How Your Business Can Benefit from a Network Security Policy

With the increasing complexity of cyberthreats and data breaches, companies must deploy robust measures to protect their networks. This is why a network security policy must be in place to create security guidelines for devices that transport and store company data.

An introduction to network security

Every company’s network is made up of devices that transmit and store information. This can include internal and external systems, either company-owned or leased.

To protect company data and reputation, it is essential to ensure the network is secured from unauthorized access, data loss, malware infestations and security breaches. This must be done via systematic end-to-end controls.

Key components of an effective network security policy

With a comprehensive network security policy in place, an organization can secure its data, reduce the risk of cyberthreats and maintain the trust of its customers and stakeholders.

A company’s network security policy must include robust network security measures such as guidelines on configuration, physical security, operating system security, application security and procedural security.

For example, a policy needs to clearly state that workstations, laptops, servers, switches, routers, firewalls, mobile devices and wireless access points should have access and security logging turned on, and these logs must be protected from tampering or erasure, either deliberate or accidental. Where possible, it is recommended that these logs be kept in a central location (via syslogging to a management server, for instance) and backed up periodically. Security alerts should be sent to IT personnel via group notifications rather than individual recipients, and all alerts should be acted on and documented immediately.

There should also be concise guidelines on protecting computer hardware and software from misuse, theft, unauthorized access or environmental hazards. Therefore, all devices should be kept in physically secure areas where possible — servers, backup devices, switches and routers located in a locked data center, and wireless access points in locked cabinets, etc. Only authorized individuals are permitted to enter these secure areas, and all access should be logged as necessary. Where possible, biometric controls, such as fingerprint or retinal scanners, should be used.

Lastly, the policy must cover adherence to checking the environment periodically to decommission all devices that are no longer in use. Ensure that backups are taken consistently and are reliable, so data can be restored if maliciously altered, lost, stolen or breached.

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