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Tips to Secure Your Small Business Network

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Even if your business isn’t huge does not mean hackers can’t be able to target your company. The truth is that botnets and automated scanning techniques aren’t concerned about whether your company is large or small; they’re looking for weaknesses in your security network to attack.

Making sure you have a secure small-business and home networks isn’t an easy task even for those with a long hands in IT it can take the time and effort to keep everything secure. Here are ten of the most crucial actions you can take to ensure that your data isn’t being lost or stolen and they don’t require much effort or time to complete.

Get a Firewall

First step of an attacker is to discover security holes in networks by scouting for ports that are open. Ports are the means through which your small-scale business network can be opened and connects to the larger web of Internet. A cybercriminal sees ports that are open as an irresistible opportunity for access and for exploitation. A firewall on the network blocks ports that aren’t required to be opened.

The firewall that is properly set up functions as the primary defense for any network. The firewall of the network determines the rules that govern what ports should be opened and which must be shut. All ports need to be accessible are ports that are used for the services you require to operate.

Most small business routers come with some sort of firewall function and, therefore, that if you own a router located behind the service you use or a DSL/cable connection you probably have an existing firewall. For a quick check to determine whether you already have firewall capabilities at the router level of your network, log in to your router and check whether there are any options that are set for Firewall and Security. If you’re not sure of how to connect to your router using an Windows PC, locate the Network Connection information. The information listed as Default Gateway could be the IP address associated with your router.

There are numerous desktop firewalls available also however, don’t take them as a replacement for firewalls that act as the entry point for your small-business network. There should be an firewall in place where the network connectivity is brought into your enterprise to block off bad traffic before it gets to any desktop or other assets on your network.

Passwords to protect your Firewall

It’s great that you have an security firewall but it’s not enough to just drop it on your network and switch it on. The most frequent errors in setting up network equipment is not keeping an default password.

It’s an easy task in many instances that an attacker can identify the model number and brand of a device that is part of an internet. It’s just as easy to make use of Google to find the user’s manual and find an initial username, password, and username.

Make sure you do this simple solution. Connect to your firewall or router and you’ll have the option of creating an account password. Usually you’ll see it in the Administration menu option.

Update Router Firmware

A firewall or router that is not up-to-date is another issue that is common. Small-scale equipment for networking, like operating systems and applications should be upgraded to ensure security and bug fix. The firmware your small business router or firewall came with will likely be to be out of date within the next year, which is why it’s important to ensure that you are updating it.

Some routers offer a basic dialog box that allows you to look for the latest firmware versions through the administration menu of your router. If your router doesn’t offer automated checking of firmware versions Find the version number on the router’s admin screen and then visit the support page of the vendor to check if you’re using the most recent version.

Block Pings

The majority of routers and firewalls have various settings that can help decide how visible your firewall and router will be to the external world. One of the most basic methods hackers employ to discover an internet connection is by sending the ping command, which is essentially a network request to see if a device will respond. If an internet device responds, it means there’s something that the hacker could investigate further and possibly be able to exploit. It is possible to make it more difficult for hackers by making your router or firewall to ensure that it will not respond to pings from networks. In general, the option to block pings from networks can be found in the administration menu of a firewall or router, as a configuration option.

Scan Yourself

One of the most effective methods to determine if you’ve got open ports or security holes in your network is to perform the same thing attackers will do – check your network. If you scan your network using the same tools researchers (and attackers) employ, you’ll be able to see what they’re looking for. One of the most well-known scanners for networks is the open-source tool map). For Windows users it is now possible to download the map download has now an interactive user interface making it easier than ever before to examine your network using high-quality tools that are no cost. Examine your network to determine which ports are available (that should not be) Then, check back on your firewall and make the required adjustments.

Lock Down IP Addresses

Most small business routers employ a process known as DHCP which assigns IP addresses for computers connected with the internet. DHCP allows users to allow connections to your network, however should your network be compromised, it can also make it simple for attackers to access your network. If your small-scale business has a limited quantity of clients, and doesn’t often have guests connecting onto your system, then you may think about blocking IP addresses.

The advantage in assigning IPs is, when you look over your router’s logs, you’ll be able to determine the IP connected to a particular PC or user. With DHCP this means that the same computer might have different IP addresses over time when devices are switched on and off. If you know what’s happening in your system, you’ll be able to pinpoint what the root of the problem is whenever they arise.

Use VLANs

It is not the case that every person in your small company requires access to these assets on your network. You can decide the access you grant by using passwords and authorizations for applications, you also have the option to divide your network using VLANs or virtual LANs. VLANs are usually a included in any business class router. They allow you to divide the network according to needs and risk as and the quality of service you require. For example, using the setup of a VLAN, you can put the finance department on one VLAN while sales is on a different. In another instance you could set up an employee-specific VLAN and create a different one for guest or contract employees. In order to reduce risk, it’s all about giving the network’s resources only to those who have been authorized and limiting access to the ones who don’t.

Get an IPS

A firewall doesn’t always suffice to safeguard a small-sized company network. Nowadays, the majority of traffic on networks is transmitted via Port 80 for HTTP or web traffic. Therefore, if you leave the port open you’re in danger of attacks targeting port 80. In addition to firewalls and intrusion prevention system (IPS) technology is able to be a crucial security function. A IPS is more than just observe ports. It also looks over the flow of traffic to look for suspicious patterns that might indicate suspicious activity. IPS technology can be included in routers as part of an Unified Threat Management (UTM) device. Based upon the scale of your company network, you may be thinking about purchasing the possibility of a separate physical box.

An alternative is to utilize open source technology running in your servers (or in virtualized instances when you are virtualized). In the IPS side one of the most popular open source technology is SNORT (which is supported by a commercial vendor Sourcefire.

Get a WAF

The Web Application Firewall (WAF) is specifically designed to defend against threats that are specifically targeted at applications. If you’re not hosting any applications in your small business network, the threats that the WAF can mitigate aren’t as severe. If you host applications, a WAF on top or behind (or within) or as part of your Web server is a crucial technology you should take a look at. Many vendors like Barracuda offer WAF-based network boxes. Another alternative can be the free source Mod Security project that is funded by security firm Trustwave.

Use VPN

When you’ve put through the effort to protect your small-sized company network, it makes sense to extend the protection to your remote and mobile connected employees too. VPN or Virtual Private Network VPN is a Virtual Private Network lets your remote employees log in to your network using an encrypted connection. The tunnel is then utilized to protect remote workers with identical firewall, IP, and WAF technology that your local users enjoy. A VPN will also shield your network from letting users traveling from dangerous mobile devices connect to your network using a unsecured method.

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