According to Accenture’s “State of Cybersecurity Resilience 2021” report, security attacks have increased 31% from 2021 to 2022.
This statistic shows that organizations are not ready with a robust security plan and lack continuous network monitoring, resulting in security loopholes. Efficient network infrastructure is crucial for the success of your enterprise.
Protecting your network security is critical to ensure your business operations work efficiently, whether your enterprise is big, small, or medium. A professional and robust network security monitoring system will do your job and provide exceptional network security.
Despite your organizational size, industry, or IT infrastructure, network security management is critical for securing your organization from cyber threats.
Network security covers a lot of technologies, devices, processes, and systems. It aims to protect the network and data so that organizations can efficiently achieve their business goals.
Network intrusions can do a lot of damage to your business, whether it’s a DDoS attack or a malware infection. All it takes is just one instance of a hacker getting in to cause damage and hurt your reputation. To prevent this, a network security monitoring system is a must.
Surfing the internet and searching for a guide on network security monitoring can be overwhelming. So many companies, blogs, and articles claim to have the best practices. To give you detailed insight and how you can achieve excellent outcomes with a Network security management system, we’re here to share eight best practices of network security monitoring.
Here are 8 Best Practices of Network Security Monitoring
1. Conduct a Thorough Network Audit
It is crucial to perform a thorough network audit to identify the loopholes and weaknesses of any system or network. With this thorough network audit, you will identify the weakness in the network design and posture. Through this network audit, your organization will identify and assess,
- Security Vulnerabilities, if any
- Unneeded and Unwanted applications
- Any anti-virus, anti-malware, or suspicious activity/software
- Third-party application/vendor assessment
- Identifying any other security gaps
So, with this detailed and thorough network audit, you will identify the weaknesses and start converting them into strengths with an incredible network security monitoring system.
2. Use Effective Tools that offer exceptional network visibility.
In today’s digital world, where everything has become interconnected, it is essential to be aware of your network environment and the traffic that traverses it. Without monitoring your network and its traffic, you won’t be able to identify threats, vulnerabilities, and mistakes, which can compromise your network’s security and your data’s security. So, integrating a professional, affordable, impactful network monitoring tool will constantly add more value to your network security.
3. Deploy Enhanced Security for Routers
Any attacker can efficiently perform a security breach by hitting the reset button on the router. Though it sounds a little strange, it’s true. Hackers can gain access to your network and home network by resetting the router. This is how they do it. Hackers look for open Wi-Fi networks and try to get into them by resetting the router. When reset, the router would ask for a username and a password. Hackers then enter the default username and password in the router’s manual. A hacker would then access the router and change the admin username and password, giving them access to your network.
So, ensure that you always keep your routers in a secured or locked location for enhanced security.
4. Use a Private IP Address
If you’re setting up a server, you’ll likely use a public IP address. But what is a public IP address? An IP address is a set of numbers that is used to identify your server on the internet. An IP address is all fine and dandy until you need to keep the server behind a firewall. But how can you do that if the server’s IP address is public? The answer is to use a private IP address.
A private IP address is an IP address that is not visible on the internet. It is only visible within your LAN (local area network) or VPN (a virtual private network). Therefore, if you have a server that needs to stay behind a firewall, make sure you use a private IP address!
5. Stop Using File-Sharing Features
File sharing is a great way to quickly and easily transfer files from one computer to another – but it is also an excellent way for attackers to take over your computer! Almost all files shared over a network are in plain text format, which means that any hacker who wants to get a hold of your files can snoop around for files that look interesting. As a result, it is essential to disable file-sharing features on your devices.
Plenty of secure, encrypted file-sharing services are available if you are interested in transferring large files from one computer to another. These services allow you to send large files without the risk of them being stolen by hackers.
6. Use encryption in network security monitoring
Encryption protects data from being seen or changed while transmitted over a network. In order to prevent any malicious device from viewing any information shared on the network, enterprises must adopt in-transit encryption. For websites, this is done through HTTPS, which uses the TLS encryption standard to secure data in transit.
Often enterprises think that all devices on the internal network are reliable and avoid using HTTPS on intranet sites. Although using HTTPS internally is somewhat more complex than using it externally, the security benefits are significant, especially on larger networks.
7. Categorize device and access levels
Classify devices based on their functions and characteristics. Different devices serve different purposes within a network, such as servers, workstations, routers, switches, printers, and IoT devices. Network administrators can gain better insights into potential vulnerabilities by clearly identifying and categorizing each device type.
Once devices are categorized, assign access levels appropriately. Not all devices require the same access level to network resources. For example, critical infrastructure components like servers containing sensitive data should have stricter access controls than general-purpose workstations. Limiting access to only authorized personnel or systems reduces the risk of unauthorized access and potential compromise.
8. Keep everything up to date
Security vulnerabilities are inevitable – every device of your IT infrastructure would have them at least once at some point. So, updating everything is crucial. Hackers can access non-updated equipment, servers, and endpoints faster than a 100% patched network.
Automated remote management technology is a valuable tool for ensuring timely software updates. Mobile device management, a frequent strategy in endpoint security, also parallels network security: routers, switches, and firewalls can all be remotely managed and updated.
How does network security monitoring help protect my network?
Network security monitoring ensures real-time visibility into network activities, detecting and responding to potential threats like unauthorized access, malware, and data breaches, thereby safeguarding your network from cyberattacks.
What are the essential components of network security monitoring?
Essential components include Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS), firewalls, log management, vulnerability scanning, and network traffic analysis tools.
How can I improve user behavior monitoring?
Improve user behavior monitoring with User Activity Monitoring (UAM) tools, establish behavior baselines and provide user training on security best practices.
What is the role of threat intelligence in network security monitoring?
Threat intelligence provides valuable insights into emerging threats and attack techniques, enabling proactive detection and response to potential security incidents.
How can I raise security awareness among employees?
Raise security awareness through regular training sessions, educational materials, simulated phishing exercises, and recognizing employees for practising good security habits.