How to Assess Your Network Security

Risk. It’s a part of any business plan. But if there’s one area where you need to reduce or eradicate risk as much as possible it has to be cybersecurity, particularly network security.

Targeted attacks on an individual laptop or workstation make for good cinema, and are certainly a concern for sensitive industries, but this isn’t the main risk for most businesses.  If there’s going to be a data breach it will most likely happen on the network. 

Keeping your network secure, however, is no small task and pulls in all kinds of considerations from endpoint protection to how companies secure their resources in data centers and the cloud. 

Nevertheless, there are some key considerations to watch out for when it comes to network security. 

Web-Based Attacks

One of the most important aspects of network security is preventing and mitigating web-based attacks. When employees are browsing online they risk exposure to any number of threats such as downloading ransomware or other malicious payloads, or being fooled into handing over sensitive information on phishing sites.

You could help combat this with endpoint protection, and that’s an important piece to be sure; however, it’s best to beef up this protection with a Secure Web Gateway (SWG). A SWG can analyze traffic before it’s rendered on employee devices, cutting down on the number of potential threats the endpoint protection has to deal with. 

On top of that, a SWG can keep employees from visiting known malicious sites, or sites that a company views as problematic such as time-wasting sites, gambling sites, and so on.

Tool Sprawl  

Tool sprawl is an easy problem to encounter as it slowly grows over time, and usually from the best intentions of maximizing security for an organization. The more tools you have, however, the more difficult it becomes to keep track of the status of your network as you switch between several dashboards.

What’s needed is to use a converged network security platform that brings multiple tools into one single solution. The converged solution should also display key details on a single dashboard. That’s why so many companies turn to Perimeter 81’s solution. It gives them the ability to see and control their Firewall-as-a-Service, Zero Trust Network Access settings, and Secure Web Gateway in one spot.

Supply Chain Attacks

When most people think of supply chain attacks they think about stories of government operatives installing backdoors on networking hardware before it leaves the U.S. for a rival country. That, however, is just one version of supply chain attacks, and the most exotic to be sure. 

The far more mundane supply chain attack is something like what happened to Target in 2013. Hackers infiltrated the systems of a third party that had the contract for Target’s HVAC maintenance. Unfortunately for Target, the maintenance company had overly permissive access to Target’s internal network. Those access privileges then gave hackers the edge they needed to infiltrate Target. Eventually the hackers gained access to sensitive systems including the retailer’s point-of-sale devices where they were able to extract millions of credit card records. 

To avoid nightmare scenarios like this it’s best to give third-party contractors access to only what they need to carry out their duties, just as you would with employees. The trouble is contractors are coming in on unmanaged devices. That’s why agentless Zero Trust Network Access is a crucial tool for dealing with outsiders–as well as employees who need access on unmanaged devices. 

Agentless ZTNA allows access via a web portal that is not visible from the public Internet. These portals allow access to specific applications within your network and nothing else. That way the network remains secure and everyone who needs access on unmanaged devices can still get it.

Uncover More Risks

Network security is an expansive concern that can end up touching multiple facets of general security practices. This isn’t surprising since the network is the front door to your company’s digital assets. That’s why taking network security needs to be top of mind for companies of any size.

We’ve only looked at a few of the problems that can affect network security. Some of these risks, such as web-based attacks, are well known, while others are less obvious such as the risks associated with giving trusted outsiders overly permissive access. 

Give yourself a better understanding of your network and the risks you need to mitigate. Take our free network security risk assessment. It takes about three minutes and will provide you with actionable items that can increase your network security.