Three simple checks to help insure your Network Security:
- Firewall – Whether you use a hardware device or a software solution to maintain your network security, make sure it’s always up-to-date. If it’s been more than 3 years since you purchased your firewall and you didn’t opt to purchase a firmware assurance package, now is the time to take a serious look at what is going on. The ways that hackers threaten your network security is forever changing and you need to remain diligent about keeping any device current. This includes the firmware that enables the security appliance to do it’s job. What was relevant only three years ago, is now outdated and needs to be either updated or upgraded. The cost of maintaining your firewall device pales in comparison to what an outdated or insufficient appliance could cost in a compromised network.
- Encryption – If you maintain a wireless network at your company, make sure that your are always utilizing the most stringent encryption. This means that either a WEP or WPA protocol with a strong password is always in place. If you allow guest usage to your wireless network by all means make sure that it is on a separate subnet to your corporate network. If you allow your employees to access the wireless network then they should only be permitted to use the limited access guest accounts for these devices as well. Communicating within a wireless network is inherently more susceptible to hacker compromise, so whenever possible secure work computers via a wired connection if possible.
- Users – This is always the area of greatest concern when it comes to network security. Make sure that you have the policies in place to ensure the proper use of company devices. Passwords should always pass a complexity test, they should be changed routinely, and never repeated within a cycle of four passwords. A users device should also be constantly monitored by a anti-virus program and the network administrator should make weekly assessments as to the users devices being updated. Finally, limit the ability to download and install new software at the user level. It would be wise to have a network admin confirm a new program install and insure it’s compliant with company standards. Absolutely no programs should be allowed without the proper security clearance.
Following these basic protocols will reduce the amount of potential security breaches. Nothing is full proof and there are many additional checks and balances that could also be routinely implemented. Remember the key to keeping a network secure lies in the diligence of the network admins, by taking the approach of “never satisfied” will yield the best and most secure outcomes.