Network Security Fundamentals for Any Business

The use of these network security fundamentals can be a launchpad for companies looking to beef up security due to the recent ransomware attacks.

The term “Network Security” is very broad in the context of modern technologies. Networks can be hard wired, or wireless. They might connect devices in a single office, or across separate locations, around the world.

Security can range from the stringent requirements of a military installation or address  garden-variety malware out of a small office.

But across the network security spectrum, there are three fundamental tenets that are universal. These network security fundamentals form a good starting point for any organization that wants to address cyber security for their IT infrastructure.

Ingrain Security into the Corporate Culture

To be effective any initiative to increase network security has to start at the top. Everyone within the company has to understand the company’s commitment to security and what policies and rules apply. This knowledge will affect how everyone does their jobs, the assets they’re allowed to access, and the strategic decisions that are made within the company.

The company’s commitment must be reflected in their investment in education and training for staff. Stay up-to-date on technological tools used in the operation of the business, and in non-technical areas as well – HR, accounting, sales, etc.

Security is a Process, Not a Project

Technology changes so fast, it’s vital to ensure the company’s security practice is up-to-date with the evolution of potential threats.

The success of your security process will hinge on the details. Personnel will change over time, so training for new hires, continuing education for existing staff, orderly and timely cleanup of unneeded access accounts and other tasks are ongoing concerns that need to managed, and documented.

Bring in a Fresh Set of Eyes

Changes in a company occur at a pace that is hard to detect. Familiarity with the environment can lead to a lack of fresh ideas or insights when considering the company’s network security as a whole.

For this reason it’s wise to have a third party (IT consultant) conduct regular network assessments. The goal here is to determine whether all aspects of the network are compliant with the company security policies.

Clare Computer Solutions can help with all phases of this endeavor, from creating and implementing security policies, to regular assessments and help in strategic IT planning. Contact us – it all starts with a conversation.

Which Backup and Disaster Recovery Option Fits Your Business Needs?

The notion of backing up important data should be familiar to anyone. Accidents happen, and if a computer that has your data fails, it’s lost unless it was backed up somehow.

But the process is more complicated now. Technology and its threats have evolved, and the stakes are higher than ever. Businesses depend on data more and more, and the amount of data is far higher than it was a few years ago.

Here’s what you need to know about backup systems and strategies:

Tape-Based Backup vs Disk-Based Backup

In the small-to-medium size business sector, disk-based backups seems to have won the battle. Disks are less prone to failure, and data transfer to and from disks is fast. Moreover, recovery from disks is faster as well, and finding single files to restore is much easier from disk backups.

In larger enterprises, many still prefer large-scale tape backup systems. The key to preserving tape backups is taking humans out of the mix. Magnetic media is sensitive and the more it’s handled or moved around, the more likely it’ll be affected. We have seen companies lose valuable data because someone took tapes off site and the magnetic clasp on a purse destroyed the data! (True story!)

On-site or Offsite Backup

The best option here is: both. It’s not a new concept, for years businesses would hand-carry that day’s backup on tape, CD, or DVD off site in case of disaster. Sometimes it was a bank vault, or someone’s home.

The adoption of cloud computing has made this process much easier and more automated. For systems that store backed up data on-site, it’s updating along the way. The incremental changes that occur can be uploaded to a cloud-based storage site after hours when the demands on bandwidth are less.

The on-site backups are quickly available for minor issues and off-site backups are the key to recovering from major disasters.

Data Backup or Image Backup

Trick question, once again the best option here is both choices. Since the whole reason for backing up data is to recover from a disaster, it’s vital to back up images as well. Your data is important, but the image backups will enable you to deploy replacements for machines much faster. This is key when resuming business operations quickly after a disaster. Image backups are also handy for recovering from a crashed server or a virus infection.

Clare Computer Solutions understands that every business is different – we can help you choose a backup and disaster recovery scheme that will fit your needs and your budget. Contact us to get started.

Can Your Business Afford Having Network Downtime?

There’s an old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We know it’s true, and yet many businesses don’t apply this commonsense approach to their IT infrastructure. The most common reason is, the owners are too busy with the day-to-day running of the business to step back and consider how much money this proactive approach could save them.

Instead, they choose to “self-insure.” They deal with IT issues as they crop up and disrupt their business. This is expensive, for several reasons. First of all, emergency work is generally performed at a premium rate. When your IT infrastructure is disrupted, it costs you even more.

 

Look at the ways network downtime costs you money:

  • – Lost productivity
  • – Lost opportunities
  • – Damage to your company’s image

 

Most reports peg the costs of a down network at tens of thousands of dollars per hour. If network problems caused two hours of downtime each month, it would make sense to invest in services and systems to prevent even one of those hours of downtime!

That’s why it’s vital to take a look at your technology. Downtime issues are not a monthly cost necessarily, but an ongoing unpredictable cost. If your network is properly managed, you can reduce downtime dramatically, and have an improved system in place that addresses unexpected issues much faster.

Modern technology provides cost-effective ways to protect businesses from downtime, even after a disaster. Data and images should be backed up onsite or in the cloud. In the case of an emergency, use this data to restore core functions back to your organization.

The cost to deliver such services and business continuity systems, over a period of time, are consistently less than the costs of reacting to problems. The old adage is still true: It’s better to prevent problems, than to cure them.

Clare Computer Solutions can help your business set up systems and procedures in your IT infrastructure to reduce downtime, and quickly recover from any disruptive event.

It all starts with a conversation – contact Clare Computer Solutions to get started!