By: Craig Badrick on May 26th, 2017

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Next-Generation Approach to Network Security

Network Security  |  Cybersecurity

You wouldn’t attempt to build a home using tree branches and twine. You wouldn’t try to contact a friend via telegram. You wouldn’t think of playing your favorite album on a phonograph. These tools are outdated and highly insufficient to meet today’s needs. Even alluding to them seems absurd. Why, then, would you consider relying on outdated, insufficient network security solutions to protect your critical assets in this increasingly advanced age of cyber crime?

The technologies and innovations used by hackers to breach systems continue to evolve. You see proof of this in the news every day. No organization is safe. From healthcare and education to enterprises large and small, attacks are happening in every industry in more and more sophisticated ways. If you’re not taking a next-generation approach to thwarting intruders and securing your network, you’re exposing your organization to huge risks.


 As with most areas of life, times are changing. The ways in which cybercriminals attack your systems are transforming, and so must your approach to defending those systems. Are you adapting and keeping up? Are you embracing
progressive efforts to protect your network and prevent harmful intrusions? Do you know what a next-generation network security strategy looks like? Here are some expert insights to get you moving in the right direction.

Increased Network Visibility

How much do you know about your organization’s unique patterns of user and data interaction? True visibility means complete and continuous insight into what needs to be protected, who needs access to it and when, and what kind of interaction people are having with it. Visibility also involves uncovering issues such as:

 

  • Gaps in security: Where are your greatest vulnerabilities, and how can you overcome them?
  • Suspicious activity: Is the data entering your network what you expect it to be, and from whom you expect it to arrive? Are you able to detect new, unknown attack components across all traffic?
  • Potential blind spots: Are you dealing with complex products or processes, rendering blind spots or unattended systems that can be used against you?
  • Quantity and usage of devices: Do you really know how many devices are utilizing the network? Do you know what applications these devices are running?
  • Lack of process: Are you tracking activity every month? Do you have a formal process in place to evaluate metrics on a regular basis?

 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re housing intellectual property or private customer data, a next-generation network security approach to protect these assets requires deep, unfailing visibility. The best place to start is with a network security assessment to shed light on your security realities.

 

You must put tools in place to develop a clear picture of how network devices and activity may be causing security weaknesses, including instances of unauthorized users and access. If you don’t take the necessary steps to evaluate your network’s vulnerabilities, you become exponentially more susceptible to experiencing a breach that could devastate your organization.

 

Tighter Control

If you have many different users at all levels of the organization accessing the network on various devices and for a myriad of purposes, it’s easy for the security of your network to become compromised. That’s why it’s essential to implement a next-generation approach, one that puts a high level of control into the hands of your IT team.

 

For instance, do your IT professionals have the technology to wipe a device carrying sensitive corporate data in the event that it’s lost or stolen? Can they monitor when an unknown user or device logs into the network? Are they managing all programs and solutions running on the network, or are users implementing work-arounds that are unsanctioned by the IT team?

 

Without the right tools and methods to maintain control over the network, your IT pros can’t lock down security measures and protect the organization. You must equip them with the necessary means to obtain control and carry out the proper security steps, with protections like:

 

  • Firewalls
  • Intrusion detection and prevention systems
  • Robust login credentials
  • Encryption
  • Regular backups
  • User authentication
  • Strong password protocol
  • Access limits and management of privileges

 

Cloud Computing

Due to the increasing popularity of cloud computing in the workplace, "shadow IT" (the use of IT systems without explicit organizational approval) is becoming more commonplace in many organizations. Unsurprisingly, many IT departments are concerned about the security implications.

 

Shadow IT creates unmonitored and unsecured pockets of data sharing and reporting within an organization. This can cause huge information security risks. Unmanaged, shadow IT can lead to the sharing of information with the wrong people and result in consequences that have the potential to be disastrous for an organization.

 

If you’re turning to cloud computing as a way to share files and store valuable documents, it is of the utmost importance to find a solution with strong security features, fortify your password policies and execute a dynamic security plan that mitigates the occurrence of shadow IT. When properly applied and monitored, cloud computing can bring significant benefits to an organization, but it’s essential to be aware of and take necessary action to prevent the associated security risks.  

 

Education and Awareness

Do your employees know how to discern a secure site from an unsecure one? Does everyone understand the dangers of clicking on email links and falling prey to phishing scams? Is anyone reusing personal passwords, failing to update them regularly, using overly simplistic or easy-to-guess combinations or sharing passwords with other employees? Are there instances of individuals employing do-it-yourself solutions to store and share files?

 

Every user in your company must be equipped with the knowledge to understand how these actions can impact the organization at large. They should be educated on the ways to recognize threats and avoid bypassing any security protocols. Education and awareness are crucial factors in next-generation network security. Without a solid plan for involving your people in this security effort, you’ll always be at a higher risk of data breaches and network attacks.

 

Take advantage of the opportunity to have a TTI expert come to your organization and host a free discussion on the latest in cyber security protection. Schedule your roundtable discussion today, and learn how to take a next-generation approach to your network security.