PC, laptop, and tablet security (we hope) has become second nature. It is widely known that anti-malware and anti-virus software should be installed and maintained on any device that is connected to the internet. However, network security is often overlooked.
Networks, at home and in the office, connect devices such as routers, printers, and computers. Networks are necessary to share information with each other in an office setting. But possibly even more important, networks allow us to get online.
Network security is important
If networks are so critical for completing everyday tasks, then why is network security overlooked? Truth be told, networks can seem too technical for the average person to handle. So, what happens if you don’t have the money for a dedicated IT professional? Here are a few ways that you can secure your network, better protecting yourself from attacks that could cripple your business.
How to improve network security
Layer your security
Using multiple security measures at varying points of your network eliminates any one single weak spot in your defense against attacks. A firewall is a good place to start when thinking about network security. You might also look into a network intrusion detection system (NIDS) to monitor your network for unusual activity.
Install updates and patches
When new threats are detected, companies will release updates and patches to their software or firmware. Take advantage. Install the updates – even to your router! Routers are often looked at like appliances. When they work they are taken for granted. Update router firmware when updates are offered.
Change default credentials
This one simple task is so easy, yet it is often overlooked. Change the default credentials to any network device. Use a strong password. A strong password uses upper- and lower-case letters, nubmers and symbols, and is longer than 8 characters.
Training and procedure enforcement
Teach your staff that security is important to your organization. Let them know what security procedures are in place and what to do if a breach is suspected.
Employ proper permissions
Not every employee needs access to everything within your organization. This is known as the principle of least privilege (PoLP). Segregating the network by user groups can help keep sensitive data safe. Part of this type of security is knowing what devices are connected to your network.
If things like IPsec, SNMPv3, SSH, and TLS are just too overwhelming, it might be a good idea to hire an IT professional, even if just to get the network set up properly.