A secure network goes a long way in saving a business and its market goodwill, especially now when almost every device is interconnected. A single vulnerability is all it takes to bring down an organization, a situation we have seen far too often, especially with the way cyber attacks have continued to increase.
At vulnerable times like now, it is essential for every organization to inculcate the best practices for securing networks to protect themselves from potential cyber threats and attacks happening today.
Common types of network security include Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), network segmentation, Data Loss Prevention, and so on.
Network security is the holistic approach to safeguarding everything in the device and connected network of devices, which makes sure that neither a device nor data therein are compromised.
The pillars of security, namely integrity, confidentiality, and availability, are preserved by putting in place policies, processes, and best practices for security networks. So, let us focus on some of the best practices for securing networks.
Layers of Defense: Best Practices for Securing Networks
Controls, including access control, accounting, authorization, authentication, identification, cryptography, and security policies, are employed by companies, organizations, and enterprises.
While all these controls revolve around who enters the system and accesses what portions of the stored data, it is up to the executives or officials to make sure they abide by these rules.
They are required not to share authentication protocols or identification controls with friends or colleagues for specific responsibility sharing or sharing of other connected resources.
Since over 3.4 billion spam emails are sent daily with phishing emails being the most common form of reaching targets, it is important to have enough email access guardrails.
Firewalls prevent hackers from accessing system data by setting authorization mechanisms. It scans the incoming and outgoing traffic on the network and secures it according to established security policies on the network by the enterprise.
Anti-virus and anti-malware software
Even though having anti-virus or anti-malware does not assure complete protection from malware attacks, it is essential to have them in place to detect and stop those that can be stopped.
According to a report, nearly 25% of anti-virus software detected malware and every fifth of internet users have suffered a malware attack once in their lifetime.
Applications on devices need to be safe to prevent cyberattacks directed at outdated applications with vulnerabilities left unpatched.
As is, several zero-day vulnerabilities are investigated on a regular by security researchers and engineers to maintain best practices for securing networks.
A study indicated that nearly 70% of all infections were made targeting Microsoft Office vulnerabilities.
Since, Microsoft Office has a consumer base of over 47%, maintaining network security on both laptops and desktops including other MS Office-based devices is unavoidable.
Observing usual traffic and differentiating odd instances found on the network using tools including artificial intelligence, big data, and analytics is behavioral analytics.
Among the best practices for securing networks in 2023, is the inclusion of machine learning and artificial intelligence that helps in detecting changed signatures in software, and analyzing endpoint data among other observations.
Wireless security or Wi-Fi security
Specific tools are employed to safeguard wireless networks that use radio frequency between nodes in the network.
The main types of wireless networks including WAN, LAN, and PAN, are offered network security such as Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP).
Other solutions include Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) to protect data from unauthorized access.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
The use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers extended cover to ethical hackers and other engineers to hide their IP addresses and continue efforts including red teaming. It allows the encryption of a connection between an endpoint and a network.
Furthermore, IP whitelisting’s best practices can be implemented in combination with VPN usage to provide an additional layer of security for ethical hackers and engineers during red teaming activities. By hiding their IP addresses through a VPN and restricting access to only trusted IP addresses via whitelisting, the security of their connections and communications can be enhanced.
Data loss prevention (DLP)
One of the most important network security concerns has been data loss prevention which is due to several ransomware attacks among others that steal and exfiltrate data.
It prevents data breaches through early detection features. It blocks data extraction attempts to a large extent from network DLP, endpoint DLP, and cloud DLP.
Best practices for securing networks: In a nutshell
There is no denying the fact that systems can never be 100% secure. However, it is essential to follow the fundamental principles as best practices for securing networks.
Don’t become a victim to cyber attack, instead be prepared and secure your networks. Be cybersecurity-aware and implement ways to stay updated with the latest software, technologies and techniques to stay one step ahead of threat actors.