In today’s interconnected world, network security is of paramount importance for businesses. While rapid advancements in technology have empowered organisations, they have also provided new avenues for cyber attackers to exploit vulnerabilities. As remote work becomes more prevalent, the attack surface has expanded, making it crucial for businesses to adopt robust network security best practices to protect their sensitive data and critical systems.
Key network security best practices
When it comes to network security, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Each company has unique components, systems and data that require comprehensive protection. It is essential that an organisation’s IT security strategy is thorough and all-encompassing to address the diverse aspects of network security.
One key trend and best practice in network security is role-based access, which helps protect against unauthorised entry. Implementing access effective management solutions can significantly enhance the security of the network. Identity management is also a crucial aspect of network security, with zero trust networks gaining traction. These networks focus on providing access control and management for authenticated users, enabling organisations to monitor and report on individual activities within the network. However, implementing these solutions and best practices requires time and effort, especially for companies with outdated access architectures.
Intrusion protection and detection solutions are another critical aspect of network security. Organisations with large workforces and extensive data inventories can greatly benefit from these solutions. However not all data requires the same level of protection. Compliance plays a vital role in determining the sensitivity of data and the appropriate security measures to be implemented. Segmentation of networks, especially for core and non-core systems, makes it more challenging for threat actors to move laterally within the network.
Tackling the cyber threat with cyber resilience
The field of network security is constantly evolving to combat new threats, and hackers and intruders constantly adapt their tactics, making it essential for chief information security officers (CISOs) to stay updated with the latest trends and solutions. Proactivity is key, as relying on a single solution or vendor may leave organisations vulnerable to emerging threats. CISOs must choose wisely and explore innovative ideas and methodologies to ensure the natural evolution of network security.
Addressing the evolving cyber threat landscape requires businesses to develop cyber resilience. Organisations must realise that hackers consider cyberattacks as their job, continually devising new methods to breach IT environments. Cybersecurity should therefore not be considered a mere commodity but an integral part of the overall strategy. While firewalls and intrusion protection solutions are essential, they are not sufficient. The human factor is often the weakest link, making it crucial for businesses to train their staff to recognise and respond to social engineering and phishing attempts. Creating awareness among employees about the potential consequences of cyberattacks is vital, as the impact can be severe, leading to financial penalties, reputational damage, and even legal repercussions.
Achieving zero trust
Zero trust, though a commendable concept, is complex to implement due to the diverse IT architectures of different companies. While achieving zero trust may be challenging, the concept of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) provides a flexible and adaptable approach to network security, and offers a more standardised strategy that can be applied across various infrastructures.
Establishing policies, methodologies and procedures
When establishing policies, methodologies and procedures, organisations should refer to internationally recognised standards such as ISO, CIS, and PCI DSS. Rather than pursuing costly certifications, aligning with these standards allows businesses to adopt best practices relevant to their specific needs. Implementing security templates may not fully cater to an organisation’s requirements, which is why the alignment approach is more effective and efficient.
The role of ML, IoT and automation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are becoming increasingly integrated into the field of cybersecurity, enabling the gathering of meaningful data and providing specific threat response capabilities based on behavioural patterns. ML in particular plays a crucial role in security operations centres (SOCs), automating incident response management and operational playbooks.
As the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve, businesses must adapt to emerging security trends and challenges, and cannot neglect prioritising network security best practices. By implementing comprehensive security measures, fostering cyber resilience and securely leveraging technologies such as AI, ML and IoT, organisations can enhance their ability to protect against cyber threats.
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