Guest Blog: Best Network Security Practices For 2019

A guest blog from Andrew Gazdecki at Foxpass. Foxpass increases your organization’s server and network security by ensuring employee accounts have access only to what they need. Their cloud-based LDAP, RADIUS, and server access control systems help you bring best security practices to your infrastructure.

The network security industry is in a perpetual game of cat and rat (sorry, mouse is too innocent a nomenclature for cybercriminals). Almost as soon as network security professionals construct stronger obstacles to keep unwanted visitors out, those unscrupulous individuals find alternative routes and strategies to punch through and gain access.

While paying attention to up-and-coming trends and practices is great for professionals in any industry, it is imperative in the network security field. If you aren’t persistently keeping up with the latest security technology and best practices, you’re leaving your organization exposed and vulnerable to the newest cybercriminal tactics.

Here are some of the top network security practices for 2019 that you should be investigating and implementing into your own IT department.

Invest In Predictive Cybersecurity Protection

Big data analytics platforms continue to be championed in the Digital Age. The ability to process and understand large volumes of data in a short amount of time has essential security applications. Predictive cybersecurity protection helps automate the monitoring of network activity to give IT professionals more time to focus on other aspects of security. And, with powerful data processing capabilities, these systems are much more efficient at detecting risks than humans.

Sophisticated early warning analytics tools can help detect abnormal or fraudulent behaviors on the network and give security professionals more time to react and stop these actions. This is particularly important for businesses that conduct a high value of financial transactions. Predictive data analysis models are adept at detecting fraudulent exchanges or purchases and flagging them for review.

Keep An Eye Out For Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) Protocols

Analytics is powered by advances in AI and machine learning. These technologies carry over into other upcoming trends for network security, such as programs with the ability to evaluate and self-protect themselves from potential threats and vulnerabilities. RASP-enabled programs have an added security effort that monitors for possible attacks (think SQL injections and other application-level threats) and remedies any vulnerabilities found.

Again, the power of this trend is in its ability to work autonomously to detect and defend against network security attacks, which frees up valuable human capital in the IT department to

dedicate to tasks that require human intervention. Plus, these self-evaluating applications are much better at detecting issues that a user operator ever could be.

Consider Alternative Authentication Methods

The traditional username/password combination is the old guard of identity and authentication means. While it is still an extremely effective method, newer authentication strategies can add additional dimensions to your security, particularly when it comes to guaranteeing that data is accessed and transmitted safely.

Authentication technologies like 2-factor authentication or biometric readers are beginning to outshine simple password protection. In some cases, they are faster than entering a password and promote better network and information security. 2019 is set up to potentially be the year that we see very prevalent use of biometric, voice and other authentication methods, while traditional password protection usage declines.

Offer Stricter Internal Security Training And Guidelines

No matter how sturdy your walls are, they can’t guarantee your protection, particularly if you have weak internal security practices. As organizations create more and more data, add more devices to their networks and create more users, the risk of internal security weaknesses increases. Enterprises need to focus more attention on educating employees to recognize safe and unsafe actions while engaging with applications, data or the Internet while on the company network.

There are many tactics that you can implement to improve internal security:

● Dedicate a team or individual as the head of internal network security. It will be their chief responsibility to stop insider threats from occurring.

● Limit the number of personal, outside devices that connect to the network.

● Perform routine phishing and network security simulations on users to find employees that need additional education in detecting fraudulent communications.

● Construct stricter security guidelines to govern employees working remotely or during business travel, as these users present additional risks to the network and its data.

Closer Monitoring of User And File Activity

Unfortunately, better education and training for employees doesn’t exactly guarantee total internal security. Sure, it helps reduce the number of accidental security mistakes, like an employee unknowingly being tricked by a phishing scam, but it doesn’t prevent intentional, malicious attempts from insiders to steal or corrupt valuable data and information.

Thus, businesses should re-evaluate how they control user and file activities and permissions. It may be advantageous to implement an identity and access management (IAM) solution to

monitor who has access to what data, information, and applications. This type of tool can significantly improve security and even enhance the usage of network resources.

More Frequent Auditing Of Permissions

However you choose to manage your user and file activities and access, it is essential that you routinely audit those user permissions. As time goes on and projects end or employees move up, down or across the organizational ladder, authorities may need to be adjusted. In other words, employees often have access to data, applications, and files that they no longer need. Access to these resources should be removed so, if there is an internal breach or a user’s identity is compromised, the damage is minimal.

In a perfect network security world, users would only have access to the information and resources they needed in the present moment. The issue is those needs are impossible to predict, which means users would always be waiting for permission approval and the entire organization would grind to a halt. By routinely checking user permissions versus their present and (as best we can predict) future needs, we can find and remove access to files that are no longer needed.

Conclusions

We’re only just breaking the surface of 2019. There’s plenty more left to come and see and understand in the year. Again, as network security professionals it is not just a “good idea” to pay attention to the latest trends and security best practices, but our strict responsibility. While the trends enclosed in this discussion are a great start and should each be explored and considered, don’t forget to check back for more emerging trends in the future routinely.

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