Keeping the Bad Guys Out of your Computer

by Tony Rushin

aala10-istock_3d-network-medium-11In my August 1st blog I wrote that to get and stay healthy – as a computer – there isn’t just 1 thing we need to do.  There are 3 areas to pay attention to on a consistent basis: infrastructure, antivirus software and updates.

For infrastructure – specifically infrastructure that helps with security – I will focus on 3 key components: Firewall, Spam Filter and Switch/Router.

Tip #1: Make sure your infrastructure is from a market-leading company – #1, #2 or #3 in their space.  At any given time there might be a more technically elegant or cheaper solution available.  However, going with a market leader increases your chances of getting good performance, consistent and timely updates and good customer/technical support when you need it (and when you need it… this is critical).

Tip #2: Get a hardware firewall that is separate from your server, router or switch.  Having a separate firewall helps you isolate, troubleshoot and fix problems faster.

Tip #3: Getting a firewall-as-a-service is a fine idea; just don’t get it from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or telecom company.  Firewalls from ISP’s or phone companies tend to have weak functionality.  In addition, it can be tougher to isolate and troubleshoot (see tip #2) and could lead to delays due to finger-pointing.

Tip #4: Get a spam filter or spam filtering service that has a management portal.  This helps your IT support person “tune” the filter, recover email from the filter and isolate email problems (is it on your end or on the senders end?)

Tip #5: Design your network so your switches/routers support separate groups (for instance, different wings of a floor or different floors of a building) and can provide some redundancy in case one of them fails.  This helps with performance and isolation/troubleshooting.  Remember, in the big scheme of things, hardware is cheap compared to the cost of downtime and the service bill to fix an emergency problem.

Tip #6: Specifically for Wireless Routers – upgrade to WPA2 if you haven’t already.

In my next blog I’ll provide tips for antivirus software.

Remember, the bad guys are always working to steal your sensitive information so “let’s be careful out there”!

This is the 10th of 23 blogs I’m writing to celebrate the Atlanta Association of Legal Administrators’ 23rd annual Business Partner Expo.  This year the Business Partner Expo will be held from 3:00 – 6:30 pm on August 17th at the Cobb Galleria.  Over 150 legal administrators and their guests are expected to be on hand learning about the latest technologies, finding solutions to business issues, uncovering emerging trends and developing valuable partnerships to help their law firms.  Already an AALA member?  I’ll see you there!  Not an AALA member?  Give me a call at 404.943.0800 x133 to discuss how you might be able to attend as a guest!

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