3 Essential Tips for Better Network Security
If you listen to people in the know, it’s not a matter of if your company will be the victim of a data breach, but when. Not only are most businesses (both large and small) woefully under-protected when it comes to system security, but hackers are finding more and more sophisticated ways to break in all the time.
Of course, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from an attack, such as hiring a network administrator or computer security specialist to build appropriate security infrastructure and manage your system. You might also hire an IT firm to support and protect your technology environment.
Even with the right equipment, software, and professional help in place, however, there are still a few things you can do to improve your network security over time. Here are some essential tips for any business interested in better network security.
1. Update Regularly
If you know anything about technology, you probably know that it’s constantly improving. Once a piece of hardware or software has been released, the company that created it continues to support it. This means problems are addressed with downloadable patches, or updates, that fix known issues.
In some cases, you can simply opt in to receive automatic updates as they become available, or you can choose to be notified so that you can at least decide whether or not you want to download them. However, it’s not a bad idea to regularly check for software and firmware updates you may have missed. When your computer and network components are up-to-date, you have the best chance to secure your system.
2. Upgrade as Needed
How do you know when it’s time to upgrade to new and improved hardware and software? With technology advancing at an alarming rate, it seems like you’ve barely implemented new solutions when something better hits the market.
Most businesses can’t afford to upgrade even annually. In truth, if you choose the right components, you needn’t upgrade often. Reputable consulting firms can assess your current system and give you options for upgrades that will serve you now and over the course of several years, most likely.
Or you could turn to your technical support team to help you figure out when to start looking for something new. A good rule of thumb is when manufacturers no longer support hardware or software, you shouldn’t wait any longer. Many firms purchase hardware with extended warranties and automatically replace the hardware when that extended warranty expires.
One vulnerability commonly seen in smaller enterprises is staying on an older version of software because the new version requires updated hardware. This approach can prove to be penny wise and pound foolish, as the older hardware and software significantly increase the exposure to security risks.
3. Deal with Password Issues
This is a big one. Hackers frequently use passwords as a way to break into networks. The best way to avoid this is with proper password protection.
This begins with requiring employees to create strong passwords of 8-12 characters, containing upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. The passwords should not contain personal information (names, birth dates, etc.) and you should prompt employees to change passwords frequently.
Don’t forget training. You need to have clear policies in place outlining rules about protecting passwords, even from coworkers.
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