In today's digital age, network security is of paramount importance for any organisation that operates in the online space. With the increasing threat of cyber-attacks and data breaches, it is essential to implement robust security practices to protect sensitive information and systems from unauthorised access. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 network security best practices that can help organisations prevent, detect, and monitor unauthorised access.
Develop a Comprehensive Network Security Policy
The first step towards achieving effective network security is to develop a comprehensive security policy that defines the rules and guidelines for accessing and using network resources. A network security policy should include guidelines for password management, user access control, and data protection, so that you and your company are stronger against the cyber threat.
Implement Network Segmentation
Network segmentation is the process of dividing a network into smaller subnetworks or segments, which can be independently managed and secured. This approach limits the impact of a security breach and reduces the risk of unauthorised access.
Use Strong Passwords
Passwords are the first line of defence against unauthorised access to network resources. Using strong, complex passwords that are difficult to crack can significantly reduce the risk of a security breach. When you use strong passwords you secure your files and data - it should thus be changed regularly and not shared. A trick for better password security is to use a password manager that manages your passwords and makes unique and strong passwords for you.
Conduct Regular Security Audits
Regular security audits can help identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the network security system. When your organisation has a proper check of your security audits, you stay updated on the latest threats and vulnerabilities that are within your systems. You furthermore ensure compliance with industry regulations.
Implement Network Access Controls
Network access controls, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, can help prevent unauthorised access and detect potential security breaches. These controls should be regularly updated to ensure they are effective against the latest threats - this involves making it more difficult for hackers to access your data and systems.
Encryption is the process of encoding information to prevent unauthorised access. Encryption can be used to protect sensitive data in transit or when you store them, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other personal information. When your data is encrypted, you ensure that only the necessary people can read and access your data. You are thus making the hacking process a lot harder for the hackers.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security approach that requires users to provide multiple types of identification before accessing network resources. This approach can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorised access, as it requires more than just a password to gain access. It becomes very difficult to the hackers to infiltrate your systems and accounts if you use MFA - they would need a lot of different data to get the MFA-notification. This could be additional acces to your email, your phone or an external app on your phone.
Train Employees on Network Security
Awareness training can help your organisation focus on the importance of network security and reduce the risk of human error, which is a significant way to avoid security breaches. Employees should be trained on security policies, password management, and how to identify and report potential security threats such as phishing.
Implement Incident Response Plans
An incident response plan outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a security breach or other security incident. When you know how to act in case of, e.g., a data breach, you can minimise the damage the cyberattack might do. This plan should include procedures for detecting and containing security breaches, notifying affected parties, and restoring normal operations.
Regularly Back Up Data
Regular data backups can help organisations recover quickly in the event of a security breach or data loss. Backups should be performed regularly and stored in a secure location, preferably offsite, so that they won’t get compromised. If your organisation should become a target of e.g. a ransomware attack, you have all data stored externally, so the threat of losing the data because you cannot financially cover the damage is severely minimised with backups.
While implementing these network security best practices can notably reduce the risk of a security breach, it is important to recognize that there are tradeoffs involved in balancing different factors. For example, implementing too many security controls can slow down network performance, while too few controls can increase the risk of cyberattacks. It is also important to consider the user experience when deciding which security measures you should implement. Have the network security and your employees in mind.
In conclusion, network security is a critical aspect of any organisation's digital operations. Implementing these top 10 network security best practices can help prevent, detect, and monitor unauthorised access, reduce the risk of a security breach, and ensure compliance with industry regulations. By striking a balance between security, usability, and user experience, organisations can achieve effective network security that protects their assets and reputation, as well as their customers.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.