Remember this commercial by Adee Plumbing and Heating with the ghostly voice-over that proclaims: “who knows what danger lurks in your plumbing?” An older gentleman (presumably “Adee” himself) walks onto the set and looks around at the studio sky facade. He calmly wags a finger at the camera and with an all-knowing grin responds, “Adee-doo.” The ghost-voice asks a few more questions, all conveniently ending with something that rhymes with “do,” to which, of course, Adee neither blinks nor feigns concern when he responds, “Adee-doo!”
I learned at least two things from this commercial. First, I learned that if I want people to never forget what I say, I need to rhyme! Second, I learned that probably anything from rust to grime to mutant species could be wedged and growing within my plumbing at any given moment. The latter was clearly a subtle fear-tactic imposed upon me and the rest of America by Adee and his ghostly friend. In the end, though, I believe Adee was at least right about the fact that the common-person with no time to fully examine their plumbing really can’t “know what danger lurks” in it.
Computer viruses, malware, and rogue software are the potential “grime and mutant species” able to come into the “plumbing” of your business’ network (you can trust me on that one — please don’t make me come up with a rhyme to convince you!). But instead of only telling you that we at Rezitech simply know what danger your business’s network is in, we want to give you four critical steps that YOU can take to ensure your business’s network is safe and secure.
1. Change the default firewall password
This may sound like a no-brainer, but, more often than not, the firewall’s default password (something like “12345” or “admin”) is never changed. This leaves your office, network, and sensitive files and data open and vulnerable to anyone with even the slightest bit of technical know-how. Remember back to the last time you had the internet installed at your business or home. Did you think to secure it with a password that only you could know? The Bank of Montreal didn’t think to change the default password on their ATM machines and the world laughed at them. Take the right step and change the default password.
2. Block all unnecessary traffic
A firewall’s primary function is to intelligently stop data that shouldn’t pass through, while seamlessly allowing all the “right” data to pass through unscathed. Just like your office has walls and doors to block access and allow access at the right places, you should set up “walls” in your firewall for what can and can’t get onto your network. Think of it like building a structure. Closed-off walls not only help with structural integrity, they also provide safety from the elements. Rain, snow, wind, etc. are unable to infiltrate a sound structure. Create your network with walls first, and then decide where you want to put in doors, windows, and other passageways for traffic to come into your network.
3. Regulate and guarantee where your bandwidth is used through “traffic shaping.”
Traffic shaping is a network management technique that determines exactly how much bandwidth specific users are allowed to consume while using the internet. Without some form of traffic shaping, one person in the office could potentially be dominating the network connection, resulting in decreased productivity for everyone else. Configure your firewall to act like a very smart traffic signal instead of the bumper-to-bumber Orange Crush Interchange.
4. Always back it up!
This one may also seem like a no-brainer, but everybody has either experienced or heard of someone else’s horror story of a hard-drive suddenly crashing. Today, most businesses operate online. If the firewall suddenly breaks or needs to be reset at your business, how can you ensure that your employees will be able to resume working quickly? If your firewall breaks, needs to be replaced, or simply needs to be reset, reconfiguring it can take hours (assuming you can remember how it was configured to begin with). The solution is to always maintain a recent backup so you can bring your business back online quickly and reliably.
Unlike the ominous advertising slogan of Adee Plumbing and Heating, Rezitech wants you to know not only what dangers threatens the safety of your network, but how to implement safeguards against them. Among many other things, we are experts in network reliability and security, so if you’re wanting a little peace of mind, give us a call. We’d love to perform a free assessment of your office’s current firewall.
For all whose routers and gateways we already manage, never fear. We have already implemented the above steps for you, and to top it off, we regularly maintain them. As leaders within office IT management you can rest assured that you’ll never have to worry about “bad plumbing.”