Security measures for your corporate network

Nowadays, more and more corporate devices and systems are connected via the internet to exchange information. The “internet of things” is becoming an increasingly significant and almost tangible matter, including business applications, cloud infrastructure, and data storage.
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As more devices communicate with each other via networks, we have become dependent on the availability of corporate networks. If a component or system suddenly goes offline, this can harm daily business operations.

In an era of digitization, most business activities occur on a corporate network, so hackers and malicious third parties are becoming more active in their plots to attack networks and servers. Organizations make financial transactions and store all confidential data on the company network, including personal data like credit card details.

Risks

A weak or unsecured network can create risk. According to the cybersecurity company Malwarebytes, the number of cyberattacks on corporate networks has sharply increased in recent years. In the first 3 months of 2019, this number grew by 235% compared to the same period in 2018. Malwarebytes detected a total of 9.552.414 attacks. On the other hand, the number of attacks on consumers dropped since hackers have less to gain from minor, personal attacks (nu.nl, 2019).

Cyberattacks come in various shapes and sizes and can target corporate networks, hardware, or software. For example, they can limit the availability and performance of the network or focus on espionage, information theft, and even information destruction. These attacks can have significant repercussions for companies, negatively influencing their daily operations and causing financial damage due to the theft of financial resources, production disruptions, reputation damage, and the loss of customers and income.

Companies are becoming increasingly aware that the proper security of corporate networks is a crucial factor in guaranteeing safe and continuous operations.

Colocation security

Data centers ensure, among other things, a stable and conditioned environment for the hardware due to numerous protection measures such as climate control, constant power supply, and fire protection. Data centers must also provide policies, precautions, and physical security measures to prevent unauthorized access to the equipment (and the applications running on it) within. Read more about colocation security.

However, with colocation, organizations themselves manage all the different facets of the hardware and the corporate network. As a colocation customer, it is imperative to take proper measures to protect all data running on the hardware and the corporate network to guarantee availability, integrity, confidentiality, and network capacity.

What is network security?

Network security includes all measures designed to protect the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of a network to control the risks regarding all communication. This includes solutions that are both hardware and software related. Each layer of measures implements different policies and controls to allow only authorized users access to the network, with multiple components working together to ensure the most secure network environment possible.

What measures can you take?

There are various measures you can take to protect your company data:

1: Create a policy

Securing a network starts with the formulation of a policy. Rules must describe what is and isn’t permitted by mapping out possible sources of threats. It is vital to continuously monitor compliance according to the policy and recognize the issues that still need improvement.

2: Install anti-malware & virus software

Malware is short for malicious software and includes viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware. Malware invades a network through an exploit or a bug that endangers the recipient’s software or hardware. The exploit is distributed via websites, advertisement pop-ups, an attachment in an e-mail, or app downloads. The risk is not limited to desktop computers and laptops – malware can enter the corporate network through mobile devices too.

Malware infects a network to collect sensitive information, share data with third parties, take systems down, take servers hostage, or move financial resources. Good antivirus software not only scans for malware upon arrival but also continuously monitors files to find deviations, remove malware, and repair damaged files. Never forget to continuously update the corporate software and the servers to ensure the systems remain constantly protected.

3: Use firewalls

A firewall forms a barrier between the trusted internal network and external non-trusted networks. Firewalls are an effective first line of defense regarding access to a network. It focuses on various threats and prevents them from entering or spreading into a network. A firewall protects everything that is “behind” the network against everything “in front” of it. Usually, the “front” of the firewall is the side facing the internet, and the “back” is the internal network. A firewall acts as a gatekeeper and determines which packages can continue and which cannot.

4: Anti-DDoS solutions

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. The purpose of a DDoS attack is to make a server, service, or infrastructure inaccessible by sending an enormous amount of bandwidth, causing an overload and slowing down or blocking legitimate traffic. An anti-DDoS solution can detect and block DDoS attacks so that a server remains accessible.

DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly common. According to NBIP, a joint venture between internet providers, the number of DDoS attacks has sharply risen in recent years. In 2018 this number grew by 15% compared to the year before. ING and ABN AMRO, for example, became victims of DDoS attacks several times. The servers became overloaded, affecting consumers, online stores, and services.

Various parties on the market offer anti-DDoS solutions. Read more about i3D.net’s unique Anti-DDoS solution.

5: Use Intrusion Detection Systems & Intrusion Prevention Systems

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) can automatically detect unauthorized access to network equipment (such as modems, routers, and switches). IDS and IPS are sometimes confused with firewalls. The most significant difference is that the firewall filters and blocks traffic, while IDS and IPS can check the contents of data packets. IDS passively view packets of data going through the network and can trigger an alarm on suspicious activity detection. IPS, on the other hand, are active, immediately blocking external attacks.

6: VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. With a secure, encrypted VPN connection, external devices can connect to a local network, such as a corporate network. Data traffic is sent via this network to an external server and back through an encrypted, secure connection.

Keep paying attention

Preventing cyber-attacks and threats starts with creating awareness. The lurking dangers must first be identified by the organization, followed by informing all employees about the protocols. Securing a company network involves multiple layers. It is essential to use multiple solutions on different layers so that they still offer protection if one of them fails. In short, combining different scalable solutions leads to the safest possible result. But don’t forget, cybercriminals come up with new attack methods every day, so it’s crucial to keep evolving your network security too.

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