Network Security Options For Small Businesses Home Networks

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There are many different options to protect your home or company networks from hackers and viruses. The simplest form is to have a password on your network connection so that only those with the password can access encrypted names. Even better is to have additional security measures such as firewalls, network encryption and anti virus software.


Firewalls

Firewalls are another way of protecting your network. They are barriers that flag the incoming information to keep it safe. Companies can set up firewalls at every network connection that regulate incoming information, prevent hackers, and gives administrators control over user access. This administrative control allows the network administrator to disallow certain applications and websites, which may be harmful to the network. Firewalls use one of three methods.

Packet filtering involves analyzing packets of incoming information against filters to make sure only the correct ones are accepted, similar to puzzle pieces, making sure only the ones that fit what are needed are accepted.

A proxy service retrieves info from the firewall and sends it to the requesting system. This means that the computers never come into direct contact with each other, and the information is stored, or cached, on the proxy server so that it can be loaded instantly from the server.

And, finally, stateful inspection compares key parts of the packets instead of examining the contents.


The Advantages Of Firewalls

The advantages of firewalls are that they prevent people from remotely accessing your computer and controlling it, preventing bugs and viruses, hardware firewalls have faster reaction times, and software firewalls are free of charge and easy to install.


The Disadvantages Of Firewalls

The disadvantages are that hardware firewalls take up a lot of space, are complicated to install and upgrade, and they do not protect company information that is copied onto memory sticks. Software firewalls can slow applications down and have the added nuisance of being needed to be updated frequently.


Network Encryption Options

It is important to encrypt messages sent over networks. To do this, Wi-Fi networks have WEP, WPA, or WPA2 options. WEP, or Wired Equivalent Privacy, is the weakest security option for wireless networks, but still provides more confidentiality than traditional wired networks. The next step up is WPA, Wi-Fi Protected Access, which came out around 1999 and was created in anticipation for WPA2. WPA comprises of TKIP certification and needs to be out of range from radio reception otherwise a hacker can gain access to the network. Eventually WPA2 replaced WPA and requires testing and certification by the Wi-Fi Alliance. WPA2 is much stronger than the previous versions because of its level of encryption that requires authentication by the user followed by the generation of master keys and temporary keys that provide data confidentiality and with integrity. WPA2 immunizes the network against many types of hackers and allows clients to reconnect to previously visited connections without having to re-authenticate. However, WPA2 cannot last against physical layer attacks like RF jamming, data flooding, and access point failures. To ensure that these potential pitfalls are not an issue, companies should manage each access points and use wireless intrusion prevention systems (WIPS).


Antivirus Software

Antivirus software prevents and detects viruses by looking for variations in codes. This software can either come with the operating system on your computer or can be downloaded online for free or a small cost and is relatively easy to set up. They are important to protect computers from viruses that can be transferred to other computers. However, antivirus software can have some drawbacks because they may slow down the computer’s performance. They can also be confusing for people to understand, as the prompts displayed by the antivirus software can cause confusion at times for the users.

To sum it up, there are many ways to protect your computer and your personal or company network from incoming viruses, hackers, and to control what people on your network are looking at. Protection for your intellectual property is very important and should not be taken lightly. A combination of all these options is the best idea to protect your network.

 

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