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Business Continuity Playbook
(Part-3) Network Protection

Welcome to the next chapter of our business continuity playbook. This week, we will be delving into the crucial layer that safeguards your data and devices: your network. My aim is to shed light on this often overlooked and poorly understood layer, equipping you with the necessary knowledge to comprehend the risks and ask the right questions. If you haven't already, I highly recommend starting by reading the first two chapters, "Data Protection" and "Device Protection," from the previous weeks before proceeding.

Business Continuity Playbook

(Part-3) Network Protection

Welcome to the next chapter of our business continuity playbook. This week, we will be delving into the crucial layer that safeguards your data and devices: your network. My aim is to shed light on this often overlooked and poorly understood layer, equipping you with the necessary knowledge to comprehend the risks and ask the right questions. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend starting by reading the first two chapters, “Data Protection” and “Device Protection,” from the previous weeks before proceeding.

In my experience, being able to effectively communicate technical concepts in a clear and engaging manner is not only enjoyable but also essential. To achieve this, I have always relied on well-crafted analogies. For instance, think of data as valuable possessions and devices as members of a large and wealthy family. As this household is constantly connected to the internet and accessible to anyone from anywhere in the world, it has plenty of bad neighbors. This is where network protection becomes crucial. Just like how a deadbolt, surveillance cameras, and security guards keep a household safe from unwanted intruders, a firewall acts as the first line of defense for your data and devices. It guards the perimeter and inspects all incoming and outgoing traffic, ensuring that only authorized connections are allowed.


1- Begin by creating a comprehensive list of all your devices and network equipment, along with their respective connections. A visual diagram will greatly aid in understanding and assessing each device’s role in the network. Your IT partner can assist in creating this network map. It is crucial to clearly identify each device and its purpose.

2- The first network device to evaluate is your modem, which is typically provided by your Internet service provider (ISP). It usually comes with basic routing, security, and wireless connectivity features. Begin by ensuring that the default password on the modem is changed to a more complex one. In fact, it is recommended to verify this for all of your network devices. ISPs tend to leave old and outdated equipment in place unless prompted by the customer. However, using older equipment can result in subpar performance, increased vulnerability to breaches, and a lack of critical updates. It is important to regularly check with your ISP to determine the age of your modem and request an upgrade or replacement every few years. In most cases, there is not much else to do with your modem as the rest of the network and its security should be handled by your firewall, which we will look at in the next section.

3- The most crucial device on your network is the firewall, and it is also the most valuable investment you can make. While the modem provided by your ISP may be sufficient for bringing internet to your devices, its security features are often inadequate and its functionality is too limited to effectively protect your network from malicious actors. Therefore, the first step is to ensure that you have a business-class firewall in place. There are numerous options available, and we recommend choosing one that your IT partner is familiar with so they can properly manage it for you. In addition to prioritizing a business-class device, there are a few other things to consider. First, verify that the firewall is configured to filter unauthorized traffic and that important security features are turned on. Then, check the monitoring and logging capabilities of the device to ensure that it can alert your IT partner in case of suspicious activity and store event details for them to evaluate. It is also important to ensure that the device receives regular security updates from the manufacturer and that there is a replacement plan in place in case of failure. Many business-class firewalls come with a subscription that addresses both of these concerns.

4- Next ensure that your network is properly segmented. A commonly known example of network segmentation is the guest wifi. It is important to have a guest network set up, and devices connected to it should not be able to communicate with your business workstations. It is also advisable to have separate network segments for your VoIP (phone system) and IoT devices, such as smart home devices, as they can potentially serve as entry points for malicious actors.

5- Depending on your requirements, additional network devices may include network switches that offer more wired Internet ports and wireless access points that enhance wifi connectivity. It is crucial to choose business-grade devices from a reliable manufacturer and have an active service in place for regular updates. As previously mentioned, it is essential to ensure that your wireless access points support multiple networks and isolation to prevent communication between devices on your guest network and your business workstations.

6- Finally, it is important to inquire about the remote access and monitoring capabilities of your network hardware. These features allow your IT partner to promptly and proactively resolve any issues that may arise. Additionally, hardware with such capabilities is a strong indication of its suitability for business use and its reliability within a dependable ecosystem.

As we conclude our discussion on protecting your network this week, our goal is for you to have enough knowledge to ask the right questions. As a business owner, it is crucial for you to be aware and well-informed about decisions made to safeguard your business, rather than making it an easy target. Remember this is just a brief overview of proper business network setup and security. It is highly recommended to work with an IT consultant who can guide you and take care of the details. However, now that you have a basic understanding, you can actively participate in the process. Next week, we will wrap up our business continuity series with the most important chapter of all, titled “Last Resort”. We will provide valuable information on what to do when all else fails. We will also review simple yet often overlooked measures that can protect your business. See you then

– Burak Sarac, Team Lead

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