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network Archives - Simpatico Systems | Technology Solutions Dallas and Lubbock

How to secure your IoT devices

By | Hardware, Managed Service, Managed Technology, MSP, Security

More firms are using the Internet of Things (IoT) to create new business opportunities. For instance, companies that install smart sensors can automate data entry and monitor their inventory. However, if left unsecured, IoT devices also give hackers an opportunity to breach your network. In order to keep attackers at bay, we advise you take the following precautions with your IoT devices.

SET PASSWORDS

Many often forget they can set passwords for IoT devices. When this happens, they tend to leave their gadgets with default passwords, essentially leaving the door open for hackers. Make sure to set new and strong passwords — preferably with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols — for each device connected to your network. Then, use a password manager to securely keep track of all your passwords.

Disable Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)

UPnP is designed to help IoT gadgets discover other network devices. However, hackers can also exploit this feature to find and connect to your IoT devices. To prevent them from getting to your network, it’s best to disable this feature completely.

Create a separate network

When you’re dealing with IoT devices, it’s wise to quarantine them in a separate network unconnected to your main office network. By doing this, user gadgets will still have access to the internet but won’t be able to access mission-critical files.

You should also consider investing in device access management tools. These allow you to control which devices can access what data, and prevent unauthorized access.

Update your firmware

If you want to keep your devices secure against the latest attacks, then you need to keep your IoT software up to date. Security researchers are always releasing security patches for the most recent vulnerabilities, so make it a habit to regularly check for and install IoT firmware updates. If you have several gadgets to secure, use patch management software to automate patch distribution and set a schedule to check for updates monthly.

Unplug it

Disconnecting your IoT devices from the internet (or turning them off completely) whenever you don’t need them significantly reduces how vulnerable you are to an attack. Think about it, if there’s nothing to target, hackers won’t be able to make their move. Turning your IoT devices on and off again may not seem like the most convenient strategy, but it does deny unauthorized access to your router.

Unfortunately, as IoT devices become more commonplace in homes and offices, more hackers will develop more cunning ways to exploit them. Getting into the above mentioned security habits can protect you from a wide variety of IoT attacks, but if you really need to beef up your security, then contact Simpatico Systems today at 855.476.6347. We have robust security solutions that keep your hardware safe.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Bandwidth – What is it, what does it do and why do I need more of it!

By | Business, Google, Managed Service, Managed Technology, MSP, Security, Uncategorized, Web & Cloud
Post by:  Fabienne McGeever

Bandwidth refers to the amount of information that something, like a connection to the internet, can handle in a given time.  Bandwidth calculations consider both theoretical ratings and actual throughput.  It also measures speed for what is being sent out (upstream) and what is being brought in (downstream), explained today as up and down, from each workstation.  Both up and down have a separate and unique speed measurement.  Typical scenarios that are especially sensitive and are noticed around a networked company and is felt throughout include issues like:

  • time to establish a new connection
  • time to load a Web page, and basic browsing
  • time to download an app, patch, or other files
  • ability to stream video content for long periods uninterrupted
  • Processing day to day functions in your specific software package including systems software and application software. Systems software includes the programs that are dedicated to managing the computer itself.  Application software includes personal and business that keep employees and your company running).

Let’s use an analogy to help make bandwidth clearer. In this example, the bandwidth is the number of tables in a restaurant, and web traffic is diners. The math is simple: The more tables in the restaurant, the more patrons can dine there at any one time.  The service however will be affected when there is an overabundance of patrons and not enough service, or a particular patron is over demanding; insistent that he deserves more attention.

Network connections each possess a bandwidth rating according to the maximum data rate it is physically capable of supporting.  Examples are:  wired, WiFi, DSL, (VPN) Virtual Personal Network, (RDP) Remote Desktop Protocol and Ethernet connections are examples.  Fast Ethernet or Higher level network protocols like (IP) Internet Protocol use links at 100 Mbps (megabits per second).  Each of these connections have a distinctive speed rating.  All networks can easily be extended to link entire businesses or office buildings using network bridge devices.  Being cognizant of what ports, switches, routers, tunnels and adapters are also important, but that’s another article!  These devices do play a part in a networks performance.  In the IT world, this can explain why things are not working the way or as fast as you are expecting.  Whether proactive, reactive or both, maintenance is king!  Equipment makes a huge difference and letting your hardware become obsolete is never a good idea.

So how much bandwidth does one need?  Internet usage doubles every 12 months. If you need 10Mbps of bandwidth service right now, next year you’ll probably need 20Mbps.  Businesses need 100Mbps per 1,000 users or 100Kbps (kilobits per second) per user.  Mbps is over 1000 times faster than 1.0 Kbps. Reports project users will require 1Gbps per 1,000 seats or 1Mbps per user.  There are only a few things to consider in purchasing bandwidth through your (ISP) Internet Service Provider.  Who is using the Internet, what are they using the Internet for and when are users actually using it.  Unfortunately, traffic is not a steady trickle of bytes it comes in bursts.  Cost and availability from your provider both limit the bandwidth provisioned to you.  Your ISP will let you know what is available in your area.  Even more important is how your internal network bandwidth is allocated throughout the building.  Throttling is recommended to help prioritize who needs what and how much.  If a few are utilizing all the bandwidth, you can evaluate the necessity and make a business decision to control or purchase more bandwidth and/or put parameters in place for bandwidth distribution.  Setting up this regulator lets you know who is monopolizing your bandwidth.  This doesn’t preclude your ISP throttling you. They may be allowing full speed traffic to benchmarking sites while artificially squeezing anything else to slower speeds.  “Unmetered bandwidth” is also an option; however, unmetered means a hosting plan with unmetered traffic… But unmetered does not mean unlimited.   Unmetered hosting plans are often very limited in the amount of data you can send and receive.  Data is often transferred between your servers and the public web at a lower speed.  Some easy, low cost fixes to increase your speed might include just changing up your web browser, updating your operating system, changing out hardware like your network card, RAM and of course making sure your network is secure!

Fiber optic cable is now replacing copper cable, raising the standard in broadband speeds  from the world of megabit into gigabit speeds .  Your network condition is directly related to production and plays a critical role in the success and growth of your business.

Simpatico Systems, LLC is able to perform a network assessment and advise you on how to get your network in the best condition, in addition to being compliant for best practices and performance.  Call us today – 855.476.6347 opt 1.

About the Author: Fabienne McGeever is a middle child/twin in a family of ten children.  She gained the unique perspective to see both sides and get along with most. She loves snow skiing, the beach “in any form,” and glamping. Fabienne lives in Santa Clarita, CA and serves as a Corporate Admin/Client Relations Liaison for Simpatico Systems.  Contact her directly:  fabienne.mcgeever@simpat.co