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Getting to Know the Different Network Security Strategies

Much of an organization’s uptime can be contributed to its network security strategy.

From reducing vulnerabilities across a threat landscape to streamlining incident response following a data breach with local and remote security teams, a network security strategy protects an organization’s livelihood. 

In addition to maintaining network security, network administrators are responsible for ensuring network performance remains optimal by managing, maintaining, and upgrading infrastructure on a regular basis, improving remote access capabilities, and deploying new security solutions

With so many angles to cover, developing a network security strategy is essential for establishing and maintaining information security and ensuring a secure network connection. 

To provide you with a better understanding of network security strategies and what should always be included, this article will cover: 

  • What is Network Security?
  • A Network Security Strategy Example
  • The Best Add-On Network Security Strategies
  • How to Strengthen Network Security With Executech’s Security Strategies

What is Network Security and Why is it Important?

Network security is defined as the processes, policies, and practices used to prevent, detect, and monitor network activities for anomalies, intrusions, breaches, and other threats.

Network security is important because, without adequate protection, our sensitive data would be accessible, exposed, and able to be manipulated by malicious cybercriminals. With more than 155 million records exposed annually on average in the United States, and businesses being the most targeted sector of data breaches, network security has never been more important.

 

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Network Security Strategy Example

When organizations research network security strategies there aren’t any particular strategies but rather a combination of interfolding security services, solutions, and strategies that are integrated into a single network security strategy

For instance, using security products such as antivirus software or multi-factor authentication (MFA) are considered network security strategies rather than add-ons. 

For a general framework, here’s an example of a network security strategy (and the base requirements it should cover).

 

Network Security Strategy Example
Criteria Why It’s Needed
Strategy Design In most cases, network security strategies are developed haphazardly which creates vulnerabilities.

Therefore, having a structure to follow is essential for ensuring maximum network security. 

For a more holistic approach, ensure your framework encompasses the following below.

Identify Network Assets In order for a network security strategy to be effective, it must identify all network assets (and the risks associated with those assets) across an infrastructure.

Common examples of network assets include:

  • Trade secrets
  • Network hosts
  • Intellectual property
  • Routers and switches
  • Network data that traverses the network
Analyze Security Risks The average data breach cost worldwide is $4.24 million, a rise of 17% from 2020 to 2021. 

For most businesses, that’s a risk they can’t afford to take.

That’s why after you’ve identified your network assets, it’s essential to identify endpoints, access points, and any infrastructure risks you may have.

For a more comprehensive analysis of your network, a managed service provider can conduct a risk assessment that will help help you identify your weak points while enabling you to benefit from:

  • Remediation steps
  • A more comprehensive network scan
  • Improved focus for growing your business
Craft a Security Plan As a high-level document essential to your organization’s security, uptime, and productivity, your network security plan needs to specify the following:

    • Network topology
  • Ex.: FTP, email, and web
  • Is specialized security personnel required?
  • How are end users and managers involved?
  • The resources, time, and talent it will take to sustain a new security architecture
  • How security training (and routine security training) for end users, managers, and staff will be managed and maintained
Develop Security Policies  Following the findings of your risk assessment, your IT leadership or technology provider should be able to help you create security policies and procedures. 

In most General Information Security Policies, businesses cover network-related risks by ensuring the following with network access are addressed:

    • VPNs
    • Social media
    • Mobile devices
    • Password protection
    • Process protection models
  • Ex.: SFA, 2FA, or MFA

Additionally, you need to ensure your network security policies align with the data compliance security frameworks relevant to your business. 

For instance, a healthcare provider based out of California would not only need to address and maintain HIPAA compliance but also ensure:

  • CCPA compliance
  • ePHI commitment
  • And more (potentially)
Testing & Incident Response  Every network security strategy needs to cover the course of actions following an incident. 

From knowing who is responsible, the processes, and the steps to follow, your incident response will define how your business bounces back following a cyber attack, breach, or disaster – so plan carefully.

It should be noted that no network security strategy is perfect as-is. In the world of IT and business, there are always risks involved while cyber threats continue to evolve, requiring us to do so too.

However, with network security strategies and proactive incident response measures in place, your risk as an organization can be significantly reduced. 

Maintaining Security Best Practices The most susceptible parts of an organization’s network security architecture are those that concern human-based elements. 

That’s why phishing attacks are the most common cyber attack vector. 

Therefore, embracing a company culture that prioritizes security-first, is essential and will help protect your network from:

  • Phishing
  • Social engineering attacks
  • Business email compromise (BEC)
  • Compromised devices with network access 
  • Malicious insider threats from an internal threat actor
  • And more

 

Additional Network Security Strategies

Now that you understand what embodies a strong network security strategy, let’s take a look at some other network security strategies you can integrate into your existing methodology:

Sandboxing 

Sandboxing is a network security strategy where you open files or run code in an isolated ecosystem, or sandbox, to prevent malicious threats from accessing your network. It is often used to scan for malware in files like: 

  • PDFs
  • Excel
  • PowerPoints
  • Word documents

Email Security

While most email providers offer built-in protection, it may not be enough to keep you safe. For instance, email security presents a unique obstacle because it can be affected by:

  • Human-based security risks
  • Non-physical risks (obsolete legacy systems)
  • Physical risks (outdated technology, servers, routers, and more)

With business email compromise (BEC) is responsible for only 4% of data breaches, it also averaged the highest total costs as an attack vector, averaging breach costs of $5.01 million. Therefore implementing additional email security features may be worth looking into further. 

Cloud Security 

Using Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solutions allow companies to strengthen their network security across public, private, hybrid, and cloud-hosted Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) deployments. 

Firewall Services

Firewalls are responsible for controlling the incoming and outgoing network traffic, ensuring predetermined security rules are being followed while restricting access to unwarranted parties. For organizations seeking additional security, Next Generation Firewalls offer added security with an increased focus on preventing malware and application-layer attacks.

Network Segmentation 

By defining boundaries with your network architecture, you can create network segments where only specific users have access privileges to a particular network segment. For example, a business could segment its network via departments, functions, or risks. 

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) 

DLP is a cybersecurity methodology that combines business continuity technologies with industry best practices to prevent the exposure of sensitive data. In addition to safeguarding your uptime, processes, and productivity, DLP provides peace of mind to most leadership.

Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) 

IPS security solutions can be used to block Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, brute force intrusions, and known vulnerabilities of exploits before they can impact your network.

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) 

Also known as a software-defined perimeter (SDP), a zero trust security model states that users should only have the necessary access and permissions required to fulfill their role. ZTNA is often enforced through network segmentation, which ramps up access control and security.

 

Interested in learning more about network security strategies? Check out these blogs:

 

Improve Your Data Protection by Improving Your Network Security Strategy

An effective network security strategy will strengthen your protection, elevate your business’s security posture, and reduce risks across your infrastructure. 

From managing the application security of your connected hardware and mobile devices to ensuring your network security policies align with industry regulations, there’s a lot to consider and even more at risk which is why you should always consult with network security specialists.

That’s why at Executech, you can rest assured knowing that your network will be strategically managed by dedicated vCIOs and technicians who have supported the IT needs of 689 companies and more than 26,400 end users. Your network security, uptime, and performance are prioritized by our experts to ensure you never miss a beat.

Executech.com Get in Touch – (844) 977-3338

For more information regarding network security, contact us today to learn more. 

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