Business Uptime

Customers rely on businesses to store and share sensitive information such as customer data, financial records, and proprietary information. A data breach can disrupt business operations, causing significant financial losses. Many industries are subject to regulations that require certain levels of network security. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, legal liability, and reputational damage.

There’s no doubt that network security is vital to business functions.

Understanding Network Threats

Network threats involve more than someone just tapping a network cable or cutting some cords. Other threats faced by businesses include:

  • Phishing
    • This is first in line because Phishing is the most common crime. Phishing attacks (part of social engineering) involve the use of fraudulent emails, phone calls, or text messages to trick employees into revealing sensitive information such as login credentials, financial data, or personal information.
  • Malware
    • Designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems, malware includes viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and ransomware.
  • Insider Threats
    • Insider threats involve malicious (e.g., stolen intellectual property) or accidental actions (e.g., file deletion) by employees, contractors, or other insiders that can result in the loss or theft of sensitive data.
  • Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
    • APTs are long-term, targeted attacks that are designed to gain unauthorized access to a network or system and remain undetected for extended periods.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
    • DDoS attacks involve flooding a network or server with traffic to overwhelm it and prevent legitimate users from accessing the system.
  • Zero-day Exploits
    • Zero-day exploits are vulnerabilities in software or hardware that are unknown to the vendor or manufacturer, making them difficult to defend against.
  • Physical Security Breaches
    • Even though so much has been moved to the cloud, physical security breaches are still a major attack vector. They involve unauthorized persons accessing a company’s physical facilities, such as server rooms or data centers, and steals or damages sensitive data or equipment.

Businesses should implement security measures that can protect against these and other security threats to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA triad) of their sensitive data and systems.

Identifying Security Gaps

Before implementing security controls, the assets have to be properly identified and categorized. Not only that, but a gap analysis has to be performed to determine any security gaps.

Businesses can identify security gaps before they are exploited by reviewing the following. While each of these is also a best practice, considering new and reviewing current implementation will also reveal any gaps in how they’re supposed to be implemented, how they actually are implemented, and what needs to be changed in the processes, policies, and procedures.

  • Regular Security Assessments
    • Regular security assessments can help businesses identify potential security vulnerabilities before they are exploited. These assessments can include penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and risk assessments.
  • Network Monitoring
    • Network monitoring can help businesses detect and respond to potential security threats in real-time. This can include monitoring network traffic, system logs, and user behavior.
  • Security Patching and Updating
    • Applying security patches and updates to software and hardware can help businesses address known vulnerabilities and prevent them from being exploited by threat actors.
  • Access Control Reviews
    • Review the current controls will reveal items such as orphaned accounts and those who have Domain Administrator access. Access controls such as strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and role-based access can help businesses restrict access to sensitive data and systems and prevent unauthorized access.
  • Employee Training and Awareness
    • Employee training and awareness programs help educate employees on the importance of security and how to identify and report potential threats.
  • Third-Party Risk Management
  • Businesses should also assess the security of their third-party vendors and partners (sometimes fourth- and fifth-parties) and ensure that they have the appropriate security measures in place to protect data.

Best Practices for Securing Business Networks

Some best practices for securing business networks include:

  • Strong Passwords
    • Encourage employees to use strong passwords and implement password policies that require the use of complex and unique passwords. When possible, technically enforce these policies (e.g., Group Policy).
  • Apply Software and Hardware Updates
    • Regularly updating software and hardware can help businesses address known vulnerabilities and prevent them from being exploited by threat actors.
  • Network Segmentation
    • Network segmentation can help businesses limit the impact of a security breach by isolating critical systems and data from the rest of the network.
  • Encryption
    • Encryption can help businesses protect sensitive data in transit and at rest. This can include using SSL/TLS encryption for web traffic and implementing disk encryption for laptops and other mobile devices.
  • Monitor Network Traffic
    • Network traffic monitoring (this includes logging, monitoring, and alerting) can help businesses detect and respond to security threats in real-time. This can include implementing intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS) and firewalls.
  • Conduct Regular Security Audits
    • Regular security audits can help businesses identify potential security vulnerabilities and address them before they are exploited.

Another important aspect of security included policies and procedures. There’s plenty of guidance for writing these, but they’re important for 2 main reasons: they provide 1) an objective reference for how businesses run their security, and 2) a reference for future leaders to be able to understand and implement appropriate security in the organization.

Contact a Trusted Advisor

Are you concerned about the security of your business network? Our company offers a range of security solutions designed to help businesses proactively identify and address potential security threats before they are exploited by threat actors. When you need help assessing and testing your network security controls, our team of security experts is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the next step towards securing your organization’s network.