How to Secure Small Business Network


The job of keeping a small business or home network safe isn’t easy, and even if you’re an expert in IT, it still takes time and energy to keep things safe. Here are 10 of the most important things you can do to make sure your data doesn’t end up somewhere else. None of them takes long or takes a lot of work to do.

It’s very important to protect the wireless access points you use (AP).

A lot of site surveys have found that half or more of all wireless networks are open, making it easy for anyone to see all the traffic and even record your private information by sitting next to you in a parked car. Some people try to keep their MAC addresses safe, but that can be a lot of work. WPA2 encryption would be a better option. Better: WPA2 is a lot better than other encryption methods that can be hacked more quickly.

 

The SSID, or service set identifier, is the name of your wireless network. Make sure to hide it, or at least change its name to a name that isn’t very unique. All wireless routers should be able to hide their names when they tell the world who they are. “Acme Systems, here on the 4th floor” or “Netgear,” for example, make it clear who owns the router or where you work. Instead, use something like “wireless” that doesn’t give away anything important. There were a lot of people in my last apartment with IDs that had their apartment numbers on them. This made it easy to figure out which person’s router was where.

 

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3. If your router (wired or wireless) has a Web management interface,

don’t let people on the outside network see it. It’s time to change the admin password. Most routers are able to do both very quickly. Nobody should be able to change your settings or read your log files, and you don’t want them to.

 

4. Make sure all of your computers have anti-virus software,

and if you’re using Windows, add anti-spyware protection to your computer software. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to point out. You should also check to make sure that all of your antivirus subscriptions are up to date while you are at it! Anything that isn’t up to date doesn’t help you. A lot of my neighbours make this mistake when they’re going to help me.

 

DMZ: If you’re running a Web server on your LAN, put it on the outside of your home network. Your router should have a “DMZ.” If yours doesn’t, get a new one. Better yet, move to a place where someone who knows what they’re doing can run it. Having your own Web server at home sounds like a good idea, but it’s very risky, and many cable networks have made it more difficult for you to host your own from your home network anyway. So why bother?

 

It’s important to keep an eye out for flaws in your Web servers if you have them, and you should do this often. If you want to find websites that can help, there are a lot out there, but two of my favourite ones are SPIdynamic and Qualys. It’s also a good idea to keep track of your domain registry and change all of your passwords often. If you want to make changes to your Web content, don’t use FTP or Microsoft’s Web page editor, FrontPage. Instead, use more secure methods that don’t send your access passwords out in the open. VPNs (virtual private networks) can be used to get back to your LAN or your remote Web server if your ISP gives you the chance. They range from the free OpenVPN.net to the more expensive SonicWall and Fortinet ones for small businesses, which can be used to keep your data safe.

 

It’s important to keep file and print sharing turned off on everything but your file server. You don’t need it on every computer, and that just makes things more dangerous. This is very important for people who use laptops: During your trip, you don’t want to share your entire file system with everyone else at the airport or hotel. This is something that I see a lot when I check for open network shares.

 

The last thing you should do before leaving the house is to use whole disc encryption on all laptops that you will ever take with you. You don’t know when someone will steal your data or break into your car or hotel room and take your laptop. You can’t be sure what will happen. A lot of people like PGP Disk. There are other programmes that cost next to nothing and protect a lot. Use one of the newer U3 drives that can work with Windows and at least have a password to keep your data from being seen by other people.

 

You should start making off-site backups now.

When making copies of your important customer and business data, at least start with the most important things. Then, be sure to cover everything that’s important to you, such as family photos and the like. Cook something simple now. Burn DVDs and take them home, or use one of the online storage providers like eVault or Amazon.com’s S3. For less than $100 per year, they can keep your data safe in the case of fire, theft, or just being careless. Amazon’s is less than $10 per year. Microsoft’s Foldershare.com service is free if you have two PCs in two different places. It will keep your data in sync.

 

Besides, there are a lot of other security options that will give you peace of mind and make it more difficult for hackers to get into your computer. But these 10 things are easy to set up, don’t cost you a lot of time or money, and will give you a lot of security benefits in the long run, too. Try to do one thing each week.

 

Also Read: How To Secure Operating Systems



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