7 Ways to Ensure Your Network is Secure

It seems that every week brings news of a major security breach. Many businesses wonder what they can do to protect themselves if the likes of Target, Bank of America, and more are vulnerable. While no one can ever guarantee you will never get a virus or get hacked in the future, below we have listed seven things you can do to make sure that your network is as secure as possible:

1. Maintain or pay someone to maintain your anti-virus software: As we have seen countless times, anti-virus software definitions and engines are not always up to date. The software often requires human intervention to make sure everything is running properly. Without up-to-date anti-virus software, your network is at serious risk.

2. Implement content management/content filtering software: These services are traditionally known for allowing business owners to block Facebook and other undesirable sites that often contain malicious software, but they also can block the web addresses of known malware. This can significantly reduce the access that hackers have to your network.

3. Have a good firewall: Firewalls not only allow you to open only ports that you need to minimize access to your network from the outside world, but they also can update the addresses of known hackers, can log intrusions attempts, and monitor for other security issues.

4. Update your computers: Security holes in operating systems let hackers in. These “doors” are often closed by security updates, but many times the updates are not installed. Having a patch management system in place can ensure that these security holes are closed quickly when they are discovered.

5. Implement security policies on your network: Password policies can be set for password complexity, rotation, retention. If your passwords are never changed and your password is compromised, a hacker could have access to your business information forever. If you have a server, you can set policies to require this automatically. If you don’t have a server, you should change your password at least every 90 days. To have more complex passwords you can use phrases like “I love my job!!”. There are other security policies that can be monitored for as well such as failed login attempts, user access logs, and more.

6. Train your staff: While not every computer user is tech savvy, training your users how to identify phishing emails or potential viruses can go a long way in protecting your network. Often, networks are compromised by users clicking on links that look legitimate but are not.

7. Make sure your IT person or IT partner is proactive about protecting your network: Recently, there have been a large amount of infections of ransomware. These attacks were bypassing web filtering, anti-virus, and firewalls. After fighting these attacks for several weeks, we were able to lock down a specific folder that dramatically reduced the amount of infections on our clients' networks. Even after having all the other security measures in place, it took some human intervention to prevent the problem. Having an IT person or IT partner that stays on top of security is paramount to your business success.

For more information on how to secure your network please contact us 757.628.8324 or 888.25.MODE5.


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