Your computer network is one of the most vital company tools to maintain and protect. Housing all of your company data and information and being the primary infrastructure for your employees to perform their work, it is critical that your network is protected from service disruptions and attacks originating inside or outside your organization. With today’s increased workforce mobility, networks are exposed to new vulnerabilities making the necessity of network security much more complex. There is no single process that can completely protect networks against intruders. Today’s networking structures require a number of security protocols and systems.

The Basics

  • Password Protection. Passwords are the first line of defense in computer network security. The demand for complex and unpredictable password never ceases. Passwords should only be shared with authorized personnel and should be changed at least monthly.
  • Email Filters. Be sure employees clearly understand that email attachments from people they do not know should NEVER be opened. Spyware and viruses are commonly sent as email attachments. An email filter on your server that examines attachments and checks for potentially dangerous files is a must but is not 100% certainty that threats won’t be successful if employees are not complying with proper protocol for opening email attachments.

Network Layers & Layered Security

Layered network security helps to protect against a single point of intrusion from an entity trying to hack into your system. You can significantly decrease unauthorized users from gaining access to restricted company servers and files by putting multiple security systems into place. First, firewalls should be implemented to protect internet traffic, and second, protect each server with both antivirus software and an operating system firewall.

  • Network Traffic – Threats & Vulnerabilities. Be aware of your network traffic and the threats and vulnerabilities for each security zone. Assume both internal and external threats and, as such, use bogon blocking, anti-spoofing, and denial-of-service prevention capabilities to block invalid traffic at security zone perimeters.
  • Network Structure Integrity. Disable unused services to harden the element management system and operating system of every network device against the attack. Apply patches immediately as they become available. Test system software regularly for spyware, viruses, and worms.
  • People Power. Understanding and adhering to the importance of your network security policies, by employees, partners, and clients, is critical. Enforce security policies and security awareness training for the strongest network security program possible.
  • Network Management Information Protection. Ensure that only authorized personnel have access to your virtual LANs (VLAN) and other security mechanisms that protect your network devices and element management systems. Create a change management process for tracking purposes and put a backup device configuration process in place.
  • Account For All User Devices. Control device network admission for all user devices, whether wired or wireless, through endpoint compliance. Include all handhelds and smartphones. They are able to store a significant amount of intellectual property and are too easy for employees to lose or have stolen.
  • Protect User Information. WLAN/Wi-Fi or Wireless Mesh communications should use VPNs or 802.11i with Temporal Key Integrity Protocol for security purposes. VLANs serve to separate regular users from guest users and should separate inter-department traffic within the same network.
  • Security Audit. Regularly scheduled audits are essential to secure your computer network. Analyze your security logs on a weekly basis. Monitor the websites your employees are visiting to manage potential viruses or other security risks. If you notice any patterns of repeated security breach attempts, reinforce the areas being attacked. Report the targeted internet addresses to the appropriate ISP.

The experts at Computer Network Services, Inc. (CNS) understand how intimidating upgrading a company’s technology infrastructure can be. Serving Palo Alto and the surrounding area, we provide comprehensive assessments of your company’s systems and offer both advice and support for upgrading your system when you need it most. Call today at (650) 326-6112 or visit us at our website.