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By: Paul Fleming

With computers being a critical component in running a business, it is more valuable than ever to ensure the security of your networks particularly where there is sensitive data. News headlines announcing that networks have experienced security breaches are all too prevalent. This is where you need a service that checks for those vulnerabilities and prevents from future attacks. Better yet, you need a service that prevents it before it ever happens to your company. Imagine the embarrassment at having to explain to your customers that someone has stolen their credit card information.

We continue to read headline after headline with news stories that credit card information or social security numbers were exploited. Some companies perform security audits on a regular basis. Certainly institutions like hospitals are required to perform these. But it's mostly small to mid-sized companies that are the most vulnerable.

Hackers employ various methods for gaining access to systems. An audit often looks at replicating those methods, looking for vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the infrastructure. Affectionately known as Penetration Testing, it involves isolating mild, moderate and critical security threats and then determining the best course of action. When performing a Penetration test, a couple of key areas need to be targeted to ensure that a secure network system helps companies to avoid: - Preventing financial loss through fraud (hackers, extortionists and disgruntled employees) or through lost revenue due to unreliable business systems and processes. - Legal problems. Non-compliance can result in your organization losing business, receiving heavy fines, gathering bad PR or ultimately failing. At a personal level it can also mean the loss of your job, prosecution and sometimes even imprisonment. Poorly protecting your brand by avoiding loss of consumer confidence and business reputation.

From an operational perspective, penetration testing helps shape information security strategy through identifying vulnerabilities and quantifying their impact and likelihood so that they can be managed proactively; budgets can be allocated and corrective measures implemented.

For the average home user, there are some basic things, especially when setting up a wireless network at home that you can easily do to prevent users piggybacking on your network or even hacking in to it.

Add a little security

Change the SSID (name) of your network and disable the SSID broadcast. Disable DHCP Control MAC Address Filtering

Add more security

WEP Encrypt - adds an extra blocking mechanism for hackers

Even more Security

WPA - setting up a random pre-shared key of 10 characters ensures your network is practically rock-solid. This is a random string of numbers and letters, just make sure you can remember it yourself.

These are some very basic steps to securing your data and ensuring your privacy. Keep in mind that small to medium business should do a little more to keep their information secure as there is even more valuable data ie. other people's.

Article Source: http://www.superfeature.com

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