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How to create a secure network for the management of data and information

NetworkTigers outlines how to create a secure network.

Managing and securing your business network from cybercriminals starts with a well-designed security strategy. The purpose is to protect the network from attacks that could ruin your company’s reputation or disrupt its profitability.

Threats targeting businesses that utilize the internet for data sharing, web applications, and email are prime targets for ransomware, phishing, and other harmful cyber activities due to shifting to remote work and the globalization of the internet.

For these reasons, creating a secure network for managing data and information is essential for your business. So, what’s the best approach to network security management? In this article, you’ll learn why it’s critical to implement network security and the steps to creating a robust network security management strategy.

What is network security management?

Network security management refers to managing access to network resources by external and internal parties and controlling how these resources are accessed. 

Custom procedures and policies support your network security management strategy and align with your company’s goals. 

An important component of network security management is identifying all network devices. It can be challenging to achieve security management if you don’t have an asset tracking system or software that can help you log, identify and monitor what, who, when, and where computers connect to your network.

Each asset within the organization should be categorized according to its value and type. For example, file servers containing classified data have a higher value than a desktop with non-sensitive information on its hard drive.

How to protect your organization with network security management

The main goal of network security management is to protect your company’s data. Compared to a few years ago, the attack surface of cyber attackers has increased significantly.

Nowadays, criminals are bringing down large businesses with attacks not witnessed before. They’re using the internet to launch malware attacks to hold an organization hostage until they pay a ransom.

One way to prevent the surge in cybercrime is to analyze the current attacks impacting businesses and identify the devices that hackers could exploit.

The human element is often overlooked but is a target for cyberattacks. Some companies allow their workers to work remotely. However, this has presented more challenges to securing the network because employees can connect to the internet from anywhere in the world, which increases your risk of being attacked.

Fortunately, you can implement an effective network security management program that includes experienced personnel to help you protect your organization. 

Security teams within your company should identify the endpoints of the various devices connecting to your network remotely and the software installed on those devices. 

Steps to creating a secure network

Here are steps to help you create and improve your network security.

1. Ensure your network resources are up-to-date

Start with an up-to-date record of your network security resources, including architectural diagrams and the current network. Next, create documentation that includes updated technical responsibilities, protocols, and procedures.

Always ensure your IT team has clear instructions on their everyday network management tasks. Also, check your network security daily and make it a routine activity. Lastly, encourage cross-training within the team and delegate tasks and assignments.

2. Enforce a strong password policy

Encourage your employees to create complex passwords. Train them to avoid passwords that can be guessed easily, like addresses and names. Teach them not to write down passwords on paper and keep them in a file on their computer.

The policy can also recommend using password management tools to keep passwords secure.

3. Develop a vulnerability management program

Build and document a process for your network’s vulnerability management. Ensure any running software and the Operating System are regularly patched to the current level to reduce opportunities for criminals to take advantage of vulnerabilities. 

A robust vulnerability management system should include a procedure for deploying upgrades for network OS whenever zero-days are released.

Be sure to patch all the software on your network, including operating systems across servers and devices and apps and firmware in the hardware or devices.

4. Install antivirus and endpoint protection

Antivirus protection is another layer of defense for businesses looking to secure their network. Additionally, all endpoint systems should have endpoint protection configured and enabled to receive updates automatically.

Endpoint protection also includes software execution prevention and data loss prevention.  

5. Configure firewalls properly

Network firewalls should be strategically placed in your company to control lateral and cross-domain access between environments and inbound and outbound traffic. A Web Application Firewall should protect business assets that host web applications. 

Keep in mind that Next-Gen Firewalls such as Cisco Firewalls offer network-based security signatures and application-based services. Since maintaining firewalls can become complicated, more complex enterprises should consider working with a firewall partner like NetworkTigers.

6. Set user access policies

Set explicit user access permissions based on least privilege or Zero Trust. To create a clear access map, maintain strict access control of company identities to make administrating the system easier. 

Access controls based on job and department make limiting access to confidential information much easier. Logging and auditing must also be enabled for users in each group to monitor access denied, granted, and requested across the company. 

Threat hunting can use this information to identify insider threats or potential attacks. Most importantly, don’t forget to archive reports of terminated users and disabled inactive accounts.

7. Create data backup solutions

Businesses should back up systems consistently and routinely. Every company should appoint someone to be in charge of backups and ensure that backup systems are verified and configured correctly regularly and that crucial information is backed-up.

Companies should also create a backup policy, specifying how frequently information should be backed-up and which systems and files should be backed-up.

Bottomline

Coordinated security management is crucial to a range of essential tasks, including ensuring that no confidential data is exposed and that each user has the proper access to applications and data. Following the recommendations discussed in this article, your business will stay one step ahead of cyber attackers and protect your company’s assets.

Maclean Odiesa
Maclean Odiesa
Maclean is a tech freelance writer with 7+ years in content strategy and development. She is also a pillar pages specialist and SEO expert.

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How to create a secure network for the management of data and information