Many businesses must share sensitive data across a vast network of different computers. Although this makes communication much more efficient, each computer on a network is another opportunity for hackers to break in. To avoid catastrophe, securing a computer network should always be priority number one.
While it is always best to contact a professional service such as Abbotsford IT Services, there are several things anyone can do to bolster their network security. Here are six of the best ways to manage a secure computer network.
1. Ensure all wireless access points are encrypted
Encrypting each network access point should be priority number one. Encrypting data makes it almost impossible for any external party to intercept any sensitive data being transmitted between devices. Most hackers will just move on to an easier target once they see that your network is protected.
The key is to double-check that each wireless access point has the same level of security. If even one access point is outdated, it opens up a massive vulnerability that a breacher will happily exploit.
2. Take time to develop strong passwords
Having a password that is easy to guess is one of the most common mistakes a network manager will make. Hackers know this and will take advantage of any passwords that can be cracked with simple brute force software.
These tools allow the hacker to try thousands of different password combinations in mere seconds. To counteract this, you can use a password manager that generates long passwords at random.
These long strings of characters are way more difficult to crack than common words and phrases that most weak passwords contain.
3. Track every user and device that uses the network
In addition to outside hackers, you also need to mitigate any potential leaks that could emerge from within the company. The best way to do that is to install monitoring software on each machine. This will log all activity and send an alert if any unauthorized activity is detected.
The software should also be able to track what goes into each USB port associated with the network. Many hacking exploits are administered via a USB flash drive. By tracking what gets plugged into each PC, you can identify where a potential data breach may occur.
4. Test your security often
There are several white hat hacking services that you can hire to help test the strength of your network protection.
These benevolent hackers will attempt to break into your system and report any vulnerabilities they find. Once you know where hackers can get into your system, you can patch each of those holes before a malicious entity breaks in.
5. Keep a meticulous inventory of every device
You want to keep a list of every device on your network and check it regularly. By staying on top of this inventory, you can instantly identify when an unauthorized device is connected.
This also allows you to identify any vulnerabilities on existing computers on your network. You can then update these machines before a hacker catches wind of the weakness in your security.
6. Verify the source of all software before you install it
Downloading unknown software before doing your due diligence opens up a can of worms that may cause irreversible damage to your network. There is an abundance of free software online that claims to solve any issue you are having.
However, it is very easy for hackers to create fake websites that promote false information about their malicious software. Free software can contain malware that allows third parties to spy on your data.
This allows them to collect passwords and other personal details of anyone logging into your network legitimately.
The software you download may also contain viruses that can take your computers hostage or destroy them outright. If your machines are taken hostage, the hacker can charge you a ransom and force you to buy back your access to them.
Always verify the software is legitimate by looking at the publisher and their websites closely. You will often find spelling or grammatical errors that are a dead giveaway that you are being scammed.