A network with poor security is about the same as leaving your front door wide open. It’s inviting hackers, viruses, and corporate espionage. This is why the computer security industry has grown into the multi-billion-dollar sector that it is today. Network security has to continue to advance and grow because hackers and viruses change and learn new ways of attacking networks. If you’re trying to keep your network security as effective as possible, here are seven lessons to keep in mind.
1. Have a Written Security Policy
It’s hard to know how to protect your network if you don’t have a security policy written out. This will give your team direction and objectives so you’re not aimlessly implementing whatever new security methods you come across. This policy should outline which user roles have access to what part of the network, how and when access is given and revoked, and how data is classified. It should also include risk assessment and disaster recovery plans. Basically, this document needs to include everything about your network security, the rules for using a company computer, and emergency plans for being hacked.
2. Educate Employees
Your network’s security is only as strong as your least-secure employee. If someone uses a basic password or opens email attachments from unknown users, your network security might as well be nonexistent. That’s why it’s vital that you teach your employees about good network security. They need to know what a strong password consists of and why it’s important to use one, how to spot suspicious emails or websites, and how to properly secure their workstations when they’re not using them.
3. Prevent Employees from Installing Anything
While you may want to believe that you can trust your employees, you still want to keep your system safe. That’s why many IT departments lock down the ability to install software. An employee may think that the program they’re installing is perfectly safe, but it may not be. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, plus if an employee really needs a program, they can always call IT and ask for it to be installed. This also prevents viruses and other malicious programs from downloading and running software in the background.
4. Keep your Network Up-To-Date
Once you have antivirus protection and anti-malware programs in place, make certain that you keep them up to date. New viruses and other malicious programs are being developed every day by creative people who have found ways around today’s technology. While antivirus companies may not always be able to head off an attack, they do often react quickly to new viruses by creating new defenses. If you don’t keep your network protection updated, you’ll remain vulnerable.
Also don’t forget to keep your operating system and all applications updated as well. These programs may also have security vulnerabilities that need to be patched.
5. Read the Security Logs
Firewalls and other network security programs all have log files where they store a huge amount of data related to your network. By analyzing this data, you can see how your network is open to attack, what kinds of potential attacks have occurred, and more. However, because there’s so much data here and it can be difficult to understand, few businesses take the time to really look at the logs. That’s why many security application companies are now creating apps that provide a summarized log file. These summaries include all of the critical incidents and do some analysis on the rest of the data, making it quicker and easier to understand.
6. Block Spam
Spam continues to come in the form of fake emails, of course, but it’s also evolved. There are new and cleverer types of spam appearing all the time, which is why businesses need to engage in strong anti-spam methods. By blocking spam and keeping it away from the network, you don’t have to worry about an employee accidentally opening those fake attachments or other issues. The less spam there is, the less likelihood of it being an issue.
7. Implement Good Firewall Practices
All networks should have a firewall in place, but you need to be sure that you’re using good firewall practices, too. The firewall should be as configured as outlined in your written security policy, and it needs to be regularly assessed for vulnerabilities. These assessments should be outlined in the security policy and should check for both internal and external weaknesses. Also pay close attention to any unauthorized processes your firewall detects and be sure to block any that appear harmful.
Do you follow these seven different security tips? Do you have any more that we missed? If so, let us know!