How Can I Make My Network More Secure?
As we consider the many tools available to protect our network against those who would harm us, a common question is, what is the silver bullet that will protect me? Is there one thing I can do that will assure the protection of our network against those who want to disrupt/infect/steal and just wreak havoc on our network?
The only one way to totally avoid any cyber threats would be to turn off your computer! Since that is not an option, no, there is not one bullet. Below is an attempt to list for you the key tools that are required to protect your network. That one tool will never provide complete protection is quite obvious when we consider how many tools are available, each with unique tasks. Future blogs will provide a complete description of each of these tools with our recommendations of which to prioritize and the pros and cons of each.
So, here goes, the who’s who of network protection starts with:
- NextGen Firewall: This is the device that initially allows information in and out of your network. If the firewall stops the initial attack, game over for the bad actors who are trying to infiltrate your network.
- Patch management: This tool is overlooked and under-appreciated. Operating system and application software manufacturers are constantly making updates to secure their products and provide them free of charge to their customers.
- Passwords: This is part of the process of letting the system know who you are. They are an integral part of accessing your systems.
- Two factor Authentication (2fa) Since we find that today passwords are not enough, 2FA has been created. This goes beyond passwords in helping the system to identify you are who you say you are.
- Antivirus: This is one of the oldest tools in our toolbag for fighting the bad actors. It still is an essential tool.
- Employee testing and training: This is one of the newest arrivals to the IT security scene. Studies show time and time again that emails are the primary way for perpetrators to get into your network. How do they make this work? By having an employee unknowingly open the door!
- Spam blocking: Since Emails are the primary way for bad guys to enter your business, spam blocking is essential.
- Image based backups: Many a business has been infected with Ransomware. The sure cure is to restore a clean backup before the network was infected.
- Encryption: Any device that you have has valuable information on it. Should an evil actor get ahold of your laptop, etc., they will have access to your information, unless it is encrypted!
- Malware protection: In recent years, malware has been more effective in bringing your network to its knees than viruses.
- Deep Packet inspection for HTTPS: In the good old days, bad actors only operated using unencrypted web traffic. So, an SSL web site made us secure. Firewalls just scanned the unencrypted traffic. However, bad actors have started encrypting traffic which will be ignored by a standard firewall setting. As a result, approximately 70% of all traffic is now encrypted and ignored by standard firewall settings. How do we fix this problem? Deep packet inspections will make sure your firewall inspects the encrypted traffic as well and will stop packets that are a threat.
- Physical security: This is a low tech, high priority category of security. If criminals have access to your information, they can use it to steal from you.
Well that’s it, a shortlist of the many key tools that can be used to protect your network. Stay tuned for more details about each of these important ways to protect your network!