With everything becoming interconnected online, network security is going to be a continuing concern for businesses. Sales or field agents may need to connect their personal devices to their office networks, internal business applications may need to connect to programs belonging to external vendors, and users within an organization will require continuous access to the internet in order to perform their tasks.
Network Security Best Practices
As business processes increasingly require more users, devices, and networks to become integrated, network security best practices also become ever more relevant. Here are a few of them that you may want to consider implementing in your workplace.
1. Control access
Each of your staff members will need access to your workplace network in order to perform their daily duties. However, don’t provide access to just anyone, and strictly control and monitor what each user has access to. Users’ access should be limited only to the systems that they need to do their work. Create and maintain an acceptable use policy, which will greatly help your company in the creation of access rules and in assigning the correct user roles to your staff.
2. Maintain security patches
Software and operating systems are most safe to use if they are constantly updated. This is because hackers and viruses constantly evolve, just waiting to exploit the vulnerabilities in your system. Having an outdated security portfolio can be disastrous, so make sure to implement security patches to address these weaknesses.
3. Educate users on security
Train your users on cyber security, and make them aware of the IT security policies of your company. Fancy security systems and procedures can be negated if users unknowingly introduce malware or suspicious applications into their workstations or devices that connect to the work network. Make them aware of social engineering attacks, and emphasize the importance of not giving anyone their login information or personal details. Such information can be used by attackers to access your network.
4. Monitor user activities
While the best defense against cyber attacks is prevention, it is no longer enough. The preventive security software may not have been updated, a user may have installed a malware, a user account may have been compromised, or the system itself may have a weak perimeter and east-west traffic security posture. Attackers can access the systems and steal data or damage them.
In order to discover vulnerabilities and breaches, companies can use network-based attack detection tools that deal with targeted attacks, internal abuse, and malicious software. Such technologies will help you monitor attacker and device activities and report deviations from expected behavior.
5. Comply with industry standards
Depending on the type of business you are in, you may be required or recommended to comply with specific industry standards like PCI DDS and ISO, or legislations like HIPAA and HITECH. Being compliant with these standards’ guidelines and regulations helps you check for and correct vulnerabilities in your network.
6. Have a security incident plan
No one wants a security incident. Not only does it disrupt the workplace, it could also expose your business to liability claims, especially if your clients’ data are stolen. Having a guideline on what to do in the event of such security incidents will help you in taking the necessary remediation measures swiftly and effectively.
Having a well-thought-out network security plan in place can help protect your business from the potentially serious consequences of security breaches, data theft, and data loss. With productivity and financial losses as well as legal claims being very real threats to your organization, you simply can’t afford to have your network security compromised. Shore up your defenses today.