Besides fending off external attacks, companies should also be aware of insider threats and risks that have become increasingly common. Such a double whammy can lead to serious consequences and even prove fatal to small businesses.
Stats say that cybersecurity incidents cost companies (regardless of size) $200,000 on average, meaning that some could go out of business within 6 months.
Here are 8 network security management best practices that will help you fortify your organization’s cyber defense and prevent breaches that could threaten your network.
- Adopt a formal information security governance framework
- Prevent data loss
- Perform regular data backups
- Watch out for social engineering attacks
- Educate your employees
- Onboard new employees and third-party users
- Keep your software up to date
- Build an incident response plan
Now let’s look into each of these in more detail:
1. Adopt a Formal Information Security Governance Framework
Implementing an information security governance framework plays a crucial role in ensuring good network security.
While having a top-notch cybersecurity tool stack is also a must, this framework will help your team learn how to identify attacks, investigate them, and respond proactively.
But what exactly is information security governance?
This term refers to how your organization implements and manages a cyber security strategy, meaning that it outlines security procedures, protocols, and policies. Information security governance makes sure your organization manages information in an industry-compliant way.
For example, companies need to set up secure industry-compliant data retention policies and archive all their email, SMS, and social media correspondence in a searchable format that can’t be modified. Information security governance regulates all this and helps you stay on top of the latest data protection and compliance laws.
Such a meticulous approach to compliance means that you’ll be prepared for potential audits regarding your information security procedures.
|Related: Data Retention Policy: Examples and Best Practices|
2. Prevent Data Loss
When it comes to best practices for network security, trusting your employees blindly isn’t one of them.
While employee loyalty is a good thing, that’s not a strategy that will prevent internal data breaches. The truth is that some employees inadvertently expose or even steal data, causing serious harm to organizations, with new stats showing a 40% increase in data exposure events between 2020 and 2021.
That’s why it’s crucial to implement data loss prevention (DLP) software, whose purpose is to monitor your network and spot whether an employee is violating sensitive data security policies by transferring it to an unsafe system or creating an authorized copy.
This way, you can prevent both accidental and malicious leaks as the DLP can be used to control who has access to confidential data and monitor the activity of your employees, vendors, and contractors.
|Related: Social Media Ediscovery and Investigating Employee Misconduct|
3. Perform Regular Data Backups
Businesses collect, produce, and store massive amounts of data, and losing any of these could have a crippling effect. Backing up your data is another good network security practice, as it can help you prevent data loss.
With regular backups, you can rest assured you won’t lose your data to a ransomware attack, accidental file deletions, or corruption.
To protect your sensitive company data against any of these incidents, one of the best network security management practices is to create at least three copies of your files, one of which will be off-site. Backing up your data to the cloud is safe, but you should still have one offline copy, just in case.
|Related: Email Archiving vs. Email Backup|
4. Watch Out for Social Engineering Attacks
Social engineering is an intricate and sly tactic used for obtaining passwords and login credentials through psychological manipulation.
So, the trouble is that social engineering doesn’t leverage traditional hacking tools and techniques for performing a data breach. And that’s exactly why they can be difficult to prevent because your organization’s data protection policies and state-of-the-art software can’t minimize human error.
Hackers use social engineering to trick employees into trusting them and divulge sensitive information without employees even being aware. These attacks can come in the form of emails, phone calls, and other communication channels.
And while there are no dedicated tools to stop social engineering attacks, the following section will discuss one of the best computer networking best practices you can take advantage of.
5. Educate Your Employees
Educating and training your staff will minimize the risk of social engineering attacks and other threats playing on their lack of tech-savvy skills.
As cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated, it’s essential to make sure your employees are up to date with the latest trends in this area so that they can eliminate falling victim to these scams.
Don’t imply that everyone knows the basics of cyber security and organize training sessions where they will learn more about:
- Creating strong passwords,
- What phishing is and what a phishing email looks like,
- Potentially dangerous applications and how they work
- Data protection policies, procedures, and regulations.
|Related: Phishing Test: Check Your Employees’ Resilience|
6. Onboard New Employees and Third-Party Users
The onboarding process for your new hires, vendors, and contractors should contain the best practices for network security management.
This way, you won’t have to worry about whether they’re aware of all the cyber security risks and policies.
In addition to that, include relevant procedures and policies clearly stating everyone’s responsibilities in employment contracts. Ensuring you’re all on the same page regarding IT security practices is essential for keeping your organization safe.
7. Keep Your Software Up to Date
One of the biggest and most reckless mistakes you can make is not updating your software regularly.
Don’t forget that cybercriminals are always on the prowl to identify system vulnerabilities, which means that they’re inventing new ways and tools that will allow them to break into companies’ networks.
By installing security patches and updating your software on a regular basis, you will be able to keep these threats at bay.
8. Build an Incident Response Plan
Even if you’ve taken all the security measures we’ve discussed so far, you can still suffer a system breach.
To prevent the worst-case scenario, it’s important to have an incident response plan ready in advance. This will allow you and your employees to act quickly, mitigate the potential consequences of the breach, and start the recovery procedures right away.
Should organizations be concerned with internal security threats? Absolutely! Both internal and external security threats can be extremely expensive both in terms of money and the reputation of your company. That’s why you should implement these best practices for network security management and stay compliant with your industry’s latest data security regulations and protocols.
Jatheon is a company specializing in long-term data retention for compliance, ediscovery and FOIA-request management. Our secure on-premise and AWS-based cloud solutions come with backup, disaster recovery and redundancy features and are used by enterprises across the globe. To learn more about our products and services, contact us or book a demo.