Here at Absolute Computer Systems, We know IT-related network security and Cyber-Security are critical for businesses (and home users) of all sizes. So we list them as neck and neck with our other top # 1 priority (yes, yes, I know, ‘There can be only one’ work with me here, will ya), which is data backup (in case, god forbid, something does happen, we can get whatever was lost back) We know network security to be critical because it is a significant piece of the ‘protecting sensitive company and personal data and systems from unauthorized access, misuse, theft, and damage’ puzzle. Network security involves a range of processes, features, and best practices that are designed to help keep networks/workstations and home PCs and the data they store safe and secure.

The first and most important thing to remember is that no ‘silver bullet exists.’ Nothing can be done to keep you (and your data) safe and secure. For lack of a better way of saying it, the process is an almost endlessly changing multifaceted combination of a minimum of 10 different things that need to be installed/trained on / implemented/updated and maintained all at the same time (Oh, and those ten things - they frequently change as the bad actors learn ways around one of them that needs to be removed and replaced with something newer and better - and the cycle starts over (mind-numbing I know!))

It has been our experience that these next are the five best practices that businesses (and home users) can use to ensure network security:

  1. Use strong passwords: (and NO 12345 will not work - I do not care if it is the same as your luggage!) Seriously though - One of the most effective ways to secure a network is to use strong passwords that are difficult to guess or crack. This can include combining upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. We recommend a minimum of 12 characters (see the chart below for how long it would take a hacker to get through)
  2. Enable two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication (2FA) requires users to provide an additional layer of security, such as a one-time code sent to their phone, to access a network or system. While it is not entirely ‘fool-proof,’ it is one of the best things you can do to help prevent unauthorized access.
  3. Use a router/firewall: Firewalls are software or hardware that act as a protective barrier between your network and the outside world/internet. They can help block unauthorized access and protect against cyber threats; they can also hide your business from people outside the U.S. and prevent unauthorized computers from attaching to your network. Oh, and CHANGE THE DEFAULT USERNAME AND PASSWORD ON THE ROUTER!! (which is, for us, roughly equivalent to ‘Sit up straight and chew with your mouth closed” :))
  4. Install security software: Security software, such as antivirus, anti-malware, zero trust, and ring-fencing programs, can help protect against viruses, worms, trojans, bots, and root-kits as malware, and other cyber threats (including hackers). It’s essential to update security software to ensure it provides the most effective protection. We recommend a fully monitored solution and offer 24x7x365 S.O.C. (Security Operation Center) to ensure and assure you are safe and secure.
  5. Enable encryption: Encryption is the process of encrypting (scrambling, encoding, etc.) data so that those with the proper decryption key can only access it. This helps protect data from being accessed by unauthorized users, even if it is intercepted or stolen.

Use virtual private networks (VPNs): VPNs create a secure, encrypted connection between a device and a network. This can help protect against cyber threats and prevent unauthorized access to data. Features and benefits of VPNs include:

  1. Encrypted data transmission: VPNs use encryption to secure data as it is transmitted over the internet, making it difficult for unauthorized users to intercept or access it. Encrypting data and preventing unauthorized access is a significant enhancement to network security.
  2. Remote access: VPNs allow users to securely access a network from anywhere with an internet connection, making it convenient for remote work and collaboration.
  3. Improved privacy: VPNs can help protect users’ online privacy by hiding their I.P. address and location from websites, bad actors, and internet service providers.
  4. Implement software updates and patches: Keeping software up to date with the latest patches and updates is arguably one of the most critical securities you can implement. Features and benefits of software updates and patches include:
    1. Security fixes: Software updates and patches often include fixes for security vulnerabilities that cyberattackers could exploit.
    2. New features: Updates can also include new features and functionality that can improve the performance and usability of the software.
    3. Compatibility: Updates can ensure that software is compatible with new hardware and operating systems.

The benefits of implementing these best practices include the following:

  • Improved protection against cyber threats: By using strong passwords, 2FA, firewalls, security software, and encryption, businesses can significantly reduce their risk of being targeted by cyberattacks.
  • Enhanced data security: Network security measures help protect sensitive data from being accessed or misused by unauthorized individuals.
  • Increased compliance: Many businesses must adhere to specific regulatory requirements for data security (PCI DSS3.0 / HIPAA, G.L.B., and SOX, to name a few). Strong network security practices can help businesses meet these requirements and avoid hefty fines and penalties.
  • Improved customer trust: Businesses can build trust with customers and partners by demonstrating a commitment to data security, leading to increased business and revenue.

Here it is on a bumper-sticker: Overall, implementing strong network security measures is essential for protecting your businesses from cyber threats and ensuring the security and integrity of your systems and data.

How Can We Help?

Protecting your business, personal information, and your customers’ data and knowing it is protected is Absolute Computer Systems’ primary focus.

  • Evaluate - We can evaluate your current network business environment.
  • Assess - We will provide a complete assessment of your overall security health.
  • Implement - We can ( and would be happy to ) help you implement a complete security plan to provide a comprehensive security solution.

Contact us today for more information.