Network Security – The Cold Hard Facts

Network Security – The Cold Hard Facts

Most of us would think that a network that boasts a 99.9% security rate sounds fairly safe, right?

Think again. Consider some other 99.9% error-free situations:

  • 880,000 credit cards would have incorrect cardholder information on their magnetic strips.
  • Two planes at Chicago’s O’Hare airport would have ‘unsafe’ landings each day.
  • 12 newborns would be given to the wrong parents each day.
  • 315 entries in Webster’s Dictionary will be misspelled.
  • 3056 copies of tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal would be missing one of the three sections.
  • 18,322 pieces of mail would be mishandled every hour.

In reality, a 99.9% success rate for network security is the goal for any size of business that can lose thousands of dollars an hour due to a “minor” compromise in network security. It’s essential to have a solid plan in place that maximizes productivity, performance and, most importantly, protects your investment.

Just as important, your client’s confidential information should be safeguarded against any threat from viruses, spyware or hackers. It’s been said among IT experts, in fact, that “if you want to know something about a person or a company that no one else in the world knows, hack his doctor’s or attorney’s computer.” Regardless of your industry, your customers trust you with their proprietary data that can only be protected with airtight network security.

Securing a computer network – either within one office or across the world – requires expertise in network design, protocols, and device configuration. Beyond that, here are a few of the regular network security functions that IT Direct’s clients can expect to occur either remotely or onsite:

  • Security Patches: Even if your network is correctly configured and your workstations have strong passwords, there could still be a defect within any of your software that allows a hacker to access your office’s computers. Fortunately, all the major software vendors release security patches, or fixes, which we manage and implement for you.
  • Encryption: Another way to help to protect your data is through encryption, which mathematically converts the data into an unreadable form. A password or “shared secret” (sometimes generated automatically) usually controls the conversion, and only a person or program that knows the password, or the method to generate the shared secret, can read the encrypted information. This method is especially useful for storing files on your local PC as well as files you wish to transfer over a network.

IT Direct considers network security a team effort with our clients, though, and we offer these suggestions to the individuals in your company so as to further lock in your critical data:

  • Minimize your network presence, particularly those actions outside of your firewall. Turn off all nonessential network activities when not in use such as FTP, file sharing and Telnet.
  • Protect your emails with simple to use encryption software to keep hackers from intercepting and reading confidential information. A personal email certificate not only lets you digitally sign your email so that recipients can verify that it’s actually from you, but also encrypts your messages so that only the intended recipients can view it.
  • Use strong passwords. The types of programs used by hackers to crack passwords try patterns of words using English and foreign language dictionaries. Avoid those common patterns, and your password is much less likely to be guessed by a hacker.
  • Keep your personal computer up to date with security patches and practice secure computing, such as not clicking on strange links in emails or opening unexpected attachments. Remember, network firewalls cannot prevent hacker attacks that trick people into clicking on dangerous links in their web browsers, not do they help if an infected laptop is brought onto your network and then starts to attack or probe other computers.
  • Don’t forget your laptop or handheld device. One of the largest single types of security breaches is the lost or stolen laptop, which can contain your company’s trade secrets, financials, marketing plans, and more. We recommend a combination of a password and encryption program, with the flexibility of protecting individual files to hardware-based full discs on your device.

A network malfunction, hacker or virus can cause your entire computer system to shut down and can even permanently destroy all the information on the system. Let IT Direct protect your system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with our network security solutions that will help you experience less network downtime and save thousands of dollars.