Securing Your Home Network: A Series of Articles
When it comes to maintaining a secure network in the age of remote work, follow these three key steps and you'll be on your way.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we are going to show you how you can ensure your home network is as secure as an enterprise network and at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, it doesn't have to just be a home network. You can also use these tips for your small or medium sized businesses. Believe it or not, we've seen some larger organizations that can benefit from the principles we will be outlining below.
When it comes to maintaining a secure network in the age of remote work, follow these three key steps and you'll be on your way to a very secure network.
Step 1 - Use a business grade router or firewall on your home or small business network
This recommendation might feel daunting or on the edge of "impractical" for some. But don't worry, we'll help you through it. And it's not as expensive as it sounds. It can be as basic or as complex as you want it to be. The key is to position your network so that you have the flexibility to address a complex world of threats coming from the internet.
The bottom line is, that while the "routers" you get from your internet service provider (ISP) are simple and get you up and running, they do very little for ensuring your network is secure from today's attacks. Think about the rise of "Work From Home Environments." The work that was once done behind the "secure" confines of business and enterprise network infrastructure, is now out in the wild, ready to be exploited through the woefully insecure world of ISP provided equipment. Equipment designed to make their life easier, while leaving you exposed to the elements of an unforgiving "Information Super Highway." It's definitely a Super-Highway, right into the intimate details of all your personal information, bank accounts, and livestream of your kitchen table. Reminds me of quote. The reason businesses use business grade firewalls, is because the attacks are usually happening where the people are doing their work. Now that working from home is more prevalent, the need for a more secure home network is essential.
There are quite a few options on the market and depending on your budget, you can spend anywhere between $100 to $1000's. Or...you can use an old computer you have lying around the house. and install one of the most capable open source Firewall Applications we've ever run into. Not only is it feature rich, but it comes standard with capabilities that you have to pay for on a yearly with other Firewall vendors.
So buckle up and follow us here for a detailed, step by step guide on implementing your very own Enterprise Grade Network Firewall.
Step 2 - Separate your Wi-Fi from the rest of your network (Coming Soon)
Separate your wifi network from your wired network. I know this sounds complex, but here's why you want to do this. When you connect your devices to a wifi network, that information, e.g., your wifi password, is now known and can be shared way too easily by your devices. This opens up the rest of your network to potential vulnerability.
Most wifi routers have a "Guest" network feature that does this by default. The simplest way to implement this recommendation is to turn off your internal wifi network and only use the guest network. This will ensure that your private network is protected against your wifi being compromised.
Step 3 - Use a Secure Domain Name Service (DNS) (Coming Soon)
DNS, which stands for Domain Name Server, is one of the keys to easily traversing the internet. It's the service that tells your computer how to get to your favorite blog, social media app, or pretty much anywhere on the internet, including malicious sites. To help protect you from inadvertently getting tricked into browsing to a site that downloads a malicious application causing your computer, network, or business to become compromised, use a secure DNS service that filters out the bad stuff.
The way this works is when you click on a link or try to go to a site that is potentially, or known to be, malicious, the DNS service will check that url against a database of known bad sites, and either block your computer from getting there, or it will provide a warning telling you that it is potentially bad and asking you if you really want to proceed. This type of service is essential to keeping you and everyone on your network secure.
These three major steps are not the only things you should be doing to secure your network. For example, making sure your devices are updated, that you have a good secure Endpoint Antivirus on all your machines, and that your network is properly configured to avoid leaving large holes open in the network are also very important. But when it comes to the essentials, these are things that should not be skipped.
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Nate is the Founder and CEO of Stapel, LLC