In today’s digital world, cyber crime is running rampant. Being attacked by hackers can have devastating results, from identity theft to loss of valuable company files and information. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cyber crime costs are predicted to reach $6 trillion a year by 2021 — up from $3 trillion in 2015 — businesses are discovering that it is critical to implement network security programs to prevent a security breach.
Network security — the strategy organizations use to monitor unauthorized access to, exploitation of and changes to their networking assets — is best implemented by applying layers of security. Composed of a combination of hardware and software, these layers of security protect networks against computer viruses, malware, ransomware, hackers and denial-of-service attacks. When effective, network security accomplishes its three primary goals, collectively known as the CIA Triad or CIA Trilogy:
- Confidentiality (protecting data from unauthorized users by controlling access to it)
- Integrity (ensuring that only authorized users are permitted to modify information)
- Availability (guaranteeing that data, network services and network resources are protected and available to those who need to access them, whenever they need to do so)
Since new technology vulnerabilities seem to emerge every day, it’s important to be proactive in protecting your and your company’s data. Here are 10 network security tips to consider:
These are barriers between your trusted internal network and untrusted “walls” outside your network. Your company establishes firewalls — software, hardware or a combination — that serve as a set of rules either blocking or allowing internet traffic (an external, and often untrustworthy, network and provide secure connections when you’re online.
Provide a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
This is especially useful when employees work from home and need to access your company’s main server. A VPN can encrypt the connection from a home computer or laptop to a company network, usually over the internet, and also authenticates communication between the network and those devices.
Encrypt data more effectively
Use some form of WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access Protection) to keep hackers and intruders away: WPA, WPA2 standard or WPA3 when it comes out. For smaller companies or families, it may be better to use a single password to connect to the network. For small businesses, it’s essential to change the password whenever an employee leaves the company. For large companies, use WPA in enterprise mode and assign a separate username and password for each user to protect your equipment and ports.
Choose and use a secure WPA password
It should offer strong authentication with a long, random combination of letters, numbers and special symbols that can’t easily be hacked by cybercriminals.
Install application security.
No matter how good your software is, it can still be vulnerable to hackers. Application security refers to the hardware, software and processes your company uses to close holes and protect vulnerabilities.
Implement antivirus and antimalware software
Upgrade your software to prevent malware (malicious software — also known as spyware, ransomware, Trojans, viruses and worms — from infecting your network and disrupting your computer’s performance.
Secure your email
Email ports are particularly vulnerable to security breaches. Attackers can use your personal information to develop phishing schemes that trick email recipients into clicking on malicious sites. If you have an email security application in place, it can effectively block incoming attacks and protect sensitive data.
Consider using SD-WAN
Companies use SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) to connect their branch offices and/or data centers with their headquarters, creating a connection among endpoints that integrates security, policy and organization.
Hide the name of your network
Wi-Fi access points usually indicate the name of your wireless network, the SSID (service set identifier), so that your employees can easily find it and connect to it. It’s safer if you can’t connect unless you know the name of the network.
Establish a separate guest network
Many restaurants, hotels and businesses indicate that they offer Wi-Fi to their guests. When you try to connect, you may notice a separate connection that may say something like “Acme Company guest.” This sort of separate guest connection makes it possible to provide internet capability to guests, while preventing them from accidentally infecting your network with malware and viruses.
Protecting computer networking is vital in most industries that rely on secure, shared databases. These industries need trained IT specialists to do the job. Ohio Business College in Lorain County and Sandusky offers a 24-month associate degree in Information Systems/Network Security Support. You’ll learn the skills essential to obtaining an entry-level position in network and cybersecurity. Classes are small, giving you easier access to your instructors, all of whom have real-world experience in the field.
Call Ohio Business College today to jump-start your career. Full-time, day and evening classes, as well as job placement assistance, are available.