Is My Network Speed Fast Enough?
Having an internet connection go down or slow to a crawl is not only a nuisance, but can grind business operations to a halt, or at best, put a severe damper on productivity. Even a seemingly minute delay can have exponentially adverse effects on your company's effectiveness.
Every extra second of loading time, multiplied by the total number of employees and the many daily operations can eat up several hours of collective work time every single week. We should, of course, exclude the frustrations generated as a result of slow network speed.
What Constitutes a Fast Network?
In perspective, the average broadband DSL service provides speeds anywhere in between 10 to 25 megabits per second (Mbps). Fiber-to-business services, on the other hand, can range from 25 to 300, while some providers can offer as much as 1,000 Mbps.
It's safe to say that with a 1,000 Mbps network speed, your application will run super fast, video streaming will be seamless, and you can use multiple resources at a time without seeing any drop in performance. But the question is whether you need that much speed, or you can achieve the same level of efficiency with less.
It's not all that difficult to determine the actual Mbps your workspace needs. One factor to keep in mind, however, is that the more internet connections you have and the more people are using separate devices at the same time, the higher the Mbps connection you will need.
The first step is to check your monthly statements from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). They should clearly state how many Mbps you are getting. Once you have this information, you should run a simple speed test to determine the actual performance of your connection. If the numbers don't add up, contact your ISP to see what the issue is.
Most commonly, however, a slow network speed may be caused by factors in your office. Two major factors determine the exact internet speed you need. How many people are using your network and what are they using it for.
Optimizing Your Network Infrastructure
Aside from increasing your internet connection, you can also work to streamline your network's architecture to improve functionality and overall productivity. Here are some examples:
iWAN - Intelligent wide area networks (iWANs) extend the capabilities of traditional WANs by integrating advanced services that benefit remote workers.
SD-WAN - Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) will help boost the network performance, as well as the security and scalability of that network. They can incorporate regular broadband as well as other modes of transport and provide various failsafe protections in the event of a slow or downed system.
VPNs - Remote work is an ever more common occurrence across the United States. And while this improves flexibility, it can, however, harm productivity as well as security. To circumvent this problem, you should use virtual private networks (VPNs). These will extend a private connection over a public network, ensuring secure and easy access to essential company apps and resources.
Managing your network and improving its efficiency are investments that will surely increase company productivity. By partnering up with a managed service provider, you will keep your system in top working efficiency while allowing your employees to do the same.
And if you're working from home, check out this in-depth article on how you can boost your wifi signal.
How to Tell If Your Network Is Secure
As the internet is becoming a dominating force around the world and computer networks are growing in size and complexity, data integrity is also an ever-growing concern that organizations need to consider. Network security is a critical aspect for businesses, no matter the size.
And while no network is entirely immune to cyber-attacks, a stable and efficient security system is critical in protecting client data. It is especially true for organizations operating in the healthcare and financial sectors but also applies to other industries as well. Good network security will help protect businesses from data theft, sabotage, ransomware, spyware, malware, etc.
So, how can you tell if your network is secure and what can you do to improve the situation?
Arguably, one of the most vulnerable parts of any network is the users that operate on it - namely you and your employees. The overwhelming number of cyber-attacks that manage to pass through the nets do not involve any fancy coding but are the result of successful phishing.
Phishing is nothing more than the fraudulent attempt by hackers to obtain sensitive information (passwords, usernames, financial or medical information, etc.) by posing as credible and trustworthy entities via electronic forms of communication. These can take the form of official-looking emails, pop-ups, text messages, lookalike websites, etc.
The best way to counteract this problem is via a comprehensive training program that educates staff members on how to recognize and avoid these phishing tactics, in the first place. Also keep in mind that a whopping 41% of such attacks originate from third-parties such as contractors, vendors, suppliers, etc.
The importance of passwords in network security cannot be overstated. Nevertheless, many users see them as a nuisance and regularly use the same password across different systems. Not only that, but the same password is sometimes used for personal use. It further increases the risk of it being discovered, rendering your security protocols useless.
It means that, if hackers manage to get their hands on one password, your whole network may be compromised. Always keep different usernames and passwords for laptops and servers, as well.
The Updates Arms Race
An antivirus will help protect your data from being infected once a virus or malicious software has made it into your network. Firewalls, on the other hand, will keep these from entering, in the first place. Always keep these systems and your servers updated as hackers will always upgrade their malware to bypass protective software.
Scripting Your Login Process
One measure of detecting the onset of a network infection is by keeping track of when users log in or off their work accounts. Unfortunately, this is only a somewhat reliable procedure. A better one is to script in your login process. The idea behind this procedure is the same, but it's much more efficient.
The Default Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Port
If you are using Windows, the chances are that you're also using the default Remote Desktop Protocol port. Cybercriminals will take advantage of this and will employ a multitude of tools to hack their way and scan for exposed endpoints. The easiest solution here is to change that RDP port to something unused.
Having a secure network may seem like a daunting challenge, but it is necessary to keep your business and your data safe from cybercriminals. These steps presented here will help you minimize that risk. If you need any help, however, Managed Solution is at your service. Contact us to find out how we can assist you.