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Ten-Minute Guide To Network Security

The Internet can be a dangerous place, full of viruses, worms and hackers bent on doing harm to your network. "Security first" has become a kind of mantra for IT professionals and CIOs, while regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley have made network protection as much a question of legal responsibility as good business sense.

But between upgrading the local area network (LAN) to Gigabit Ethernet, deploying voice over IP (VoIP), putting out network fires and making sure everything runs smoothly, many IT managers are already stretched to the limit. Security can be a complex, expensive and time-consuming business.

Nevertheless, every great journey begins with a single step, and even if you only have ten minutes to devote to the project, you can still use that time to get the security ball rolling. "I think the key is not to think about securing your network in ten minutes," says Jason Hilling, Director of Managed Security Services Product Management at Internet Security Systems, "but to get the whole process started in those ten minutes."

So if you've got free ten minutes, here's what to do --- follow our ten-minute guide to network security.

Evaluate your security policy: Every organization needs some kind of security policy, but it is often surprising how many do not. The problem, of course, is that network security is often perceived as a technological problem that you can throw money and gadgets at to make better. If things were that simple, then worms and hackers would be a thing of the past.