Network Security Best Practices

December 9, 2022

The current era of working digitally is that of an integrated, multicultural, multi-technology, scalable world of applications and services accessed locally or remotely. With the benefit of digital freedom, comes the risk of digital theft. Hence it becomes critical that we develop a comprehensive security practice to de-risk ourselves. With advanced technology and super high computing power available on both ends of the fence, digital experts with malicious intent are adopting sophisticated ways to penetrate or infiltrate the security of enterprises these days.

While enterprises are usually protective of their core computing infrastructure, centralized applications and databases, it is also important that security officers consider adequate protection for the endpoints.

Unsuspecting employees and their computing habits are the most vulnerable factor in major security breaches. Enhancing end-user security, and educating the workforce about cybersecurity is more important than ever. Enterprises should seriously evaluate SASE and ZTNA solutions more aggressively to minimize the  vulnerable attack surface.

The pandemic led to a drastic increase in remote-work options. In the heat of the moment, the key aspects of data integrity and security were largely overlooked and a lot of companies faced multiple challenges to address security risks related to remote access. 

There are a considerable number of solutions related to remote access one can consider - DNS Security, DLP (Data Loss/Leakage Prevention), VPN (Client-based or Clientless), MFA (Multifactor Authentication), E-Mail Security, Single Sign-On and Network Access Control solutions, etc.

Enterprises that haven’t yet embraced these solutions may evaluate these security offerings depending on their business needs and budget.

Here are some generalized and recommended security best practices that one should consider while evaluating Network Security Solutions –

  1. Understand the business needs and security compliance for the different business verticals
  2. Keep in mind that the security requirements for a Campus Network and a Data Centre (DC) are different. Accordingly, evaluate the right solutions separately for each of these areas.
  3. Focus on the logging and monitoring capability of the security solution. Ensure that a clear SOP is designed, enforced and followed for continuous scrutiny.
  4. Don’t forget to segment your network. Based on the desired data security requirement, access rights requirements, business process requirements etc, segment your network into separate zones requiring similar security policies.
  5. Review and revisit network security policies periodically. A policy set once is not good enough. Changes are bound to happen. Hence, validating the applied policies and confirming that new vulnerabilities have not crept up is very critical.
  6. Security maintenance should be planned quarterly or half yearly. Ensure that your security devices and software are properly patched and up to date. A quarterly routine is better than a half yearly one. 
  7. Perform comprehensive network assessment activity. Your network is not a stagnant piece of hardware. Treat it like a living dynamic ecosystem. At least once a year or perhaps twice, studying the network for its performance, utilization levels, traffic patterns etc must be mandated.
  8. Plan health status check and VAPT (vulnerability assessment and penetration testing) activities on network devices quarterly or semi-annually. This could be a time-consuming and expensive activity, but no amount of precaution is ever enough for the security of sensitive data.
  9. Consider WiFi security while planning and evaluating security solutions. Many times, it is assumed that your network policies will simply get extended automatically to the WiFi access ecosystem. Do not assume this. The security solution that you are deploying must have the ability to consider your WiFi network separately.
  10. Plan network audit for cloud and on-premise infrastructure periodically. Since most businesses have both on-premise infrastructure as well as cloud infrastructure, both need to be audited independently as well as jointly. Especially the interface between the on-premise and the cloud  systems is the most critical to protect.

Finally, whatever security solution you implement in your network it will never be 100% full proof. So the best approach is to proactively do an assessment, review everything and focus on optimizing the deployed network security solution by either tweaking its parameters or adding more layers to it. 

If you would like to learn more about how you can further strengthen your organization’s network security, our experts at SK International are happy to assist you.

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