A Five-Step Guide to Improving Network Security

A Five-Step Guide to Improving Network Security

Enterprise Networking Mag | Monday, January 16, 2023

Various initiatives are being taken to upgrade network security because it provides benefits such as ensuring data safety, protecting against cyberattacks, and analyzing behavior.

FREMONT, CA: As reports of potentially devastating network breaches make headlines and enter boardroom discussions, network security has become a top priority. Data theft or manipulation can have long-term negative effects on a business and its leadership. Keeping the network secure is essential to prevent threats.

A rigorous and consistent security strategy is required for enterprise networks that are highly distributed and virtualized. What can IT groups do to improve network security and reduce risk? Using these best practices, organizations can address security weaknesses and stay ahead of internal and external threats.

The first step is to identify connectivity vulnerabilities: The organization needs complete clarity on the infrastructure before IT can draw up a plan. This step examines the entire network starting with an end-to-end review of the network, including information about routers, switches, firewalls, cabling, computers, servers, and peripheral devices connected to them.

It is possible to visualize potential vulnerabilities in how devices are linked with the help of a topographic outline of the network infrastructure. Additionally, configuration data can reveal other potential areas of exposure, such as devices with manufacturer-issued passwords or out-of-date software. Consistent vulnerability assessments are also required by IT. Rather than using these audits as a proactive measure, they often align with compliance dates.

The second step is to review policies and educate end users: Even the best-designed security policies are useless if they are confined to a static document without being communicated to relevant staff and implemented. IT should review existing policies and update them as technology, topology, or staff changes dictate.

Communicate policy information frequently to staff. In order to improve network security, end users need to be educated on topics such as identifying phishing emails.

The third step is to fortify access points: Audits can reveal issues such as router configurations that allow traffic from virtually any source to access enterprise resources. In order to impede threats, IT must protect network entry points.

IT may have to set a policy that restricts the use of external devices that can be used to steal data or contaminate devices. It is common for organizations to require third-party partners and employees to access their network via a secure virtual private network. Traffic can also be segmented using virtual LANs.

Filter Media Access Control addresses in step 4: By authenticating devices accessing the network, Media Access Control (MAC) address filtering can be a useful first defense against unauthorized access. Routers can be configured to deflect traffic from addresses not on a whitelist by setting an authorized MAC address list.

The fifth step is to fill in the gaps with internal and external support: One of the most frequently cited obstacles to an effective network security strategy is the lack of IT security resources. Third-party support can be supplemented selectively with internal staff. The as-a-service model is becoming more common in network security software today, making it more economical and practical for businesses with tight budgets.

End users also provide additional support to IT staff, particularly with regard to policies and best practices. Engaging end users in policy education is necessary. Communication of best practices by users with the aptitude and interest can be an important resource for improving network security.

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