If you’re running a small business, and you don’t have a dedicated IT department, or very few IT workers, you may have some questions about computer networking – and how you can ensure that your computer systems are fast, safe, and secure.
Well, you’re in the right place! Great computer networking isn’t difficult – especially if you only have a few end-user systems and servers. With the tips in this guide, you’ll be able to lock down your data, and ensure that your IT systems are in great shape. Read on, and learn about 5 simple computer networking tips – that you can start using today!
1. Minimize The Number Of Administrator Accounts You Use
One of the most important things you can do when securing your computer network is to minimize the number of administrator accounts that you use – and not using them for daily activities.
For the most part, it’s a good idea to set up a single administrator account, and to use it only when necessary. Most malware and harmful programs require administrator privileges in order to install themselves – so if you and your employees are not using administrator accounts, they will not be able to hack your systems.
As a rule, you should only be using your administrator account to do things like:
* Setting up new users and hardware
* Installing new programs
* Updating software
* Making system changes
* Updating your network
2. Always Keep Your Software Systems And Operating Systems Upgraded
Another very important step towards securing your computer network is to always upgrade your operating systems and software, whenever possible.
Most security vulnerabilities are regularly patched and removed from updated software, and from operating systems. Using older operating systems – like Windows XP or Windows 7 – opens you up to more vulnerabilities that are no longer present in new operating systems.
Always updating to the latest systems helps you avoid this. It also speeds up your software and hardware, and ensures that your employees have fewer issues with their computers and their network. Make sure you update all of your software systems as soon as you can.
3. Use Complex Passwords
Ideally, you should have a password policy that consists of the following elements:
* Passwords with a minimum length (10+ characters recommended)
* Passwords that use a combination of capital letters, symbols, numbers
* Prohibiting commonly-used words (personal and company names)
* Blocking passwords that are in commonly-used and easily recognizable formats, such as birthdays and telephone numbers
* Requiring a new password every 30-60 days
* Blocking users from re-using an old password for 1-2 years or permanently.
The stronger your passwords are, the less likely your computer network is to suffer from a “brute force” attack. These attacks occur when hackers use special algorithms to detect commonly-used passwords, and attempt to get into your computer network.
Firewalls and other security standards are good precautions to help prevent this, but strong passwords are also essential to safeguarding your computer networking infrastructure.
4. Use A VPN To Allow Remote Access By Your Employees (And Enhance Security)
VPNs are powerful tools that allow users to access the Local Area Network (LAN), and access database backups and servers without being in the office.
A VPN lets users log in remotely with an encrypted connection. Without a VPN, your employees would not be able to get access to your computer networking equipment. So invest in a VPN, so that your workers can access important documents, even if they are working from home, or remotely.
5. Make Sure You’re Using The Right Internet Equipment
While you can usually get basic computer networking equipment like Ethernet switches, modems and routers, and Wi-Fi access points from your ISP (Internet Service Provider), this typically is not a great idea.
These devices are convenient, but they do not always provide the best security features. It’s best to purchase your own computer networking hardware, to ensure that you will be able to configure your own firmware, and keep your data secure. You never want to run your computer network on a device that you do not fully own – or that you “rent” from an ISP.
Keep Your Computer Networks Secure With These Tips
Computer networking may seem intimidating – but with these helpful tips, you and your IT team can take all of the necessary steps in order to ensure that your data is protected – and that your company is secure.