IT networks are the connections and systems that organizations and individuals rely on to access, share, and store information. These connections can be set up across local area networks, wide area networks, the internet, or virtual private networks.
IT networks are scalable and vary depending on the size of your organization. You may be a small business working from home looking to connect two computers or a major tech corporation looking to connect a vast network of computers. In the end, no matter how big the network you want to establish, nothing is more important than making the network secure. The last thing you want is to have your network hacked and your information in jeopardy.
Here are the top 10 ways you can ensure a secure IT network.
Passwords serve as the first line of defense against any sort of breach or entry into your network. They are the easiest and quickest way to keep unwanted intruders out. That’s why you want to be extra creative when creating a password.
Don’t just opt for the easy-to-remember option, like your birthday or a pet’s name. Passwords should typically be 20 characters long and include a random combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Although it’s important to remember your password, your main focus should be creating one that can’t be guessed easily.
When you purchase a router, it comes with a standard previously established SSID (service set identifier). Once you set up your router, you should change the SSID to something different than the common names already out there.
Just like your password, your SSID should be unique and creative to avoid vulnerability to hacking. Also, having a unique SSID will help you easily identify your connection and isolate you from surrounding connections. This step is especially important if your business or organization works in a busy commercial building or district.
This step works best if you are a business operating in a tight space like your home or a small office, although you can try it out in a large office too. After all, why opt for extra range if you don’t need it? You’d just be leaving room for someone farther away to hack your wi-fi.
To reduce your connection range, try changing the router mode to 802.11g or changing the channel altogether. If you want to change the direction your router is broadcasting, try putting it in a drawer or cardboard box.
Network encryption is a safety procedure that uses crypto services at the network transfer layer, which is above the data link level but still below the application level. In plain English, this basically means that the information you share over your network is safe and protected. Anyone who wants to stop hackers from hacking their internet connection and stealing data can’t go wrong with network encryption.
You can access network encryption through your wireless network security settings.
Don’t just hang your hat on the antivirus software that comes with your desktop. Antivirus software has a tendency to become obsolete quickly, and new updates are released frequently.
As a business owner, you should periodically check up on any antivirus and anti-malware software you have and make sure that it is up to date and efficient. You not only help keep hackers away from your IT network and connections but also ensure that your systems are working correctly.
While you can rely on technology to do much of the work, at the end of the day, your business needs a human touch—especially when it comes to security. That’s why training yourself and your staff on network security is essential to securing an IT network.
Teach your employees how to identify a security breach or a suspicious email, and make sure they understand the importance of password strength. These lessons and techniques get you one step closer to maintaining a secure and stable IT network.
In terms of practicality and convenience, file sharing in an organization is the way to go. And if you operate in a large office building, file sharing definitely beats numerous elevator trips up and down.
However, in terms of security, file sharing leaves you open to breaches because any individual on your network can access the files you and your organization are sending back and forth. That’s why it’s best to opt out of file sharing unless it’s on your own private connection.
If you want to make sure that no unwanted breaches or hacks occur on your network, then you might want to apply for a private IP address. That way you can keep intruders out and monitor any suspicious activity.
A firewall is to a computer network what a gate is to a castle. Anyone who tries to breach your network will need to go through the firewall first. Make sure your firewall is up and running and not toggled off on your router settings. Also, like with antivirus software, you might want to consider opting for a better version of a firewall for your network.
When it comes to your network safety, you can’t let your foot off the gas. That’s why you need to have excellent IT maintenance and continually go over the security system you have in place.
Don’t just stay connected online—stay connected to your security system! Keep your software up to date, perform backups, produce progress reports, and change your passwords regularly. Doing this makes sure that the steps you take are working and keep working.
Successful organizations treat their IT network like they treat the safety of their own home. At the end of the day, most network breaches are a result of negligence by an organization. They do the bare minimum when it comes to establishing a secure IT network.
However, networks of any kind are susceptible to malicious activity. Investing in the security of your IT network is always the right choice for you and your organization. Remember, you’re not just securing the information of your organization or business. You’re also securing the information of your clients, suppliers, and employees. So invest in your network security and feel safe online.