Network Security can be a daunting topic for many businesses and their IT staff. It can be so daunting that business owners often push it to the side and go on with business as usual, but ignoring network security or putting it off to be addressed at a later time puts your business at risk. You may also reach out to a Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) to proactively monitor and manage your network security. Here is a list of five items to help you gain some focus and increase the security of your business’ network.
Information Security Policy
This is a document that outlines the rules and procedures that must be followed by members of the organization to ensure the proper and safe usage of IT systems. It typically contains a computer usage policy and information about compliance such as HIPAA, PCI/DSS and/or other industry regulations. In addition, it will outline the procedure for responding to security threats.
If writing this type of document is not in your wheelhouse, you could leverage online resources to find a template. If you are part of a small organization, you may even find a template in which a simple search and replace with your company name can go a long way. Remember that this is not a one-time deal, your Information Security Policy will change as your organization and technology evolves.
The perimeter of your network is the first line of defense in protecting your network from all types of security risks. In this day and age, protecting the perimeter of a network at very least includes deploying a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW). NGFWs offer stateful inspection of traffic plus features such as intrusion prevention, web filtering, and anti-virus. These additional features are typically subscription based and regularly updated to provide continued protection from threats.
Just as important as perimeter protection, is the protection of your endpoints. These are all of your business’ servers, desktops, laptops and even mobile devices. The type of protection will vary for each type of device based on how it is used to access company data. This is at the very least anti-virus software, but can also include anti-malware, data loss prevention and/or mobile device management software. Even if your Next Generation Firewall is running similar services such as anti-virus, having it on the endpoint provides a second layer of protection while on the company network and the only protection while off of it.
The whole reason for securing your network is to protect your intellectual data. Protecting your data cannot not stop at the perimeter. You need to identify your critical data, limit access to it and monitor for unauthorized access. You should also have a Managed Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution in place to recover any lost data.
What does this mean for a business owner? To put it simply, human resource records or financial data does not need to be accessible to all employees. Rather, access to data should be based on an employee’s role in the organization. What employees need to know this information? Those are the ones that should be allowed to access that specific data. By restricting access to your company’s intellectual data, you are better protecting yourself and your business against possible attacks, whether they come from the outside or inside.
Last but not least, you must educate your employee. Your users should be made aware of the IT Security Policy and be educated to the point where they can identify potential security risks (such as suspicious downloads and emails). By educating your employees, it may not make your network impenetrable but it can definitely assist in preventing any attacks on your company’s data.
It can be a daunting task to work on your company’s network security but it is a task that cannot be ignored if you want your company safe and secure. If you find this to be too much, ask a professional to assist with securing your company’s network. It is definitely a step that you will not regret taking.
At TNS, we work with our clients to assess the overall security of their networks and create plans for securing their most critical data. Contact us today and speak with an experienced team member so you can take action and safeguard your network.
By: Pete Fochi, Engineering, The TNS Group