How to Secure Your Network

Every step of evolution comes with its own set of pros and cons, and security is no different. Network security has improved so much the past two decades, but in no way is any network invincible. And, as many security breaches have shown us, some think that networks secure themselves, with no input needed from the users.

While yes, network equipment can up and running in a few minutes, it doesn’t mean it’s secure. For example, you can buy a VPN router and have a professional set it up, but it’s on you to set up the VPN on your devices. 

There many ways to secure your network, and many only ask for a few minutes of your time–and maybe some cash–to increase the security of your network. 


Using a VPN

     Piggybacking off my VPN router example is…well, a VPN! Now, a VPN won’t protect your actual network. Instead, a VPN protects the data being sent from your devices located on the network by “hiding” said data from outside spectators.

If you believe your network is secure but are still paranoid, using a VPN never hurt anyone, though it may hurt your wallet. Hey, small price to pay for security, right?


Using a Firewall

If you’ve ever owned a computer, you’re probably familiar with the term “firewall”. The–admittedly–cool-sounding name is in reference to it’s job: blocking unauthorized programs from messing with the network while at the same time granting authorized programs permission to communicate outside the network.

     I know I know, it’s a mouthful. Imagine a castle,but instead of drawbridge, uses a wall of flames to protect against intruders. That is how a firewall works.

If you use Windows, you already own a firewall, Windows Firewall. Better yet, it comes activated, so unless you’ve tampered with the firewall settings, Windows Firewall has had your back this whole time.

     You can pay for a third-party firewall, such as ones from Norton Security, but you don’t need to. However, I recommend doing so if you are in charge of a business’ network. For personal networks, using Windows Firewall plus a VPN eliminates most of the need for a third-party firewall.


Keeping Your Devices Up-To-Date

In my friend circle, I am the tech guy. This means they come to me for anything tech-related they can’t do, and you’d be shocked how many of their “problems” are fixed with a simple software update. 

     Network security works the same way: frequent updating of your devices can solve existing problems and prevent new ones from occurring. I want to emphasize this point when it comes to network devices, such as routers or switches; these devices are updated to keep up with security threats, even if it’s not made clear in the patch notes your find. Hackers love devices that aren’t updated to the latest version. As a matter of fact, exploitation of unpatched security vulnerabilities is the a main cause of network breaches.

     Updating your router takes maybe 5-10 minutes, so do it before you go to work or school. If you don’t know how to, take note of your modem/router model and find the how-to online, as those types of instructions are plentiful online.


Using Careful Consideration

The #1 reason why networks are breached is due to user error.Remember, you can use the best firewall, use the best VPN and keep your devices up-to-date, but if you aren’t heeding caution whenever you’re on the Internet, it’ll all be for naught. 

     A VPN won’t protect you from clicking that link in your spam folder. A firewall can’t keep you from entering your personal information on that sketchy site. When it comes to network and personal security, the best thing you can do is keep yourself educated about the dangers of the Internet.With some common sense and education, your chances of being hacked or breached will be at their lowest.

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