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6 ways to strengthen network security and maintain a competitive edge

Companies across industries are facing new business complexities and challenges. As you pivot to stay competitive, it’s critical to prioritize network security. The following six best practices can help you defend your organization and wisely navigate the minefield of evolving cyberrisks.

Integrate for enterprise-wide visibility.

Security is no longer just a problem for the IT team; it’s also a business issue. As organizations digitally transform, the entire enterprise is vulnerable to cyberthreats. That’s why it’s crucial to have full visibility into the network.

Creating a single view of the network and infrastructure means integrating technologies and applications from different vendors while maintaining control and insights in one place.

That means data from across many systems is brought together, analyzed and connected to deliver key metrics and expose threats that might need action. The right tool not only provides a view of your enterprise’s current security posture, but also reveals changes from day to day. It’s a simple way to determine whether there’s more risk today than yesterday and what might have changed.

Adopt a continuous risk monitoring strategy.

Cybercrime has become a multibillion-dollar industry, and attackers are becoming more sophisticated.

It’s time to start defending against and mitigating continuous threats rather than looking at building walls and tackling single, isolated events. If you’re serious about improving speed to market, deploy a tool that continuously monitors network activity and pinpoints unusual behavior. 

Risk monitoring systems integrate multiple sources of data (logs, security information and event management [SIEM], and analytics platforms) to capture and display the abnormal behavior of users, devices and systems. More importantly, given that undetected threats can impact speed to market, they can automate the process of translating information-security vulnerabilities into business risk for stakeholders.

Align network, collaboration and security teams.

As remote work increases and employee use their own devices, companies are putting more network functions in the cloud, with many services owned by departments outside of IT. And as that continues, companies are working on accomplishing IT-business strategic alignment around what stays on-premises and what can be moved to the cloud.

As new platforms are being funded and launched from across the organization, it’s critical for IT to communicate across departments—to understand what different business units need in order to do their jobs and to educate employees on the risks of using non-IT-approved devices. 

The first step toward a more secure environment is to ensure that the company is operating with a single vision of all systems, users and information. Organizations should reach outside the typical silos to develop a cohesive plan and processes.


 

Today, the enterprise security environment is everywhere. Employees use their own devices for work.  Network functions are on-premises and in the cloud.  Departments launch their own platforms without IT, and employees aren’t sure about which tools to use. To make everything more secure, companies need one view of all systems, users and information.

 


Think beyond the perimeter to a global environment.

Companies are managing an increasingly sprawling and complex architecture of networks, clouds and vendors. They often have to work with multiple vendors to get the network solutions they need. Protecting the security perimeter is getting harder as the threats get more sophisticated and the perimeter becomes more difficult to identify.

Such a moving target can drive up security costs, making it harder to deploy security updates and obscuring threat visibility. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to look beyond the perimeter to ensure that third-party providers, employees using their own devices or partners with integrated processes have made sure their networks aren’t vulnerable.

Many security operations centers are also ingesting global threat intelligence gathered from open-source intelligence and feeds from SIEM in hope of gaining a more comprehensive understanding of current and potential external and internal threats.

Develop a methodology for responding to security risks.

Preventive technologies not only miss too many targeted attacks, they also don’t have the ability to identify and remediate ongoing exploits. For most enterprises, it’s no longer about if but when an attack will happen. It’s not enough to follow best practices and industry regulations. Companies also have to identify all possible threats and vulnerabilities, assess the impact when a certain type of attack occurs and prioritize mitigation strategies during an incident.

This requires a shift from an IT-led view of security to the creation of a transparent incident response plan that everyone can follow. And this doesn’t just mean a response plan for one team. It should involve every part of the organization, including public relations and business continuity plans across the company.

So in addition to getting employees on board with a cybersecurity strategy, be sure to engage and gain support from the rest of the C-suite.

As networks become more complex and have more attack surfaces to manage, it’s harder to get meaningful and actionable insights around the return on investment (ROI) for different policies or systems. That’s why an enterprise-risk-based approach is important for prioritizing ROI.

Simplify risk reporting to prevent security gaps.

     Network security risks come from multiple fronts:

  • External bad actors that drop clues about their activities in public places and on the dark web. Are you gathering external data to identify potential threats?
  • Internal systems where malware, unwanted programs and dual-use tools that open the door to malicious coders hide. Do you regularly monitor your IT infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities?
  • Company culture and processes that neglect security. Are you updating and maintaining a company process to prevent potential employee-related breaches?
  • Vendors with poor security-posture ratings. Do you regularly evaluate the security posture of your partners to spot potential weaknesses?

Risk reporting, which continuously monitors and benchmarks threats wherever they come from, eliminates these silos and enables one unified approach to enterprise security. Verizon’s Cyber Risk Monitoring tool, for example, presents the company’s threat landscape through a dashboard that scores overall security and pinpoints vulnerabilities.

To learn more about how enterprises can be more proactive in addressing risks to the security landscape, download the Incident Preparedness and Response Report.

Security starts here.

Let us help you take a strategic approach to data protection and the security of your network and mobile devices.