Secure Your Farm Network
Keep out hackers, viruses and other
| By Vicki Garrick |
Farm networks offer growers a way to perform tasks remotely. Turning on and off irrigation pumps and monitoring employees with a camera are examples of jobs that can be achieved with the click of the mouse from the comfort of the office.
If the farm network is connected to the Internet, a grower doesn’t even need to be physically on the farm to monitor and control any devices on the network. As more network-enabled gadgets evolve for agriculture, the benefits of having a globally accessible farm network will continue to grow, also.
Although global access offers clear benefits, it is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the security of the network, computers and data are not compromised by hackers, viruses or other destructive programs or files.
The farm network and its components are all valuable assets. Upfront planning and continued maintenance of these resources can stretch the life of your investment. The simple steps outlined here don’t cost a great deal of money or time, but can save you many headaches.
Vickie Garrick is IT Senior Manager for the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory (NESPAL) in Tifton, Ga. Contact Garrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help keep your network safe:
1. Purchase a router with an integrated firewall and gateway
for your network.
2. Take the time to configure your router.
3. Passwords need to be unique.
4. Tips on the setup of a wireless router include:
b. Setup encryption. Encryption scrambles communications over the Internet and is one of the most effective ways to secure your network from hackers. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and MAC (Media Access Control) filtering is better than not using anything. However, I suggest either WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2), which offers more protection. Once the router is configured, you will need to configure any laptops or desktops to connect to your secure wireless network.
c. Remember the more exclusive your passwords on any device, the harder it is for someone to breach your network.
d. Note: If you do not secure your wireless network, any unwelcome visitor with a wireless device can connect to your network, use your bandwidth and infect your computers.
5. Update your computers’ OS (Operating System) regularly.
6. Invest in Anti-Virus software and keep your subscriptions
7. Use caution opening files sent by Email.
8. Backup your data on a regular schedule.