By Adam Livermore
Partner, Dezan Shira & Associates
A sound network security system is an important component within the operations of any foreign company in China, as it is in any other country. Especially for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), who often lack the IT resources of larger companies, to protect a business from today’s sophisticated internet threats can be a challenging task. As a network security system usually consists of many parts, investors need to make sure that all components work together in order to minimize maintenance and improve the overall security level.
When it comes to network securities, people usually pay more attention to the IT side of the equation such as firewalls, encryption and computer virus protection. The importance of physical security on the network, however, is often underestimated. Physical security, simply speaking, is to ensure that only authorized people have physical access to the company’s equipment and computer systems. Different from cyberterrorism, breaches of physical security can be carried out by normal employees with no technical knowledge. Please note that the ability to gain physical access to servers and network equipment not only allows a “hacker” to download all the company’s information stored on those servers, but can also create an opening that may continue to be used for years.
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While every business needs fast WiFi connectivity, the routers used by a company can be extremely unsafe if the password or the username haven’t been reset. Investors are suggested to set up a guest WiFi network and change the company’s WiFi password regularly to make sure that ex-employees won’t be able to connect to the company’s internet as they used to.
The IT security system covers all types of software and technology that a company may use to guard its customers’ data, such as firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spyware, intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and virtual private networks (VPNs). Serving as the electronic gatekeeper, an internet firewall protects the computer system from unexpected viruses and hackers and keeps confidential business information secure at the same time. Investors also need to be aware of the importance of getting a static IP address, which enables other computers/routers to locate the company easily.
IT Department and Internal IT Policy
Lastly, a good IT department with administrative support, as well as cooperation between a company’s high-level managers and its IT team, will undoubtedly help improve network security. IT professionals should be in full control of the company’s network system and be able to recognize all the computers and devices that are connected to the network. Employers must make sure that there is a written IT security policy in place, which will help facilitate IT security procedures and make IT staff more aware of potential security threats, as well as associated business risks.
This article is an excerpt from the China Briefing Magazine, titled “Internet Challenges & Solutions When Doing Business in China.” In this special edition of China Briefing magazine, we highlight how and why foreign companies will be negatively affected by China’s internet, and provide methods to help solve these problems. We discuss ISP selection, internet connection types, CDNs and VPNs, and internal control systems. Finally, we examine the importance of network security in China and how it can help augment a company’s internet connection.
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