Intranet Security best Practices

Intranet Security: Best Practices To Secure Your Company Intranet

Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people are working from home. Intranet security has become the top concerns for organizations worldwide, as we are compelled into the world’s biggest remote working environment.

Modern intranets act as a single unified interface for company-wide information and tools, that is, everything from data to emails to enterprise apps stored in a cloud-based internal network that employees can easily access with one login. This means, if the intranet security is compromised, hackers and cyberthieves can also view your entire organization’s data from a single entry point.

Besides cyberattacks, there are a lot many intranet security threats, both internal and external, that organizations need to protect themselves against, including data breaches caused by employee negligence, unauthorized user access, and accidental web exposure.

So, here we have compiled a list of the leading threats to your intranet and a host of tips and best practices to protect your organization’s digital workplace from the risks of compromised security.

Top Risks and Best Practices to Protect your Digital Workplace

Intranet security risks can be classified into two – internal security vulnerabilities and external threats depending on its source.

Internal security vulnerabilities include the following –

  • Using weak or compromised or reused passwords
  • Giving access to all data, including sensitive information, to all users that may cause information leaks
  • Keeping data at rest or in-transit unencrypted
  • Allowing unsecured remote access by employees through devices, such as mobile phones that do not have a reliable antivirus or an adequate firewall protection

External threats can be in the form of:

  • Malware, ransomware, viruses, and threats that slow down the intranet
  • Phishing attacks that lead employees into trusting the source of the requests and disclosing sensitive client data
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks

Intranet Security is a continuous process that requires a collaborative approach; that is, employees must be mindful of their actions and how they can compromise intranet security. At the same time, the organization needs to adopt measures to reduce exposure to possible threats. 

Below is a list of tips and best practices to secure your company intranet –

1. Build a secure home network

While working from home, employees use their home Wifi network to connect to the organization’s digital portal. These networks are less secure than office networks.

To build a secure home network, companies should clearly communicate the expectations of employees. Firstly, the IT department must emphasize the importance of creating strong passwords. They must introduce a policy that requires employees to mandatorily reset their password after a set interval of time, maybe 90 days. 

Secondly, organizations must specify whether they require the employees to use a separate network or the company’s VPN to connect to the intranet.

Also, the IT department must prevent logins from saving on laptops and mobile devices.

2. Make employees aware of phishing scams

Remote working requires employees to contact each other via email or instant messaging regularly. Hence, they must be made aware that hackers may impersonate company leaders and ask for confidential client data or other sensitive information. 

The IT team must strictly ask users not to respond to any emails without verifying the sender’s ID. Emails or messages asking for personal, financial, or client data must be inspected for odd characteristics of misspelled words.

3. Avoid non-restricted data access

One of the easiest steps to ensure intranet security is to segment your network’s data. While remote employees do need all information and tools at their disposal under a single interface, not everybody needs access to every file or software application.

Thus, the IT department needs to configure role-based segmentation that determines who can view, edit, or share files. Establishing multi-factor authentication and information audit trails are some other ways of preventing data leaks.

4. Encrypt Intranet Data

The administrator must encrypt data while it is at rest or in transit. For example, in SharePoint Intranets, BitLocker ensures two-level encryption of data in disks and provides a unique key for each file. At the same time, the SSL/TLS connection secures the data in transit.

5. Educate your staff

Educating your staff, especially when most of them are working remotely, is one of the easiest and most effective methods of securing your company’s intranet.

It is imperative to establish a comprehensive company-wide policy that guides users on best practices to protect your intranet from possible attacks.

Your IT team can conduct virtual training on the importance of securing their laptops and mobile devices. Moreover, the IT personnel must have remote access to work-related on these devices at all times, in case there is a need to wipe off the data if the mobile is lost or stolen.

6. Protect against malware

The IT team must proactively conduct intranet event monitoring, which helps track any unusual or suspicious activity or uncommon data inflow. It is also crucial to update anti-malware software timely to keep with the changing malware threat environment.

7. Protect remote devices

Organizations must allow remote employees to access the company’s intranet from company-owned devices only. They must not allow users to connect to the company data via unsecured public networks. Or, as stated above, the employees must be asked to protect their home networks using strong passwords or connect through the company’s VPN.

8. Secure the bridge

Network access security solutions are tools and technologies that protect the network at the bridge over which remote devices connect. Once a user is allowed to access the network, they control the user’s control over the organization’s system and data.

9. Secure devices physically

Physical theft is as significant a threat as a cyber theft. Employees should never leave their company devices unattended, especially in a car or a public place. At home, too, the device must be locked if left alone in the room.

10. Protect against DDoS attacks

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack aims at overwhelming the intranet with so many requests that it becomes impossible to operate it properly. Tools such as firewalls and load balancers can control the volume of traffic entering your company’s intranet.

Protect your intranet now!

As remote working becomes the norm, it comes with its own set of challenges in managing intranet security. The nature and sensitivity of your company’s data are crucial aspects, and securing it is the equal responsibility of the company and its employees.

While the IT department can take various preventive measures like security analytics, it is also essential for remote employees to follow the needed directives to keep your company data secure.

If you’re interested in exploring a robust intranet for your organization, you can check out our autonomous AI-enabled SharePoint intranet solution (Mesh 3.0) that is built with the best of Microsoft technologies and follows enterprise grade security standards.

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