The objective of this blog post is to educate both IT staff and senior management of small businesses to the network security threats that exist. The security experts of networking world do a good job of sharing security threats on regular basis.
I hope this blog post provides enough guidance to companies for securing their network who, faced the impossible and endless task of securing their network, need help deciding where to start and what to do first for securing their networks.
A list of key actions that are recommended for Small Businesses is as follows:
• Develop network security strategy, and educate your users
• List down the threats to your business, and perform a security risk assessment
• Design secure network, deploy a firewall, implement packet filtration in router, and use secure network for network servers.
• Use Operating Systems that have quality security baseline capabilities
• Use anti-virus software, on each desktop and at the gateway
• Use strong authentication
• Use personal firewalls, particularly on desktops and laptops used by mobile users
• Prepare a computer incident response plan
• All set to implement security plan now
Network Security Vulnerabilities
In order to get familiar with the network security environment, and how best to deal with it, it is necessary to understand the kinds of threats and security solutions that exist today.
Vulnerabilities are the security holes that exist in un-secured networks. An example is absence of strong firewall at the gateway of network. Vulnerabilities can exist in software running on Laptops, PC’s, servers, communications equipment such as switches, routers, or almost any device running software. Not all vulnerabilities are created equal- some will cause the software affected to crash, or cause a reboot, or in the worst case the attacker may get administrative access to the affected system. Upon discovery of a vulnerability, the software vendor will develop a software patch, and make it available to users of the software.
Using a Firewall
A strong and properly configured firewall acts as the base line of defense for any network. An IT administrator can set the rules for which users ports should be open and for which ones should be closed in a firewall. If you’re running a mail or Web server on your network, the ports for those services are required to remain open. If you’re hosting your website and email with any service provider, you don’t need to keep open your Web server and email ports.
Typically, most routers used in small businesses include some kind of firewall functionality, so if you have a router installed by your service provider or DSL modem, you likely have a firewall already.
To check if your router already has firewall capabilities or not, log into your router and see if there are any settings for Security or Firewall. Outdated firewall firmware or router is another common issue. Networking equipment used in small business, just like hardware and applications, needs to be updated regularly for security. The firmware that comes with your small business router or firewall is likely to be out-of-date within a year, so it’s critical to make sure you update it.
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