How to Protect Your Computer Network – Lesson #1 – Understanding the Threat

The title gets your attention but it really is so important to know the answer. Cyberattacks are a reality these days to nations, businesses, non-profits, and individuals; we are all targets. The days of burying your head in the digital sand when it comes to securing your network are over. I hear again and again how some organizations justify their lack of IT investment on the foundation “No hacker is going to single my company out.” We are all targets the programs these hackers write automate the process of going after all organizations with inadequate network security. They will come probing every known vulnerability they have been programmed to exploit, and they will steal or hijack your data and ransom it back to you.

Case in point. WannaCry, a form of ransomware released in May of 2017, was the largest single infection to date. It infected over 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. And since then, there have been many variants that have brought down parts of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, private businesses like Maersk, and tens of thousands of small organizations around the globe. And none of them were specifically targeted.

So how do these programs running around the globe infect so many networks. Quite frankly, it is because the network security at these organizations was not complete. Now, in their defense, nothing is 100%. But, so many of these compromises that happen were not that difficult to prevent. But too many organizations, and yes – even the big ones, do not do what is necessary to protect their networks. A football team cannot reach greatness if it doesn’t master blocking and tackling first. A network cannot be secure unless you layer in your security with multiple defenses. Layered Security is the blocking and tackling of the Cyber Defense world.

The tools that hackers develop come at us from so many directions. Email has and will continue as an effective tool for them. You have all seen that email before letting you know your package being delivered has a problem and just “click here” to make sure you get it in time for Christmas. Yeah, that one. Or they will come in through the remote access systems you have in place for staff that work from home sometimes. Or by a compromised website a staff member accessed while searching for non-business related items during work. And the list goes on and on.

Over the course of this series, I will take the time to walk you through Layered Security. Stay with me through this. A lot is riding you on making sure your organization is secure. Layered Security is a system good IT Companies offer their clients to protect them from the outside world. Layered Security is not overly expensive, not that complicated to deploy, but probably one of the most important things your business should implement now that we are fully into the digital age.

Over the coming articles, I will talk about the layers in Layered Security like Firewalls, Antivirus Software, Content Filtering, Backup strategies, Remote Access, User Education, and more. And if you could, leave me feedback on the value you are getting from these articles. Ask questions, make comments, and overall, just engage. You can find me on your favorite social network. All boats rise the more we all exchange ideas and share best practices. Take care everyone,

Cohen Barnes

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