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Why You Need a Back to Basics Approach for Network Security

Travis Abrams
by Travis Abrams on May 15, 2017 8:00:00 AM

With the abundance of cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities today, it can be tempting to see purchasing the latest security appliances and software as the light at the end of the tunnel. But even the most advanced network security system cannot completely secure an organization that has not built its security strategy on the fundamental best practices. 

In fact, instead of rushing to vet the latest firewalls or buy licences for endpoint protection, IT teams should go back to basics. Specifically focusing on three basic tenets of a strong baseline security strategy: visibility, data protection and user management. Beginning with visibility, we’ll discuss each of these in a separate blog.

Why back to basics?

In a recent McAfee Threat Report (December 2016), 26 percent of security practitioners acknowledge operating in a reactive mode despite having a plan for a proactive security operation (https://www.mcafee.com/us/resources/reports/rp-quarterly-threats-dec-2016.pdf). In other words, it’s hard to keep up with the sheer volume of security concerns. From data breaches to ransomware, for those in charge of locking down networks it seems as if there is no escape from the cyberthreats of our modern, connected workplaces. With many security vendors offering network appliances and security software that promise to protect data, it’s easy to feel like the only way out is to “spend to secure.” The trouble is IT budgets (let alone security budgets) are already limited. Getting back to the basics – addressing the fundamental pain points of most networks – can help stretch budgets, create efficiencies and build a more secure IT environment overall.

Know your network

The most basic aspect of securing your network is knowing exactly what is running on it. Being able to identify every system and visibility.pngapplication is essential to providing comprehensive security. In other words, if you don’t know what’s supposed to be on the network, there’s no way to completely secure it. Good visibility means being able to see the logs coming from the systems and knowing everything is configured correctly.  

Increase simplicity

The more devices and applications running on a network, the more difficult it is to track down potential vulnerabilities and the harder it becomes to identify threats. Today’s networks are complex, especially given how likely organizations are to be deploying public, private or hybrid cloud environments, so without exceptional network visibility, security is a challenge. Having visibility into the entire network increases the ability of IT to respond to any potential threats.

Reduce downtime

IT’s ability to see the network it needs to manage can be a difference-maker, not only for security management but in maintaining network availability. High visibility is critical to troubleshooting and resolving any potential issues that could arise and lead to network downtime. Maintaining network visibility therefore becomes not only a good IT security decision, but a strong business decision as downtime can mean lost revenue.

Support your existing security investments

Network security appliances and tools are only able to protect what they know is out there. Without network visibility, it’s impossible for existing security tools to be as effective as possible.

The first tenet of a best-in-class security strategy is network visibility. Knowing exactly how a network is set up helps IT respond to the ever-changing threat landscape, allowing administrators to protect networks with much of the same agility potential attackers use. In this way, visibility is not only about security, it’s about IT performance.

Look for upcoming blogs that address the next steps in the back-to-basics approach: data protection and user account management.  Also, view our infographic on how to get back to basics with your cyber security program.

Ready to have DG help you get back to basics? Contact us today and schedule a complimentary consultation with our team of security specialists.

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Travis Abrams
Written by Travis Abrams
Results-driven, information security professional with a proven record of success in researching, planning and implementing innovative technical solutions that meet business needs while managing risk. Specialties: Intrusion Prevention and Detection, Data Loss Prevention, Vulnerability Management, Malware (APT) defense and Security Program Development. CISSP CISM
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