Network Security: Firewall Configuration, Perimeter Security
The truth is, serious network problems don't happen often. But when they do, everything stops. Sometimes it's not preventable (e.g. a disaster occurs). Sometimes it is. Hacking attempts, spammers, self-reproducing viruses…you can minimize the risk of all these with proper network security.
Modern security practices recommend two primary elements of protection: a firewall regulating traffic in and out, and perimeter security guarding the gates.
Network Firewalls – Work Safely What is a Firewall?
A firewall is a software- or hardware-based barrier against unauthorized access to your network. Firewalls inspect all the traffic going through them. "Legitimate" traffic is let through, while "malicious" traffic is rejected. Firewalls use a set of rules to distinguish what's legitimate and what's malicious.
If your company is online, you need a firewall. Hopefully you already have one. But is it properly configured? Firewalls are like castle moats – people can get across if there are shallow spots. Tips on Configuring a Firewall that Works
- Set firewalls to monitor incoming AND outgoing packets. If malware sneaks onto one computer, it can send information outside the network and make it appear harmless.
- Opt for a hardware firewall, such as Cisco. Hardware firewalls are more powerful, and give you more control over protecting your Web traffic than a software-based firewall.
- If Spam Protection is available on your firewall, enable it. Spam firewalls are proving popular in keeping the nastier emails out (viruses, botnets).
- Standardize all wireless connections on WPA. Not only does the WPA Protocol have better security than WEP, but this way you can recognize (and block) if someone else tries to break in using WEP or an unencrypted connection.
Because we work with several hardware & software vendors, PlanetMagpie isn't locked into one choice of firewall. Our recommendations are based on your existing network environment, and what level of firewall protection you need.
Perimeter Security – Guard Your Network from Invaders
Money losses from lack of security include identity theft , information theft, lost business from server/network crashes, lost productivity from slowdowns due to viruses/malware/etc.
Every company has a network perimeter – where their network ends and the Internet begins. Thanks to wireless and VPN technology, this boundary can seem fuzzy. If its security is fuzzy though, you risk losing money, productivity and confidential data.
Lack of perimeter security poses a lot of dangers. These are just a few reasons to be concerned:
- If you make a software product (applications, scripts), it could be stolen.
- Your computers could be taken over and turned into "zombies" (computers used to send out spam and viruses automatically)
- Your website or intranet, if hosted locally, could be removed or replaced.
- Your SQL databases could suffer an injection attack, causing data loss and/or severe security compromises.
- Do any employees work remotely? Your VPN connections are at risk for hacking.
- Losses from lack of security include identity theft, data loss, lost business from server/network crashes, & lost productivity from slowdowns caused by virus/malware infections.
Much of perimeter security is addressed by the firewall. However, with the increased risk from DoS attacks and malware scripts worming their ways past firewalls, additional security products are now needed. One solution growing in use is Microsoft ForeFront
Perimeter security requires a good initial setup and regular maintenance, to update it against new threats. Talk to PlanetMagpie about both. Call 408.540.5100
to ask about a no-obligation network security recommendation.