud storage to store business data. One of the notable advantages of cloud storage is that you can access files and other data anywhere at any time. Moreover, you could automate data backups. This can go a long way in securing sensitive files and minimizing significant downtime or interruptions in your operations, should a breach happens.
6. Update Your Firewall
A firewall protects all the resources in your network from any potential harm or threats from other network users. To put it simply, it’s a barrier separating the public internet from your private network. It can take a look at web traffic or data and confirm whether it's eligible to pass to its destination. If it's unauthorized, then the firewall will block it, and if not, then the firewall can access the user to access sensitive information.
Considering a firewall acts as a line of defense that safeguards your network, experts advise it should be updated every three to five years. Since technology is rapidly evolving, your firewall’s security features may be outdated and less effective in the coming year.
Moreover, security threats are becoming more sophisticated, and a minor gap in your system can easily expose you, making your business vulnerable to attacks. Hence, you'd want your firewall to be updated and efficient in thwarting such risks.
7. Conduct An IT Assessment Regularly
One of the best ways to ensure that your IT infrastructure is in top shape is by auditing it regularly. This can be a proactive approach since you get to check and ascertain if there are any gaps or issues in your systems. This could also be beneficial in assessing the technology you currently have and how it can be more efficient. Ultimately, this can give you insights into your IT infrastructure, allowing you to make well-informed decisions that could benefit your business.
While your internal team can do this, you could also explore hiring IT experts to help you with this. Aside from scanning your system for potential issues, they could also offer solutions or recommendations to address the problem.
Wrapping It Up
A robust IT infrastructure enables you to run your small business efficiently and boost your operations, which can result in your company gaining a competitive advantage over your competitors in the industry. That said, you'd want to ensure you have measures in place that can safeguard it from potential security breaches.
To help you get started, this article has outlined insights into how you could build a secure infrastructure for your small business. Furthermore, you can reach out to IT consulting companies for professional assistance.