In 2016, network security has been a topic of concern entering conversations in enterprise boardrooms across the world. With many recent high-profile hacks, security breaches and incidents of malware and ransomware, it’s no wonder organizations are quickly seeking strategies to beef up their security and avoid threats. Read on for five tips for improving enterprise network security.
1. Define and Monitor User Rights
Sometimes your biggest network security threat is internal; it could be one of your own employees. Setting defined user rights and privileges within the network which are appropriate for each user role and job task can eliminate granting unnecessary privileges to team members who don’t need to use them.
Users without the appropriate user-lever rights and permissions could have the potential to:
- Make accidental changes in security preferences, leading to a breach or vulnerability
- Run malware, on purpose or on accident, that has the ability to take on administrator privileges
- Lose or share their login credentials, increasing the opportunity for those credentials to be stolen or misused
In short, make sure the workers who have been assigned administrator and high-level privileges have a legitimate business need for them, are trusted, and have been educated in proper network security protocols.
2. Define Proper Network Security Protocols
Making sure your entire team is briefed on company-wide security procedures and best practices can help ensure they won’t fall victim to malware or phishing, which are two of the top security threats facing enterprises. Outline rules like only downloading from trusted sites, not sharing login credentials and avoiding clicking on unfamiliar email links.
3. Use Network Segmentation to Manage Malware and Ransomware Risks
Any technique an enterprise uses to avoid phishing scams and outside security breaches will help avoid getting a ransomware infection in the network. However, there is no way to guarantee that an enterprise can avoid infection. Therefore, in addition to prevention, every organization needs to consider how to contain a ransomware breach with network segmentation, clean backups and other strategies once the attacker penetrates first-line defenses.
In the event of a security breach, an enterprise can secure a segment simply by preventing all communication and physical access, which in part includes emails, websites, file sharing, cloud services and any external devices such as storage or mobile devices that have both external access and access to the network.
4. Limit and Control External Network Connections
When connecting to other networks, your company’s computers may adopt the connecting network’s security features, preferences and protocols. Since you don’t have control or knowledge about the state of security this network is in, you should limit outside connections to crucial business situations or avoid them completely. According to Sophos, “In most instances, most users only need to connect to the main corporate network.”
5. Invest in Network Security Analytics
Focusing on enterprise network security is not the only way to protect your organization’s sensitive data. According to Network World, “Networks are certainly a good place to start, but they also act as a building block for other security analytics efforts. Leading organizations often supplement network security analytics with similar projects for monitoring the behavior of critical data assets, endpoints and users, for example.”
Enterprise network security requires a comprehensive strategy because it touches all network connections and all users across the enterprise. We recommend revisiting your strategy at the very least once per year, and a network security assessment is a great place to start. Learn about our Security Assessment which helps identify potential vulnerabilities and opportunities for improving your security posture.
Sign up for a free Security and Threat Prevention Assessment with WEI today.