Setting Up a Small Business Network in 5 Simple Steps

Setting Up a Small Business Network in 5 Simple Steps

For small businesses, a secured and reliable network configuration is a must. Regardless if you only have 5 to 10 employees, as long as you rely mainly on computers and the internet to run your business, networks play a vital role in the success of your business. A computer network is a collection of computers connected to each other to exchange data through the use of network links, either wired or wireless. If you have more than 2 computers in use for your business, then you need to set-up a network suitable for you.

Setting up computer network is as easy as 5 steps. You may opt to hire a professional but you could save tons of  money and do it on your own instead. Here is a guide how you can manage to create a network for your small business.

Decide between Wired or Wireless

Before anything else, decide whether you are using wires or not. For a more secured and reliable connection, wired is the best option. Wired network is also economical and easy to install. However, it limits the range of your network. Unlike wireless network, distance is not an issue, as long as it is within the range of the wireless network. Now, wireless networks are easy install and eliminates the need to use cord.

Pick a Network Set-up

Next thing to keep in mind is the type of network set-up for a small business. There are two commonly used network set-up, the peer-to-peer and the client-server set-up. In peer-to-peer set-up, computers are linked together and acts as both the client and the server. Each computer directly communicates with each other and can be easily added or removed in the network. The client-server set-up, on the other hand, connects computers through a server. All computers are linked to the server where most applications are installed. client-server network is ideal for large scale businesses.

Purchase the Hardware

Hardware includes the router, switches, hubs and cables. Choosing what to use is a matter of preference, however, it is important to keep in mind what their purpose are. Routers acts as the bridge that links your network to the internet. Multiple computers can connect to a single internet connection via the use of a router. Usually, routers have 4 ports, but if you need more, you can purchase a switch. Hub is also an option which acts like a switch but could be tricky to manage compared to a switch.

Secure your Network

Securing a network does not only mean buying anti-virus or firewall to prevent online related problems, but it also means making your network prepared of what could happen like data corruption, power interruption or hardware malfunction. It is important to consider how to deal with all of these because on way or another your network will encounter such issue. You need to invest in power surge protectors, back up drive, and password protected data. As much as possible, implement the network security basics in your business.

Back up

Protect your data by having a regular and scheduled backups of data. Some servers have automatic back up features like the Microsoft server and Mac servers.

Network & Server Security Basics

Network and server security is as simple as adhering to a set of predefined rules. In another word, network security refers to any kind of activity performed and/or designed to make sure that your network isn’t exposed to possible vulnerability that can impose risks to your sensitive data. These activities are supposed to protect your network’s usability, reliability, integrity, and safety. An effective network security targets a specific variety of threats and prevents them from entering and spreading in your network. Now that you have a basic overview of network security, let’s go to the actual rules and implementations required to make a network secure.

Before we begin, let me tell you that this is not for enterprise-level network security. This post is aimed towards small businesses and individuals who wanted to make sure that their network is safe from vulnerabilities and threats. Okay, let’s start.

What Are The Threats?

There are many network threats that are spreading through the internet. Some of them are the following:

  • Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses
  • Spyware and adware
  • Zero-day attacks, also called zero-hour attacks
  • Hacker attacks
  • Denial of service attacks
  • Data interception and theft
  • Identity theft

With an effective security, you can avoid being a victim of any one of the above. Here are some of the general ideas and things to consider in making sure that your network is secured:

  1. Firewall and router – an effective firewall can block any incoming malicious connections. By setting up rules to block any malicious incoming connections, you are greatly reducing your security risk. There are a lot of router options to choose from, each comes with an effective firewall and logging features to enable you to control your network performance.
  2. Use a solid host – If you’re using a third party (you likely are) to host your network make sure they’re offering a high quality server. This doesn’t have to be expensive, this is an example of a solid windows VPS.
  3. Content filtering – it’s best way to avoid facing security risks rather than trying to prevent them from penetrating the system. Content filtering ensures that your network has restricted access to potentially malicious websites that often contains malware.
  4. Use strong passwords – a good password can greatly secure your network. A good password is nonsensical: consider using an acronym from a long phrase as your password. One phrase example is, “Stay Away Malicious Hackers Because You Can’t Breach My Unparalleled Security”, which will translate as samhbycbmus, a very nonsensical password. Obscure it further by making it look like this: $@mhbycbmu$.
  5. Backup – there are times where you can’t stop a virus or malicious software spreading and the only way to prevent or end it is by doing a backup restoration. This is always a good thing to do to make sure that all of your data are safe. Ensure regular backups are in place and write down your passwords in case your forget them.

There are techniques that are more advanced, hardware and software that you can implement if you want to further your network security. But for small business users, this will work.

Hardening Linux Servers

In today’s computing world, the Linux operating systems or distros are beginning to have a fair amount of server market share. One reason behind that is because Linux has more flexibility, advanced features and is fast and secure.

Yes, Linux is already secured by default, but it’s only a basic level of security. Experienced hackers can easily break into a Linux web server that doesn’t have a hardened security or additional security software installed.

Every day, more and more hackers are starting to master and study loopholes and vulnerability on Linux servers, especially because they will continue to dominate the server market because of the rise of cloud computing. But worry not because Linux is developed with security in mind. You can also easily add software, firewall rules, SSH security and permissions to further lock down your Linux server’s security.

Securing Your Linux Web Server – Essentials

  • One of the most essential part of securing a Linux server is to make it physically secure. Add passwords to your BIOS and GRUB and disable booting from CD/DVD, External Devices, and Floppy Drive in BIOS.
  • Minimizing system packages is also a great way to eliminate security holes and vulnerability. If you have a service or software installed which is not regularly used, they can be left out and get outdated and it gives an open avenue for hackers to access your server. Remove unnecessary software, packaged and/or services to minimize threats.
  • Encrypting data communication is also an important part of your server security. Using FTP and the like can be easily intercepted by anyone in the same network using a packet sniffer. Using SSH, SFTP or RSYNC for file transfer is a secure way to transfer data to and from your server.
  • Using Linux security extensions can also improve your server security further. SELinux is one of the best security extensions for Linux that provides an “internal firewall system”.
  • Keeping your system updated is also a great way to minimize security vulnerabilities. Keeping your system up-to-date ensures that all vulnerabilities and security holes are patched to date.
  • Encouraging strong user passwords for user accounts also ensures that there will be no system breach or information leak. Applying password aging is also a good idea to keep passwords updated.
  • Disabling the root login is a must. You don’t need to login as a root to perform root level actions. Simply using sudo is enough.
  • Remove X Windows. This is an unnecessary software for a dedicated Linux server. Using the command line can greatly speed things up and allocate more resources for your server needs.


There are a lot of ways to make sure that your Linux server is safe from vulnerabilities and security holes. Sometimes, a simple common sense is necessary while there are times where expertise pays off.