Over the last few months there have been a number of high profile vulnerabilities exposed across vendors, so how can you ensure you keep your network secure?

You'd be surprised how much of the basics get overlooked, but getting these right can make the world of difference to your network security. Here are a few simple steps and best practices you can take today to protect your network, which are applicable to both your network at home or in a business/corporate environment.

Update Your Software

Keep the software running on your router/firewall up to date Much the same as with your computer or smart phone, the software on your router will be regularly updated by the manufacturer. Even a new device will have sat on the shelf for several months and will benefit from an update before installation. To do this, log into the web interface of your router and consult the user guide for your device. This will have specific instructions on the update process.

Do Not Open Up Remote Management To The Internet

This will prevent attackers from connecting to your device to attempt to login or use the exploit. Remote management of devices may feel like a convenience, but by limiting the number of points of access into your network, the more secure it will be. Sometimes the benefit outweighs the risks, but don’t take any decision to reduce your security lightly.

Don’t Disable The Firewall

The firewall is key to protecting your network. All too often we find networks where previous support providers have taken drastic and quite frankly lazy steps to make something like a VoIP system work properly by simply disabling firewalls on servers, PCs and routers. Do not do this! Take the time to configure a firewall properly and you can make anything work (while still maintaining a high level of security).

Set/Change The Password

Never leave a device set with the default password or leave it blank. This is a popular way that attackers can access you network without having to put in any effort. 

Change The Default Wireless Name and Key

Not only will this make your network more secure, but it will almost certainly be easier for you to remember. Make sure the new key is suitably secure, a short phrase is best. If your router has a Guest wireless feature built-in, consider using it. This will mean your visitors don’t have access to your corporate (or home) network.

Once you have put all of the above into practice, consider getting a network professional to inspect your network. There are commercial services called Penetration Tests which will externally scan your network to assess for these types of vulnerabilities. Search for a local provider, or by all means contact BirchenallHowden to discuss these sorts of assessments and services in more detail.