Network Security Best Practices for Small Enterprises
Businesses today thrive on connectivity, no matter their size, the products they offer, or the market they serve. With that in mind, it’s important to note that network security isn't just a luxury; it's a necessity. It’s essential your business is connected, but it is just as critical that the way you communicate and get work done is protected from theft and other malicious actions. Today, we’ll unravel some of the intricacies of related network security best practices, and offer up a checklist of items to secure your organization against an ever-evolving cyber threatscape.
A Checklist for Network Security Best Practices
Understanding the Landscape
To ensure your network can hold up you must have insight to the threats present and the critical assets that require priority protection. Recognizing the diversity of threats, from professional cybercriminals and hackers to malicious software, is crucial to developing a comprehensive strategy. An assessment with a proven network solutions provider helps identify vulnerabilities and key components.
Strong Authentication Protocols
The cornerstone of network security is authentication. Utilizing multi-factor authentication (MFA) ensures that accessing sensitive information requires more than just a password. MFA methods, such as fingerprint scans, smart cards, or biometric data, add layers of security, making unauthorized access significantly more challenging.
Regular Updates & Patches
Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software. Regularly updating operating systems, applications, and security software patches these vulnerabilities, creating a stronger defense against attacks. Automated patch management systems can streamline this process, ensuring all devices are up-to-date.
Encrypting data prevents unauthorized access, even if the data is intercepted. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols encrypt data in transit, safeguarding information as it travels across networks. Similarly, encrypting data at rest, using robust algorithms, ensures that even if storage devices are compromised, the data remains unreadable and secure. The need here will only grow as more regulations are on the way for managed data.
Segmenting networks into different subnetworks limits the potential impact of a security breach. If one segment is compromised, the damage can be contained, preventing the attacker from accessing the entire network. This segmentation strategy is particularly effective in large organizations, providing an additional layer of defense. It’s also effective for manufacturers which need to isolate older OT from potential threats on the network at large.
Detection & Response
These cybersecurity systems, often helmed from a Secure Operations Center, monitor network traffic, detecting and mitigating potential threats in real-time. Intrusion detection systems identify suspicious activities, while intrusion prevention systems actively block malicious actions. These systems work in tandem, providing an active defense mechanism against a wide array of cyber threats.
Access Control Policies
Controlling who has access to what information is fundamental in network security. For instance, role-based access control (RBAC) assigns permissions based on job roles, ensuring individuals only have access to the data necessary for their tasks. Regularly reviewing and updating access control policies is essential to adapting to organizational changes.
Regular Security Audits and Penetration Testing
Regular security audits and penetration testing are proactive measures to identify vulnerabilities before cybercriminals exploit them. Security professionals can simulate cyber attacks, testing the network's defenses and identifying weak points that require strengthening. These assessments provide valuable insights, enabling organizations to enhance their security posture continually.
Education and Raising Awareness
Human error remains a significant factor in security breaches. Educating employees about phishing scams, social engineering tactics, and the importance of strong password practices empowers them to be vigilant. Regular training sessions and awareness programs instill a security-conscious culture within the organization, reducing the likelihood of successful attacks.
Incident Response Plan
No security system is foolproof. Hence, having a well-defined incident response plan is crucial. This plan outlines the steps to take when a security breach occurs, ensuring a swift and coordinated response. Regularly rehearsing the incident response plan keeps the team prepared and enables them to act decisively in the event of an actual security incident.
Need More Network Security Best Practices? Turn to Inversion6
Network security best practices are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, they constitute a multifaceted approach that adapts to the evolving threat landscape and to the specific circumstances facing each business. By understanding the threats, implementing comprehensive security measures, educating users, and preparing for potential incidents, organizations can establish a robust defense structure.
For more than 30 years, Inversion6 has created comprehensive, effective and manageable cybersecurity solutions for organizations across many industries. These solutions encompass everything you need to better secure your digital perimeter and include:
Security Operations Center (SOC) — Our professional cybersecurity team operates from a SOC powered by best-in-class technology and equipped to handle everything from prevention and monitoring to incident response, recovery, and remediation.
Managed Detection & Response (MDR) — This proactive method of threat prevention combines technology, SOC resources, and advanced analytics and threat intelligence to ensure your endpoints are protected, regardless of location.
Autonomous Penetration Testing — Understand your current controls and fix vulnerabilities before they become much larger problems with expert guided testing capabilities designed to find your weaknesses before hackers do.
Schedule a consultation today to discover how our expertise can build stronger network security for your organization.