Network Security: Best Practices for Optimal Performance

The Scientific World
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Network security is very important for every organization to protect its data from threats. Here are some best practices and standards should you implement to optimize network performance and build strong cybersecurity defenses against hackers.

Network security best practices

Network Security Best Practices for Optimal Performance

Protecting a company's network and cloud is essential to keep it protected against the action of malicious outside agents. However, popular IT security strategies such as the adoption of Firewalls and VPNs are no longer sufficient to prevent threats. It was with this in mind that the zero trust model emerged, which aims to expand the protection of data stored in the cloud. Traditional security parameters cannot block all threats that attack these kinds of systems.

There are many network security practices in an organization, but the most beneficial is the Zero Trust Model. It is one of the best methods to secure data in a company. Every organization requires network security solutions to protect its data from threats.


What is Zero Trust? 

Most companies rely on Zero Trust Models for securing data in their companies. But the question is, What is Zero Trust? It is a security framework model that assumes no trust, even for users or devices in the network perimeter. The zero trust security model was created in 2010 by analyst John Kindervag while working at Forrester Research as an alternative to traditional security models based on perimeters and credentials. These models rely on firewalls and passwords to protect data within the corporate network.

Today, we can say that no one is safe from cyber attackers - both large companies and small and medium-sized businesses become their victims. 


Benefits of the Zero Trust Security Model for Protecting Unstructured Data

It is predicted that the zero-trust security market will reach $52 billion by 2026. A zero-trust method is essential for every business, organization, or entity in the digital world. Traditional approaches, for the most part, focus on strengthening the perimeter to deter criminals. But that is no longer enough. 

Resources, data, infrastructure, and devices are increasingly hybrid, moving beyond the perimeter of the enterprise itself.  Since the zero trust security model offers several benefits for protecting unstructured data, such as:

  • Increased security: By constantly scanning all network elements as well as applying policies to unstructured data, the model reduces the attack surface as well as minimizes the impact of data leaks and breaches.
  • Productivity optimization: By allowing users to access unstructured data in an agile and personalized way, according to their identity, context, behavior, and risk, the zero trust security model improves the user experience and collaboration.
  • Improved compliance: By protecting and managing unstructured data according to its sensitivity and criticality level, the zero-trust security model facilitates compliance with current rules and regulations.
  • Cost reduction: By simplifying and automating the verification, protection, and monitoring processes of unstructured data, the zero trust security model reduces operational and administrative costs associated with information security. 


The Zero Trust Security Model is Made Up of Three Main Pillars:

The zero-trust security models eliminate the idea of ​​a trusted perimeter and treat all network elements as potentially hostile. Rather than relying on static credentials or positive and negative lists. The model is made up of three main pillar which are as follow:

  • Identity: Refers to verifying the identity of users and devices attempting to access unstructured data. This can be done through solutions such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), identity as well as access management (IAM), as well as identity lifecycle management (ILM).
  • Data: Refers to the protection of unstructured data in transit. This can be done through solutions such as encryption, data loss prevention (DLP), data classification and labeling, and granular data access control, i.e. Digital Rights Management – ​​DRM.
  • Network: Refers to the segmentation of the network into isolated micro perimeters that restrict the lateral movement of attackers or malicious users. This can be done through solutions based on SDP – Software Defined Perimeter, web application firewall (WAF), internal firewall (NGFW), and virtual private network (VPN – even with serious vulnerabilities, it is better than pure remote access by standard protocols).


How to Implement the Zero Trust Security Model in Your Company?

Implementing the zero-trust security model in your company requires a cultural and technological shift. It is not just about acquiring new tools or solutions, it is about adopting a new mindset and approach to secure your unstructured data.

To do this, these steps can be followed:

  • Assess your current scenario: Identify your infrastructure, your processes, and your current policies related to the security of your unstructured data. Identify your main vulnerabilities, threats, and risks. 
  • Define your objectives: Establish what your objectives are when implementing the zero-trust security model in your company. For example: increasing the trust of your customers and partners; ensuring compliance with current rules and regulations; reducing costs and risks associated with information security; etc.
  • Build a plan: Build a detailed plan for implementing the zero-trust security model in your organization. Define which solutions you will use for each pillar of the model (identity, data, and network); what steps you are going to follow to implement them; what resources you will need; what indicators you will monitor; etc.
  • Execute the plan: Execute the plan you have developed for implementing the zero-trust security model in your organization. Conduct pilot tests; train your users; make adjustments as needed, etc.
  • Evaluate the results: Evaluate the results obtained by implementing the zero-trust security model in your company. Compare them with the previously defined objectives; check for improved security of your unstructured data; identify lessons learned, etc.


Some more Network Security Management Practices

The zero trust model uses a dynamic and adaptive approach to verify the identity of users and the context of requests. Some more network security management practices are as follow:

  • Employ efficient policy development, communication as well as execution
  • Execute network segregation
  • Utilize automation in workflow and incident reaction when possible
  • Take steps to stop insider theft or loss of data
  • Set up a strong end-user learning program
  • Have a useful networking monitoring service in organizations


Final Words

To sum it up, implementing the Zero Trust Model will help companies to combat threats and data breaches. Its objective is to make an informational network more secure. It is based on the notion that no one, not even internal users of the company itself, can be trusted without first validating their credentials.

Following the philosophy behind the zero trust approach, no one can be trusted until they are verified or authenticated. It is a holistic, strategic approach to security that ensures everyone, both people and devices, is legitimate so that access can be granted. Thus, to protect data from threats in today’s world, zero trust should be implemented by organizations.

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