Now that cyberspace is the primary arena in which we protect information, it's important that you properly secure your network from invaders.
1. Understand the risk
Before you can take any action to enhance your network security you'll need to know what you are protecting yourself against. Below you'll find five common risk to your infrastructure security:
- Programs & Apps: Malicious programs, who claim to do one thing but perform another, infect our computers and extract valuable information. Even useful apps can have unwanted information leakage by making contact information, billing information, etc. easily accessible.
- Phishing: Similar to malicious apps, emails and files can be disguised as reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
- Backdoors: There may be some vulnerable points in your network that will allow hackers to decrypt data.
- SQL injection: These injections confuse your database into handing over classified data, such as passwords or blueprints, by marking this data for public consumption, such as product details or contacts.
- Ransomware: Recently, ransomware has become the most popular type of malware in the U.S. Ransomware blocks a device by imposing its demand-for-payment window over all other windows, including system windows. After that they demand money to unblock the device.
2. Keep your systems up to date
Installing software updates for your operating system and programs is essential. There is a constant stream of fixes issued in vendor security patches and updates, be sure to install the latest security updates when prompted to. Tips to ensure your systems are up to date:
- Turn on Automatic Updates for your operating system
- Use web browsers that receive frequent, automatic security updates
- Make sure to keep browser plug-ins (Flash, Java, etc.) up to date.
3. Practice good password management
It feels like every site you visit wants you to create a user name and password. Many of us take the easy way out and reuse the same password for almost everything - DON'T. Maintaining strong unique passwords is crucial in protecting your network. Here are some general password tips to keep in mind:
- Use long passwords (at least 8 characters)
- Use a strong mix of characters (numbers, mixed case letters and symbols)
- Don't write them down (especially anywhere near your computer). If you have a difficult time remembering multiple passwords, use a trusted password manager.
- Don't use personal information or common words
- Update your passwords periodically (once every 3 months)
4. Secure the network
There are a few steps you can take to secure your network including the use of WPA2, disabling remote administration and deploying security gateways. Securing your Wi-Fi network with WEP and WPA leaves you vulnerable to intrusion. WPA2, however, uses AES encryption, which is far stronger than the TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) method commonly used by WPA. Another way to minimize risk of someone unauthorized accessing your network is to disable remote administration so administrative task can only be executed from inside your network.
- Keep sensitive data such as social security numbers, credit card information, and health information off of your devices
- Always use encryption when storing or transmitting sensitive data
- Disable file and media sharing if you don't need it
- Make old hard drives unreadable before disposing of them
5. Ask the right questions
If you don't understand something, ask. Your internet service provider should be able to answer all your questions and you should be happy with their response. Considering asking your Internet Service Provider:
- If they use the same services they sell to protect their own systems. (if they don’t trust their own products and services to protect their infrastructure and data, why should you?)
- How many separate security groups do they have protecting their systems and do they all use the same approach?
- How do they protect their network from attacks, such as DDoS attacks?
- Do they encrypt data center communications that include customer data?
Network-based security built for business
Want the best protection for your network? Level 3 is a network-based security solution backed by advanced threat intelligence and security experts. Boasting a range of services including, adaptive network security, DDoS mitigation, and secure access services, Level 3 limits your exposure to attacks with their thorough security approach.
Take control of your network security. Own your defense.
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