In the IT world, everything changes very rapidly. Two of the fastest changing and hardest to keep up with are viruses and hackers. Hackers are always out there, trying to find a new way to make you have a bad day. Why? I don’t know. I’ve never understood it. You work hard, trying to grow your business – improving your products every day, reaching out to new customers – while some jerk with nothing better to do is trying to tear it down. Maybe it’s an Ethos thing, or maybe just jealousy; they can’t build anything productive, so they have to break something that someone else worked hard to create. But I digress…
What We Can Do About It
Protecting your network starts with a firewall. It is your first line of defense against attackers. A firewall is most often a piece of hardware (like a Cisco ASA) that sits at the edge of your network, and is configured to only allow specific types of communication into your network. It also separates the good traffic from the bad traffic. Next is a web filter, like a Barracuda. The web filter monitors internet traffic going in and out of your network. It can be configured to block hazardous websites, and known types of dangerous programs. It can even be setup to only allow specific users access to the internet. Next is your anti-virus. Anti-virus is a program that runs on your PC and servers. It has to be manually installed on every device on your network, and is usually centrally controlled by a server. The anti-virus server can be setup on- or off-site, depending on your needs and the size of your network.
Do I really need all three?
Yes. Think of it this way: If a hacker is like an arsonist, the firewall is the security guard outside the door, the web filter is a locked door, and anti-virus programs are the fire suppression and mop-up crew. Although you may have anti-virus already, you are just putting out fires after they have already been started. To really protect your network, you need the security guard – and the locked door.
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