Protecting your business’s assets is vital to remaining in business and keeping your customers happy. While this once applied to securing your office’s files and other property, today it’s more focused on keeping your digital information protected from hackers and viruses. With just one hack, you can release sensitive information about your company or watch as the names, addresses, and credit card numbers of thousands of customers are spread across the Internet. That’s why it’s vital that you make use of these security tools available to protect your network.
While almost every employee has a username and password that he or she must use to access his or her computer at work, few make use of stronger authentication technology. This technology requires users to have small digital devices or an app on their phones that generate a random number. The employee must enter this number within a certain timeframe in order to log in. If the numbers don’t match, it doesn’t matter if the password does. This helps prevent password theft since without the authentication device, it’s impossible to gain access to the employee’s account.
These devices work with any computer, too, so the employee can use the same authentication tool with his or her laptop or even his or her tablet. If the device is stolen, the employee’s username and password are still required to log in. The device by itself is useless.
Intrusion Detection Programs
Even with network security tools such as authentication devices, it’s still possible for advanced hackers to break into your network. That’s why you need to make use of intrusion detection programs. These programs continuously scan your network looking for attacks from live hackers, viruses, spyware, malware, and other suspicious activity. These tools can even detect when a legitimately logged-in account has tried to access data it shouldn’t have.
These tools will continue to protect your system during the night, on weekends, and on holidays so your IT staff doesn’t have to be present to protect your network. When something does trigger an alert, the intrusion detection program will automatically email or text your IT staff. This lets them know what’s happening and alerts them to situations that require their attention.
Malware has become more and more of an issue in recent years, but as it has increased in sophistication, so have the network security tools needed to identify and remove it. These tools not only passively scan your network to determine if malware has been introduced but can also actively scan specific users, user groups, websites, or software to determine if they are the source of the malware.
The best way to make use of these anti-malware tools is to combine them with other tools such as anti-spyware programs, anti-virus scanners, IP blacklists, and strong email and Internet usage policies. Employees must understand where malware, viruses, and other programs come from and why they are such a serious threat. While anti-malware programs will help protect your system, it’s best that they are considered a last-resort option rather than the first line of defense. Trained employees should serve in that capacity.
Like anti-malware and virus scanning programs, firewalls have also been improved upon. Today’s next-generation programs are designed to keep unauthorized access and programs out of your network while still allowing specific web traffic in and out. These updated network security tools now include specific application-awareness options, allowing their security features to be tailored to each application you use.
Mobile Device and Network Access Managers
Many businesses and employees make use of mobile devices to make their jobs easier. For example, construction crews can carry smartphones and tablets on the job site to send photos and videos back to the office quickly and easily. However, these mobile devices may be using public Wi-Fi networks to do this. Mobile device management programs help control the security of these devices by making certain they are secure. This software pushes updates and patches as needed and allows for remote security access and monitoring.
For employees who bring their own mobile devices to the office, network access managers can help prevent unsecured devices from connecting to the network. Only those devices that have specific security protocols and protections will be given access to any of the information or resources on the network, providing an additional layer of security.