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How Can You Improve Your Network Security?

IT support professionals are always looking to protect their networks from unwanted guests.  As an IT support professional, your obligations not only include maintaining a network but also protecting it.  We have put together some basic security precautions you can take for the wired side of the network.  We will address the wireless side of the network in a future post.

  • Maintain Your Network.  You should always maintain your network up to date using industry best practices.  This includes a network audit as well as firmware and software updates of all network devices.  This includes the basics such as OS, driver updates and antivirus.
  • Network Encryption.  Many organizations are encrypting the entire network.  Many IT support professionals are now creating a Windows Server to serve as an IPsec server.  The encryption process can be take up network bandwidth however there are many solutions out there that can reduce latency and overhead.
  • Network Audit. You should always have a clear understanding your entire network infrastructure.  IT support professionals practicing Best Industry Standards always have a clear layout of their networks layout including vendor and model of system, location and configuration of firewalls, routers and switches. , Ethernet cabling and ports, and wireless access points. Plus know exactly what servers, computers, printers, and any other devices are connected, where they are connected, and their connectivity path throughout the network. Many IT support professionals use Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools so they can scan the network and start to produce a network map or diagram.
  • Secure the Network Physically.  The most overlooked issue is to physically secure your core network assets.  Without strong physical security of your building and network, a hacker or employee can plug a wireless router into an open Ethernet port, giving them and anyone else nearby wireless access to your network.  But if that Ethernet port wasn’t visible or at least disconnected, then that wouldn’t have happened.  Verify that Ethernet cabling is run out of sight and isn’t easily accessible; the same with wireless access points. Disconnect unused Ethernet ports physically especially those in the public areas of the building.
  • MAC Address Filtering.  One major security issue of the wired side of network is people can just plug in and use the network.  Although MAC address serves as the first layer of security, it will not completely stop a hacker but it can help you prevent an employee from causing a serious security risk. Always keep an updated MAC address list.

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