Network security management refers to the processes and systems that administrators put into place for the purpose of overseeing, regulating and safeguarding an organization’s network infrastructure.

A network security management strategy protects the heart of an organization – keeping employees productive, products competitive and the business resilient, even as disaster strikes.

Amidst a scattershot matrix of users, devices, locations and applications, all operating in a tempestuous threat landscape, how comprehensive (and effective) is your network security management strategy? Could your organization level-up?

Network security management

Discover essential elements of an effective network security management strategy right here. Get actionable recommendations designed to help elevate your organization’s security posture. Be ready for whatever comes next.

1. Establish a network security management framework. Organizations often create ad-hoc network security management strategies, resulting in vulnerabilities.

Recommendation: Avoid this. Establish a clear means of managing network security – from roles to resources. Ensure alignment with other strategy elements, as outlined below. Create a cohesive and comprehensive approach.

2. Identify all network assets. For a network security management strategy to work, it has to include absolutely everything on the network, accounting for the risks associated with all resources.

Recommendation: Maintain a comprehensive inventory of network resources and regularly update it, as to include new devices, applications and services.

3. Analyze points of concern. After identifying network resources, identify more expansive infrastructure risks that could compromise network integrity.

Recommendation: Employ threat modeling techniques to find and evaluate infrastructure risks. Prioritize security efforts based on high-impact areas and scenarios.

In addition, collaborate with cross-functional teams (ex. IT and legal) in order to ensure that all points of concern are addressed in a holistic and comprehensive way.

4. Establish network security policies. The right network security policies can substantially enhance an organization’s cyber security posture.

Recommendation: Create policies that address specific risks associated with your organization’s assets – ex. servers, endpoints and IoT devices.

In addition, ensure that network security policies remain in compliance with relevant cyber security guidelines. Conduct periodic policy reviews to ensure alignment with the latest frameworks, standards and regulations.

5. Adopt a robust authentication and authorization framework. Advanced identity authentication mechanisms render it more difficult for hackers to gain unauthorized access to resources. In this day in age, advanced auth is a no-brainer.

Recommendation: Re-enforce your enterprise security with multi-factor authentication (MFA), role-based access controls and zero trust.

6. Perform regular network audits. Network audits can reveal misconfigurations, compliance gaps and general vulnerabilities. They provide a snapshot of the network’s security posture, helping organizations sidestep major potential pain points.

Recommendation: Create a recurring audit schedule (quarterly or annually) for assessing network components. In your assessment process, leverage automated tools. After audit completion, document your findings, plan remediations, and track progress.

7. Focus on firewalls. Your organization’s firewalls need to deliver.

Recommendation: Redesign existing gateways. Opt for high-performing firewalls that provide AI-powered threat prevention. Ensure that your organization can block both known and unknown threats.

8. Adopt a centralized network management solution. Centralized network management allows for extensive visibility into a wide range of threats across your ecosystem.

Whether you’re in the cloud, the data center or both, centralized management also allows for comprehensive threat detection and simplified compliance.

Recommendation: In essence, centralized network management provides superior protection (as compared to a trove of point solutions) and ensures a stronger security posture. Find a reputable vendor and apply a centralized network management solution.

9. Ensure the resilience of network security. CISOs and cyber security leaders need to design networks with redundancies and failover mechanisms – at all levels.

On product release day, when your organization suddenly sees website traffic spike by 880%, your network needs to be available. When APT 29 attempts to strike, your network should also be available.

Recommendation: Define your network requirements, design the necessary systems, and ensure availability in 99.9% of instances.

It should also be assumed that breaches will occur – update your IR plans so that they prioritize reducing impact and expediting recovery times.

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