Computer security is a vast and complicated field, and you may not know a whole lot about its particulars. Still, this is essential information in an age where everything is done with a computer. This article is not intended for the tech expert, as they do not need our help. No, this one is intended for those of you who are less knowledgeable. Here are a few simple steps that anyone can use to ensure a secure computer network.
1. Start With Physical Security
You may not understand the ways in which a computer can be hacked, but you can certainly understand the need for physical security. Cyberattacks don’t always come from an online source, as it is far easier to infiltrate a system to which you have physical access. Even passwords and encryptions are not always safe, so you need to physically limit access to your server and all admin-level computer devices.
The simplest way to do this is by putting all those essential items in a locked room, and make sure that it doesn’t have any easy routes of alternate entry (like a large window, for instance. Good strong doors are also a must, and padlocks will help as well. However, all padlocks have the potential to be picked, so you should cover each one with a camera for deterrence.
2. Make Use Of Network Encryption At All Levels
Encryption might be described as “data scrambling.” When you get past all the surface-level stuff, all computer data consists of binary code. Binary code is just a series of 1’s and 0’s, but these are arranged in specific patterns to give specific instructions to the computer. When you mix those numbers up, it becomes impossible to read the data.
This works because the computer is not capable of unscrambling the data without a password, since the password itself generates the decryption key. There are several ways you can deploy this technology on your network. First, make use of a VPN service to encrypt all your network traffic at the server level. At the same time, you can make use of an encrypted email service like Protonmail to close that loophole. If you have some capable tech people, you might also consider having them encrypt things at the DNS level, which will make it even more secure.
3. Use A Next-Generation Firewall
You may have heard of firewalls, which block connections from specific points on the web. By using a firewall, you can filter out all connection points that are known to be suspicious, but it has always been somewhat limited. The main limit of a firewall has always been the fact that it can only guard against known threats. Obviously, most of the biggest threats will not be known in advance.
Next-generation firewall programs are beginning to change all that, and so you should not hesitate to make use of one. Instead of simply functioning as a port blocker, a next-generation firewall can detect unknown threats by comparing them to known ones. They can map all the IP addresses that are connected to your network and trace them to their source. Some of the better ones can even use a technique called “sandboxing.” This means they can test new applications or files in a safe, simulated environment.
4. Always Keep Your Software Up To Date
Updating your software doesn’t take any technical expertise, nor does it take a lot of time. Thus, there is no excuse to neglect this aspect of network security. Obviously, the most important updates are those that involve your security programs, but those are not the only ones that can be exploited by intruders.
There have been quite a few data breaches in which the attacker was able to exploit an outdated piece of software. In many cases, software and hardware updates are meant to protect against new exploits, so keeping them up to date is essential to your security. Hackers look for outdated systems, knowing that they are easy pickings.
5. Consider An MSSP
If you really want to make this thing easy, we would recommend that you employ the services of an MSSP company. That acronym stands for Managed Security Service Provider, and the name says it all.
This is a specialized type of internet service provider that also offers things like network monitoring, managed firewall services, antivirus scanning, and all sorts of other security-related services. If you already have a good IT support provider, these services can probably be bundled into one. Most of those will have small business computer support services that can also be of help.
Have Some Security Tests Done
You never really know how secure your system is until you put it to the test. Thankfully, you don’t have to go out and find an actual hacker; There are all kinds of IT companies that will provide “penetration testing” services. Obviously, you should take care to employ a trusted company, as hackers will sometimes infiltrate companies of that sort. As an added security precaution, you should put your most sensitive data outside the system before the testing begins.
There are three kinds of penetration tests: White box, black box, and grey box. The difference comes from the amount of information given to the simulated hackers. In a black box test, the testers must hack a device without any background information, while a white box test provides a lot of relevant information. The grey box test is the middle ground, in which the testers are only given certain intelligence about their target.
There are all sorts of things you can do to harden your computer network and make it safer from intrusion. While some of these might be complex, there are plenty of ways to secure your network with simple methods. In fact, some would say those simple methods are better because they are harder to circumvent. We hope that you will continue learning more about this subject so that you can use the internet with a healthy mix of confidence and caution. We also hope that you will fill out the contact form below to receive more great articles like this one.