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• Microsoft Vista Home Networking Setup and Options
The most daunting part of upgrading to Windows Vista may be trying to figure out where in the layers of menus the networking and file-sharing options are hidden.

• Do It Yourself: Roll Your Own Network Cables
It may not be something you do everyday, but having the supplies and know-how to whip up a network cable on the spot can be very handy.

• Tips for Securing Your Home Router
Seemingly minor and easily overlooked settings can still have profound security implications. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your wired or wireless home router and by extension, your network is as secure as possible.

  Most Popular Reviews

• Microsoft Windows Home Server
If you have a home network, you'll welcome the easy file sharing, remote access and the image-based backup features of Windows Home Server.

• Iomega StorCenter Network Hard Drive
Iomega's fourth generation StorCenter Network Hard Drive brings many of the features found in higher-end storage devices down to an attractive price.

• MikroTik's The Dude
This free tool delivers many of the same capabilities that you'd find in pricey network monitoring tools. As long as you don't mind tinkering, The Dude is a decent network utility that should be worth the download.

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Run a tight ship! 

Once you've allowed access to your server through your firewall or proxy server, you need to carefully configure the computer running the service.  Although the serving computer isn't entirely exposed to the Internet, even one port can be all that a good cracker needs to mess with your data and network.  If you think of your server as being directly connected to the Internet, you'll have the right mindset toward properly locking it down. 

The server computer should be locked up tight and watched closely.  Here's a list of ToDo's:

  1. Run only the services that you need to run and don't run anything that you don't understand the purpose of.

  2. Have strong password protection on any administration interfaces or access control login screens.  This is the easiest, yet most often overlooked protection against getting broken into.

  3. Share only the data you need to share.  Yes, sharing your entire hard drive is quick and easy and anyone who breaks into your system will be glad you did!  If you must share an entire drive, then create a separate drive partition, put the files you want to share there, and share that drive, not your main drive!

  4. Be careful with File and Printer Sharing. Turn it on when you need to update the server and off otherwise.  It that's not practical, at least unbind it from TCP/IP and bind it to NetBEUI or IPX/SPX (see this page).

  5. Back up the at least the server's data files regularly and periodically back up the entire machine.

  6. Enable logging on any services and review the logs on a regular basis for any suspicious activity.

  7. Run good, current version, anti-virus software and update the virus data files regularly.

There are entire Web sites devoted to security (some of which are listed here), so we've just put a tiny scratch in the surface of the subject.  But if you use the above information correctly, you should be able to serve safely! Earthweb HardwareCentral earthwebdeveloper CrossNodes Datamation

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