5 Network Security Tips You Should Implement Now

April 15, 2015

7:00 pm

Cyber attacks are no joke. As reports of security breaches at small and medium-sized companies continue to escalate each week, making double-sure your company’s network is well-protected has never been more critical. Here are 5 actionable network security tips you should consider implementing today.

1. Rename admin

Renaming your main computer account to something more creative than “Admin” is often deemed as “security by obscurity” defense. Your first though probably is – why should I even bother doing such a silly thing?

However, this tip will protect your computer from brutal attacks, unless the hackers has already made it inside your network or host. The things is, there are zero chances the attackers will be able to easily identify the new names for your privileged accounts. No names equals to no password-guessing campaign against them.

Extra perk – no automated malware has ever attempted to attack anything but built-in account names.

2. Monitor network traffic flow

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One of the easiest ways to discover (and protect yourself) from massive data theft is through network traffic flow analysis. There’s a number of premium programs like Cisco NetFlow, along with freewares to map your network flows and establish baselines for which data should be going where. In this case, if you suddenly notice gigabytes of data going to odd places, you can investigate and act accordingly.

3. Conduct ongoing network security training

Sad, but true – your employees are likely to be the biggest threat to your security. Outline the importance of security to all employees prior to hiring and constantly ensure all staff is well-informed, regularly reminded, and following the company and industry security protocols. You can ask everyone to take nmap online training which is free, informative and easy-to-comprehend even for non-tech types.

It’s crucial to educate your employees on how to identify fishy emails or websites, as well as how important it is to take any sudden odd behavior from their computers seriously. If any technology suddenly begins acting odd or slows down to a snail’s pace, they should report it to IT immediately and sign off from the network until it’s resolved.

4. Use hardware encryption module

Hardware encryption module is an external computer device that will protect and manage digital keys for strong authentication and provide cryptoprocessing. Also, if you have a point of sale (POS) terminal at your business, the module will encrypt your clients’ credit card information before it is stored on the network, thereby preventing any data leaks and unauthorized access to that financial data later on.

Hardware encryption modules create keys for different users, thus preventing access by anyone who does not have the correct generated encryption key. A good module typically has the next set of features:

  • Cloud compatibility
  • 24/7 security
  • Restricted password sharing
  • Secure option to back up keys

5. Get the Next-generation Firewall

A firewall acts as a secure buffer between your company’s technology and potential hackers and malware trying to steal your data. It monitors all the information that enters and exits your office network.

Next-generation firewalls ensure better security as they are way more proficient in filtering network traffic and provide integrated protection against complex threats strategically aimed at your company’s data, applications and users. Here are the minimum features your next-generation firewall should include:

  • An IPS (integrated intrusion prevention) system
  • Ability to identify applications over a network,
  • Capability to verify each user’s identity
  • Access policy enforcement.

 

Image Credit: Flickr/markus spiske

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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