Network Security Basics For Your Business

Network security is often a confusing and frustrating subject. It seems as though no matter how many precautions are taken, hackers can still manage to find a way in. While it may be true that there is no such thing as fool-proof network security, there are many ways that any business can drastically improve.

email phishing hookA layered method is the best way to approach network security and make your network a hard target to tackle. By adapting these five layers, you can effectively increase the level of network security your business has and thwart many would-be attackers.

Layer one: Secure your wireless connections

Wireless access points provide convenient network access for employees and contractors, but unfortunately they also provide convenient access to hackers and attackers as well. All wireless access devices should either be secured or disabled if they are not in active use. Active devices should use WPA2 security at a minimum and utilize strong passwords that are not easy to guess. Additionally, an easy way to gain an extra layer of security is to set your wireless device to not broadcast its network name, or SSID.

Simple wireless security practices include:

  • Using WPA2 security
  • Enabling MAC address filtering
  • Setting strong passwords that are periodically changed
  • Limiting the broadcast range of your access point
  • Disabling SSID broadcasting

Layer two: Avoid suspicious emails

Innocent looking emails are the number one way attackers gain entry to networks. Often, innocent emails will carry dangerous payloads that can install viruses and other malware on PCs, even those that use updated antivirus software. The best way to avoid these threats is to immediately delete suspicious emails without opening them. If you do not recognize the sender, or the message seems at all suspicious, the best course of action is to simply delete the email.

Layer three: Set up a proxy or web filter

Malicious websites are another top attack vector utilized by hackers and other nefarious attackers. Even an innocent looking website has the potential to download harmful files to your PC. The best way to avoid this scenario is to use a proxy or web filter that automatically blocks users from browsing to these sites. A proxy can prevent users from accidentally stumbling upon a site that does damage to their PC and your network.

Layer four: Create strong password policies

Passwords are one of the simplest ways to keep attackers out, but they are also one of the most overlooked aspects of network security. Simple password policies can create a secure environment that is not easily breached.

Strong password policies include:

  • Changing the default passwords on computers and network devices
  • Requiring that network passwords are strong passwords that include letters, numbers and special characters
  • Educating employees to avoid writing down passwords and never keeping passwords that are written down in visible or easily accessible locations
  • Educating employees to never share passwords with anyone

Layer five: Audit your security regularly

The best way to ensure your network is secure is to have security audits performed regularly. A good auditing company can spot security loopholes before attackers can, and this allows you to tighten your security before your network is attacked. By working with a trusted auditing company, it is possible for your network security to stay one step ahead of the attackers. The auditing company can spot security holes that your staff may not be aware of, and the auditors are often able to provide detailed guidance about what security measures need to be taken.

Network security is a tough subject to tackle, but employing layers of security can easily help your business become more secure. A layered approach makes your company a difficult target to tackle. When hackers face obstacles like the ones created by this approach, they will often give up and seek out easier targets. While it may be impossible to create a network that is 100 percent secure, these methods will help you keep bad guys out and create a network that is not easy to attack.

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