Ten-Minute Guide To Network Security - InformationWeek

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8/29/2005
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Ten-Minute Guide To Network Security

Keeping your network secure is a time-consuming job. But it needn't be that tough --- for help, follow our ten-minute guide to get you started on keeping your network safe.

Patch management: "Once you have the process in place to identify vulnerabilities, you then have to ask how you are going to patch them," Hilling says. "Patching can be the most important thing you can do."

As with everything else, this can be an involved process, but Hilling points out that it takes second to decide to implement a patching strategy and another minute to delegate someone to oversee it. "Patching is something that organizations can easily fall behind on," Hilling says. "Someone has to be responsible to see that that doesn't happen."

Get informed: The best way to stay on top of security vulnerabilities, of course, is to make sure you know about them before they bit you in the tender parts. That means taking the time to scan the latest warnings and maybe even reading your favorite networking or security websites over coffee. It doesn't take long to stay informed once you are informed but, as with everything else, you have to take the time to start the process.

"There are a lot of solutions that can bring security intelligence to you," Hilling says. "If you don't have the time to address security yourself, any good managed service provider will deliver intelligence to its customers about what's out there."

Go shopping: Even if security is not strictly a technology issue, you need technology to secure your network. It's probably not a good idea to drop $10,000 on intrusion prevention systems and firewalls in ten minutes -- and the board of directors would have your head if you did -- but it only takes a few minutes to see what what's out there.

Think of it as security window shopping, but take the time to think about what you need and how you will deploy it. "You need to look at security technologies from three levels," Hilling says. "First, what do I need to do to protect the network as a whole, secondly, what do I need to protect my servers. Finally, how will security impact my end users."

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