A network security is any activity designed to protect the usability and integrity of your network and data. It is a set of rules and configurations designed to protect the integrity, confidentiality and accessibility of computer networks and data using both software and hardware technologies.
It is not always the number of Information Security solutions we own that dictates the network safety, rather the different layers of defenses created through adequate configuration and implementation of these solutions that matters.
Developing a mature network architecture can help an organization save millions in the face of a network-based attack.
Below are some of the practices that can help develop a fully-fledged Network environment.
1. Network Segmentation and Segregation
Network segmentation describes the division of a network into multiple segments or subnets, each acting as its own small network. Network segregation is more of controlling the communications between specific hosts and services in a network based on specified network rulesets.
Adequate implementation of these strategies makes it difficult for hackers to identify and exploit an organization’s most critical assets. This is because, the network is structured from the less critical to critical assets with the necessary blocks applied at the critical assets level to deter unauthorized access based on either a set of allowed subnet access or IP address sources. Network segmentation and Segregation can be implemented through secured LAN subnets both at the switch and router levels via port Access Control Lists (ACLs) to ensure only authorized domain has access to a network at any point in time.
2. Implementation of Next-Generation Firewall
Network security heavily relies on the type of Firewall implemented within a network environment. A Next Generation Firewall extends beyond a traditional firewall by combining device and application filtering functions, such as deep packet inspection and intrusion prevention systems which detects and prevents system intrusions based on known malware signatures. Defining the correct firewall rules also comes handy in creating levels of defenses both at the edge and in the internal network and in defining what is allowed in and out of an organization’s network.
3. Anti-malware solution
Having an anti-virus solution installed on all the IT computing devices greatly reduces the risk impact associated to an IT asset. An anti-malware solution is designed to prevent, detect, and remove malware infections on individual computing devices. Defining the right policies for vulnerability and patch scanning, active remediation and device and application controls not only protects individual assets but goes a long way in protecting a network from a malware developed to traverse the network.
4. Access Management
Access management is the control of Information Systems access by implementing authentication, authorization, trust, and security auditing controls on a network offering a range of services. One of the best practices is to centralize access management to these services and systems. This is normally achieved development of role-based groups, privilege assignment to groups and/or user to enabling system audit and logging policies which are some of the controls a systems administrator can capitalize on, to protect the network from the system-level.
5. Network Redundancy
Adding additional instances of network devices and lines of communication helps guarantee continuity of a Network’s environment in the case of a technical failure and/or disaster. Having a co-location site that is fully equipped with the necessary network equipment and replicated and/or backed up servers is one of the strategies that can be implemented to ensure redundancy is achieved. The guarantee a network has in the face of a disaster heavily relies on the readiness and availability of a secondary network resource.
6. Active Network Monitoring
Having visibility of an entire network can greatly help in detecting, preventing and isolating network attacks right from their inception stages. Subscribing to a SOC Monitoring solution could be considered as one of the implementation strategies of active network monitoring.
Some of the services offered includes but are not limited to active detection, prevention, and reporting of network incidents and events from an Availability, Security to Performance view, Matured Incident Management, and a team of highly competent SOC Analysts for incident analysis and remediation.
These are some of Network Security schemes organizations can implement at a minimum to ensure the uptime and security of its Network Environment.
At Sentinel Africa Consulting we extend the network security solutions and expertise beyond the minimum requirements. Among the services offered that helps build a matured Network environment includes:
- Network Architecture Reviews
- Network Redundancy Tests
- Security Information and Event Management
- Vulnerability and Patch Management