Computers aren’t just meant to process information. They’re built to share information. Where there are even one or two computers in your office, you have a network. Even a desktop computer connected to a printer is a network. Network security enters the picture at the most fundamental level of computing.
Network security is relevant even if you have no Internet in your office, as unusual as that would be. Information sharing doesn’t need to happen via an Internet connection. It doesn’t even need a permanently attached cable to occur. USB devices, for example, are a still a popular way of exchanging digital information, even in our increasingly wireless world.
Small offices, big offices, and virtual offices are all networked in some way (even if it’s haphazard). No matter how loosely our organization’s laptops, desktops, phones and other devices are connected, they ARE connected. This means network security is everyone’s business. It’s a mainstay of our own business at Tethered Computers.
Network security threats are extensive and growing. Knowledge of these threats isn’t just for system administrators. Everyone in your organization needs at least a basic understanding of security issues. While we at Tethered make it our business to prevent security attacks against your network, it’s essential for you and your organization’s computer users to be aware of vulnerable areas such as:
- File sharing. Even photos can contain malware, so no one in your network should be downloading without a second thought.
- Email. Email is the top delivery vehicle for most malware. Hopefully, you won’t have to push to get agreement from all your employees that no legitimate offer of 10.6 million dollars from a Nigerian bank or the prince of Swaziland will ever arrive in their inbox. Your employees should be savvy enough to know where this type of email belongs.
Network security can indeed be as simple as not falling for an obviously bogus email offer. But some email spoofs are more sophisticated– appearing as legitimate mail, often from an authority figure such as a site administrator. The message typically asks the recipient to update a password or to submit personal data– which someone is waiting to steal.
Emails can also contain links with hidden file extensions that fool the recipient into downloading and opening files that only look legitimate. Their actually an open portal to viruses.
- Passwords. Getting your organization’s computer users involved in network security also means inculcating in them the use of strong passwords and getting their agreement that they won’t store passwords on unsecured computer files or write them down and store them in a place that’s easily accessible.
A sobering fact about malware is that it’s being written even as you read this blog. Teaching your employees and all participants in your network to be security-conscious will go a long way to ward off the daily security threats that are a fact of life in our digital world.
A defense strategy that combines savvy end-users with anti-virus software, system patching and timely software updates are crucial to combating network security issues. Understanding the differences between these threats is the first step toward eliminating them.
At Tethered Computers network security is an integral part of both our on-demand and monthly IT maintenance services. See a full list of our service offerings here and feel free to contact us for a free consultation about getting your business or organization on the road to better network security.