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Importance of Software Updates for Cyber Security

A software patch or update is a program that a developer provides to either add functionality to the application or to correct any malfunctions, or potentially exploitable vulnerabilities discovered in the application. However, software updates are only effective if platform users participate in the upgrades. Users may still be at risk from potentially exploitable vulnerabilities if they have not upgraded their systems.

Why do people often either forget or ignore updating software?

The majority of people avoid updating their software for a variety of reasons, the most common being believing that their system does not require it since it is functioning well. Such users simply disregard update alerts or postpone them. However, by doing so, users fail to realize that they are significantly increasing the security risks for their devices. Users run a larger risk of experiencing a breach or attack the longer they wait to upgrade a system, app, software, platform, or device. Professionals have advised that software upgrades are important to protect the users’ devices from cyberattacks. Hence, users must update and upgrade when possible.

Why software updates are important?

  1. To avoid ransomware attacks and system compromises – Cybersecurity experts advise keeping all the endpoint devices always updated. An outdated application or a program on any device might be a lucrative way for a cybercriminal to access a user’s work files, emails, contacts, and sensitive financial information. This information can wind up being sold on the dark web, making it possible for other fraudsters to target the user in the future. Additionally, users can experience a ransomware attack that locks or encrypts all the data and demands money in return for decrypting the data. In many circumstances, users might never be able to retrieve their data from this catastrophe.
  2. To ensure the critical data, systems, and networks are secure – Attackers can target a system’s vulnerability to get access to other devices on a network. This usually occurs if a user uses the same login information across several other platforms. Malware is known to spread swiftly to other computers on the network once it has entered a device in the network. This makes it possible for a single unpatched device or a negligent user to destroy a whole network of systems.
  3. To install the latest version of the software – Software developers anticipate exploiting resolution mechanisms as they must always be on the lookout for vulnerabilities. When updates fail to get installed, there is an imminent danger that malware might infiltrate the system and steal data or take control of the system. Files might be encrypted, and the attacker could demand payment to decode the information. Although there are several reasons for software updates, the most important one is to patch existing security loopholes.
  4. To install add-ons and plugins that are compatible with the latest build of software – Software upgrades often install new functionality in the existing installed version while facilitating fixing the errors existing in the current version of the same software. Users fail to utilize these advancements when they decide not to install the most recent updates. Also, the productivity of the user might get impacted by using old software versions that might not support other applications that provide new functionalities.

Along with a host of other advantages, updating all of the deployed hardware, software, and other systems also guarantees that the security posture is working as expected. Updates can fix security flaws, get rid of glitches, and take away obsolete functionality. Software updates greatly reduce the chances of a cybercriminal infiltrating the network and stealing the data. Additionally, users are advised to update the software solutions to ensure the associated hardware is operating as effectively as possible.

Contact Centex Technologies to know how to safeguard your business’s computer network. You may reach Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

Things To Consider While Upgrading Office Network

Business-grade office networking solutions has crucial productivity, security, and functional characteristics that make the solutions a preferred choice for all enterprises. As the organization grows or there is an advent of newer technology, businesses should consider upgrading their office networks.

While upgrading their office network, businesses should invest in high-quality network equipment that features: –

  1. Intelligent Networking – Networks aided by RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and machine learning provide maximum performance on applications and services. The intelligent system can adapt, learn, and defend itself is an AI-enabled network.
  2. Multiple Wireless Network Support – A single wireless network is often supported by consumer access points. Multi-wireless networks, often known as SSIDs (Service Set IDentifiers), are supported by business-grade access points. This allows versatility and protection. Inbound-outbound rules, encryption, authentication, and other features can be applied to such SSIDs to provide an extra layer of protection. Additional dedicated SSIDs guaranteeing network isolation and congestion-free communications channel are formed for IP cameras and wireless speakers. Office owners can also utilize dual-band routers with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
  3. NAS (Network Attached Storage) – A NAS is a data storage device. It’s a box with many hard drives configured in a RAID array to defend against hardware failures and faults. A network interface card connects directly to a switch or router and allows data to be accessed through a network. Data may be accessed using a shared drive from desktops, laptops, and servers. With NAS, there is no need to store copies of your papers on all of your assets and devices. It allows operators and business owners to deploy virtual computers and set up a media server that can stream to any device in real time.
  4. Network Security – Physical network security is the initial layer, and it should keep unauthorized people out of physical network components. Access to network components must be logged, controlled, with mandatory biometric verification requirement. Technical network security is the second layer, which safeguards data in transit as well as data at rest. External threat actors as well as harmful insider activities can be mitigated implementing a VPN and/or two-factor and multi-factor authentication techniques. Antivirus and firewall software must be updated to only allow access to authorized staff. The administrative network security layer is the last layer, and it comprises of security rules and processes that regulate network user behavior. Unauthorized network access to specific applications and devices is limited by unified endpoint management.
  5. Cloud Computing – The distribution of services through the internet is referred to as cloud computing. Software, storage, analytics, and servers are all examples of internet services that are referred to as “the Cloud.” A cloud provider will host and keep the data for all of these services in the end. Access to applications, servers, and data is no longer restricted locally, making remote work easier. Threat actors finds it more difficult to infiltrate the network on the cloud. Both employees and the corporation benefit from a cloud-based network as they can utilize file sharing, screen sharing, and team messaging over the cloud network. When deciding on a team collaboration tool, compare the benefits and drawbacks of the vendor products shortlisted. Another advantage for employees is that cloud computing decreases the workload of the network administrators and allows them to focus on other activities.

Centex Technologies provide complete IT and computer networking solutions for businesses. For upgradation and for conducting an IT audit of office network, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Elements of Network Security

PDF Version: Elements-of-Network -Security

Enterprise Network Security: Zero Trust Security Or VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Networking. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic in real time and disguise your online identity. This makes it difficult for third parties to track your online activities and steal data.

How Does VPN Work?

A VPN hides an IP address by letting the network redirect it through a specially configured remote server run by a VPN host. This states that when surfing online with VPN, the VPN server acts as the source of your data. Due to this, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and other third parties cannot see the websites you visit or data you send or receive.

Benefits Of VPN:

  • Secure Encryption: VPN ensures secure encryption of data transmitted and received. User requires an encryption key to read the data. This makes it difficult for the hackers or third parties to decipher the data, even if they corrupt the network.
  • Disguise The Location: VPN servers act as a proxy for you on the internet. This ensures that the actual location of the user is not determined. Additionally, most VPN services do not store activity log which further ensures that no information about user behavior is passed on to hackers or third parties.
  • Secure Data Transfer: As the trend of working remotely is gaining popularity, secure data transfer has become immensely important. Organizations can make use of VPN servers to ensure the security of data being transmitted and reduce the risks of data leakage.

Zero Trust Security

Main tenet of “zero trust security” is that vulnerabilities can appear if businesses are too trusting of individuals. This model maintains that no user, even if allowed on the network, should be trusted by default because it may lead to end point being compromised.

How Does Zero Trust Security Work?

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is an important aspect of Zero Trust Security model. ZTNA uses identity based authentication to establish trust before providing access while keeping the network location (IP address) hidden. ZTNA secures the environment by identifying anomalous behavior such as attempted access to restricted data or downloads of unusual amounts of data at unusual time or from unusual location.

Benefits OF Zero Trust Security:

  • Increased Resource Access Visibility: Zero Trust Security model provides organizations better visibility into who accesses what resources for what reasons and understand the measures that should be applied to secure resources.
  • Decreased Attack Surface: As Zero Trust Security model shifts the focus to securing individual resources, it reduces the risk of cyber-attacks that target network perimeter.
  • Improved Monitoring: Zero Trust Security model includes the deployment of a solution for continuous monitoring and logging of asset states and user activity. This helps in detection of potential threats in a timely manner.

Zero Trust and VPN are both types of network security and although they seem to have different approaches, these can be used in conjunction for a comprehensive security strategy. Organizations can use Zero Trust concepts and VPNs to delineate clear network perimeter and then create secure zones within the network.

At Centex Technologies, we recommend network security protocols and solutions to formulate an effective network security strategy. For more information, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Protecting Your Computer Network: Tips To Configure Firewall

Firewall is a critical part of first line of defense against online attacks. This makes configuring firewall an important step for ensuring network security. Breaking down the process of firewall configuration into simpler steps can make the process more manageable.

Following are some crucial steps for firewall configuration irrespective of the firewall platform:

Ensure Firewall Is Secure: Securing firewall is the first step towards configuration and management of firewall. So, make sure to –

  • Disable simple network management protocol (SNMP)
  • Rename, disable or delete any default user account and modify default passwords.
  • Establish additional administrator accounts based on responsibilities, specifically if firewall will be managed by multiple administrators.

Create Firewall Zones & Corresponding IP Addresses: The more zones you establish, the higher will be network security. Before proceeding to defend valuable assets, it is first important to identify these assets and then plan out network structure to position networks based on functionality and data sensitivity. Now design a secure structure and create equivalent IP address structure. The next step is to architect firewall zones and allocate them to firewall interfaces.

Configure Access Control Lists (ACLs): After firewall zones have been created and allocated to firewall interfaces, the next step is to determine the traffic that will flow in and out of each zone. This is facilitated by Access Control Lists. Use both outbound & inbound ACLs to each interface and sub-interface on the network firewall.

Configure Other Firewall Services To Required Standards: Depending upon the chosen firewall platform and its abilities such as Intrusion Prevention System, Network Time Protocol, DHCP, etc, configure relevant firewall services and disable additional services.

Conduct Network Firewall Configuration Tests: Test the firewall configuration to testing and verify that the firewall is working as expected. Include both penetration testing and vulnerability scanning to test firewall configuration.

Constant Firewall Management: After completing firewall configuration, ensure secure firewall management. Take following steps to effectively manage firewall –

  • Perform Vulnerability Scans
  • Monitor Logs
  • Regularly Review Firewall Rules
  • Update Firmware
  • Document Progress

In addition to these crucial steps, implement following additional tips for firewall configuration:

  • Fulfill standard regulatory mandates
  • Frequently change configuration settings
  • Set default setting to block all traffic and monitor user access
  • Establish & use secure connection only

For more information on tips on how to protect your computer network from cyber-attacks, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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