Protect Your Company's Network
Peak-Ryzex Offers Six Quick "Best Practices" to Protect Your Company's Network
By Ben Edwards, Peak-Ryzex Systems Consultant
It seems as though every week we hear about a major theft of consumer information from a corporate or government computer network. One of the most recent stories in the news reported that a computer hacker stole thousands of credit card numbers from two U.S. grocery store chains resulting in nearly 2,000 cases of credit card fraud.
Personal information, credit card and debit card numbers, corporate data - all this information is under constant threat by aggressive, highly motivated cyber criminals bent on breaking and exploiting any network weakness they can find.
Businesses seeking to protect their sensitive systems and data must be just as aggressive as the hackers and solidify their approach to network security practices, systems and management. Just about any network, no matter how well protected, can be breached if hackers invest enough time and effort (and money) to break in. The key to a successful security strategy is to make your systems so time-consuming and difficult to break, with no weak points and fresh layers of protection added consistently, that the hackers conclude it's not worth their time and search for easier targets.
Best Practices for Sustaining Security
Our experience at Peak-Ryzex includes developing a set of security best-practices that, if rigorously applied across a network, will make it secure enough that hackers will turn toward easier targets rather than spending time on your system.
1) Protect All Avenues of Attack
The increasing use of wireless devices in enterprise networks presents a serious new challenge for network administrators. Hackers may literally drive around with laptops, looking for wireless points of access on corporate networks, and then relentlessly test the authentication protocols to try and get their laptops accepted into a network.
Many retail operations may have good security procedures for credit card information in their stores. However, the warehouse that supports those stores and uses wireless devices in its operations often has a much lower level of security. As a result, hackers may be able to break in to the company's databases and access that same credit card data, from an entirely different angle.
2) Data Encryption
3) Device Authentication
4) Rogue Device Detection
5) Good Password Practices
6) Annual Security Audits
Annual security audits provide a valuable management framework to keep your network security one step ahead of the hackers. It ensures that security is an actively managed issue for your network, not something that is set up once and then allowed to languish, making your business more vulnerable with each passing day.
The bottom line: Constant network vigilance is worth the investment. Force those hackers to spend more time on a secure system and they'll look for easier fruit to pick.
About Ben Edwards: Ben Edwards has worked in the systems integration and data collection industry for 16 years, and has implemented numerous industrial data collection systems in multiple environments. At PEAK, Edwards is responsible for the design and implementation of data collection systems including host connectivity, wired and wireless network design, and analyzing risk/security requirements.
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