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When a Computer Virus Infects a Remote Network

What happens when, no matter how careful you are, a large-scale virus hits your network? Computer security is one of the most important things you can focus on in any business, but even the best security can get compromised. Just as important as knowing how to prevent computer viruses is knowing what you can do when your network becomes infected. With remote networking, where many different devices can be affected, this becomes even more important.

Unique Challenges Facing Remote Networks

The difference in handling a virus between a normal business network and a remote network is the fact that there are many other devices and connections to think about. If you allow employees to network using their own devices, some of them might not be under your control at all. This means that even if you manage to purge the virus fr om your network, you still have to account for the possibility that it might be lurking on a remote machine, ready to re-infect your business. If your business is small enough, you can work around this problem by asking all users to bring their devices in to make sure they are clean. If that isn’t possible, you’ll need to consider other workarounds to make sure you’re safe.

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How Does Heartbleed Affect your Business Network?

The Heartbleed virus has struck websites across the world and put people's online security at risk. While the phenomenon has created a mass panic, there are still a lot of people who don't know what Heartbleed is or how it might affect them. Here's a quick description of what the virus does, how it might affect your network, and what you can do to make sure your business network remains as safe as possible with a minimum of risk moving forward.

What is Heartbleed?

The Heartbleed virus is an exploit that can affect any website or program using OpenSSL cryptography. The program targets the Transport Layer Security, or TLS, protocol. The virus gets its name fr om the fact that it targets the heartbeat extension. The heartbeat extension is a periodic signal sent to the server sent every few seconds to indicate that the user or connected computer is still there. If the heartbeat isn't received, the machine assumes that the connection has failed. By piggybacking onto this protocol, Heartbleed manages to slip in undetected and then transmits personal data, particularly passwords, to the user who sent the virus. This represents a major security breach for many networks.

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Evaluating your Cloud Security

So you’ve made the move to cloud computing, but you’re hearing all sorts of rumbles about security issues. What do you do? Because cloud storage involves making access to the information you’re storing easier for employees on the goal and because most people who use cloud computing go through a third-party managed services provider, there is always a concern about data security. To make sure your information is secure, follow these tips when getting onto the cloud.

Create an Evaluation System for your Assets

One common mistake that a lot of people make is placing all their assets on a cloud database or, even worse, making arbitrary decisions as to what gets ported over and what stays on in-house storage devices. The better way of handling this situation is to evaluate your data and place a value on what is absolutely needed and what information should remain carefully guarded for confidentiality reasons. This will allow you to port over the assets that you have a lower value on to cloud storage so you can save space on your business network while also making sure that those items that should absolutely remain under your control do so. It also gives you a guideline to follow in future storage decisions.

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Protecting your Network with a Business Continuity Plan

Where would your business be if disaster struck tomorrow? If the physical servers are destroyed in a fire or other disaster, how would you get your network back up and running? To protect your business in a worst-case scenario, you should have a Business Continuity Plan, or BCP for short. A BCP will make sure that you are prepared to reassemble your network and get things running again when other businesses would be crippled by a major disaster.

When you Might Use a BCP

A BCP is likely to come up in one of two situations. The first is in the case of a major natural disaster. Earthquakes, blackouts, hurricanes, and other issues can cause power surges and physical damage capable of crippling servers and erasing important data. The second is in the case of a particularly malicious attack fr om hackers, viruses, or other information-corrupting problems. Many companies come up with a BCP as a way to protect their physical resources, but backing up the data that makes up your network is just as important if not more so. Your goal in developing a BCP is to make sure that even in the case of a total network failure you will be able to carry on and return to normal quickly.

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Know Thy Enemy: Common Computer Viruses and how to Avoid Them

Nothing can cripple a network as thoroughly as a computer virus can. Having good firewall and virus protection software can help prevent your network from picking up these viruses, but it also helps to know more about the dangers out there. If you can recognize the behavior of specific types of viruses, that can help you avoid more dangers and find a cure faster in the unfortunate case that you wind up with this type of malware on your computer.

Identifying Trojan Viruses

Perhaps the most common type of virus on the Internet is the Trojan virus. Like the legendary Trojan horse, this virus pretends to be something useful and desirable but is actually designed to either disrupt network processes or harvest information. Trojans can do any number of different things, including tracking keystrokes to gain access to passwords and personal information. These viruses used to be linked to illicit activities like illegal file sharing and pornography sites, but times have changed and they can now be found on reputable websites from time to time. Unfortunately, the only sure way to defeat a Trojan is to make sure it doesn’t infect your computer in the first place.

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5 Tips that will Boost your Network Security

How good is your network security? Many people assume that it’s fine because they haven’t had to deal with viruses or malicious attacks, but you might be more unprotected than you think. If you use remote utilities and require a functional network at all times, you should take the steps outlined below to protect yourself. Not only will this keep you safe from viruses, but it will also protect against other malicious attacks that might slow your network down.

1: Configure and Protect your Firewall

Having a good firewall is a must for any business, but you need to make sure that you configure it properly. Make sure that you test any and all software that will be used remotely via a remote gateway before you put it into practice. You should make sure to close off all ports that don’t need to be open in your firewall, but you also don’t want to accidentally block anybody who is legitimately using remote access. You should also make sure to password protect your firewall. Many people make the mistake of assuming that a firewall can’t be breached, but if you don’t add security to who can access it, you might find your first line of defense in network security taken over by hackers.

2: Keep your Firmware Updated

Typical routers used by small businesses usually go out of date within a year. Because of this, it’s a good idea to check for firmware updates to your router and firewall at least once a year, and preferably once every six months. You can check for updates by opening the router admin screen. Many products come with an even easier option to check for updates, which can be put right on your network administrator’s desktop. Each time you update the firmware, you should also make sure to check out the manufacturer’s website. Most router and firewall suppliers have a news section that can keep you up to date on all the latest developments and whether any security issues have been raised lately.

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