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Hardening your network security with 3 simple tips

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Matthew Fisher - September 6, 2022

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Ensure your network is secure with these simple, effective tips for hardening it.

As a system administrator, one of your primary responsibilities is to ensure that the network you are responsible for is secure. There are many different ways to harden the security of a network, and in this article, I'll cover a few simple, effective methods.

1. Implement Firewalls

One of the most effective ways to secure a network is to implement firewalls. Firewalls act as a barrier between the internal network and the outside world, and they can be configured to block specific types of traffic. For example, a firewall can be configured to block all incoming traffic except that which is specifically allowed.

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Tip: To secure your network, use firewalls. The best approach is to block everything by default and only whitelist the traffic that is required.

Firewalls come in many shapes and sizes, so it's important to select one that fits the unique needs of your organization. There are two general approaches to deploying firewalls: installing a firewall at each physical location and installing firewalls at a central location or data center and routing traffic from all facilities through it.

2. Use Encryption

Another effective way to secure a network is to use encryption. Encryption scrambles data so that it can only be decrypted by authorized users who hold a secret key. This means that if someone were to intercept encrypted data, they would not be able to read it. When configuring encryption, it is important to use strong encryption algorithms such as AES or RSA.

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Tip: Encrypt data in all of its phases, including data in transit and data at rest.

Make sure that encryption keys are properly generated and stored. Do not generate encryption keys through keyboard smashing; use a generator instead. Store your keys with least privilege access in mind, granting only the necessary level of access to the necessary people and services.

3. Change Default Passwords

One of the most common ways that hackers gain access to networks is by exploiting default passwords. When setting up new devices on a network, be sure to change the default passwords to something strong and unique.

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Tip: A good password should be at least 10 characters long and contain a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

To ensure your network stays secure, changing passwords on new network equipment and applications is a good first step to take. Wherever single sign on or federated authentication is available, look to implement it as soon as possible.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many ways that you can harden the security of your network. By implementing these security measures, you can significantly reduce the changes of your network being compromised by hackers.


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