Solutions for the New Age of Network Security

In the past, network security within a company’s offices was a given. But in this age of cyber attacks, hacktivism, and poor public Internet security, every time an employee connects to a company’s network there is a risk of data loss. This even extends to the company itself, with improperly set up firewalls or inadequate protection due to cost limitations. According to a recent report by www.computerweekly.com, below are some common ways that a company’s network can be compromised and some suggestions on how to prevent such data loss.

Internal Wi-Fi Hotspots: Businesses that have a guest Wi-Fi network running simultaneously with the corporate network within its offices can jeopardize the security of the company’s network. One way of dealing with this problem is to set up a guest network as an Internet hotspot and require temporary credentials to enable those connections.

External Wi-Fi Hotspots: When employees use external Wi-Fi connections, such as at a coffee shop, all the data packets coming from their devices are usually open. This can give hackers access to corporate information. On the business end, only allow access to internal networks through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) do not usually use VPNs, so they would be at the highest risk of data loss through public Wi-Fi hotspots.

3G and 4G Hotspots: While not as common as an attack on a Wi-Fi hotspot, due to cost and time involved, devices that support 3G are still vulnerable to hackers. To protect mobile devices that support 3G, companies should use Voice-over-IP (VoIP) instead. This allows the business to run peer-to-peer call manager software that will, in turn, encrypt the data.

Need vs. Cost: Security managers need to weigh the cost of protecting data with the benefits imparted. This is especially true for SMEs that might have an unsegregated network. One way to keep costs down when investing in heavy security across the entire network is to put better systems in place for detecting when a security breach has taken place. In this way, such attacks can be quickly dealt with while not needing a high level of security for the whole network, but instead only what is the most sensitive.

Misconfiguration: Firewalls are sometimes not properly set up, mainly due to lack of education on how to do so. Training IT security on how to properly use controls already in place is vital to overall Internet security. Also, organizations should proactively search out potential security breaches and then prevent them before they happen.

In Closing
Education of employees is the most important step a company can take to ensure their data is secure. Employees who are mindful of the risks involved and informed about what they should or shouldn’t do when it comes to connecting to a network outside of their company, especially with devices that have access to vital company data, can make informed decisions when it comes to working on public networks. Company officials, on the other hand, need to make sure that any data going back and forth between the network and employee devices is likewise secure. Ultimately, it is a shared responsibility.

For more information about making networks secure against external attack, visit: www.computerweekly.com/news/2240158747/Network-Security-is-new-tech-by-passing-traditional-controls