A robust network infrastructure security is very important for modern businesses. It will ensure that you can do efficient business communication. Your teams will stay more productive and you can do safe operations. If you are not taking proper security measures, then it can lead to data breaches, costly setbacks, and poor user experience. In this article, we are going to talk about Network infrastructure security.
Definition of Network Infrastructure Security
Network Infrastructure Security simply refers to the set of processes and measures that protects a network’s underlying software and hardware. Every network should have some defensive measures for protecting its network.
Most companies are using firewalls, VPNs, and access controls for protecting their data. Intrusion detection systems and encryption are also heavily used in the industry. Every device in your network can act as an entry point for an attacker. Network infrastructure security’s aim is to ensure that attackers can’t steal, control, and delete your network resources. The main aim of network infrastructure security is to protect these devices:
- Domain Name system.
- LAN cards.
- Cables and switches.
It also focuses on protecting your networking software. Network infrastructure is vulnerable to attacks like DDoS attacks, spam, malware, man-in-the-middle-attacks, and unauthorized access. However, you also need to deal with insider threats.
Sometimes your own employees can modify the data by mistake. There is also a chance of device theft. Data leakage is another big security issue. Thus, you should ensure that you are dealing properly with insider threats.
Working of Network Infrastructure Security
You need a holistic approach for implementing network infrastructure security. Thus, you need to combine the ongoing processes and best practices to ensure that your network is safe. The security measures that you will use will depend on your legal obligations, network requirement, and industry-specific regulations.
Every company should run a network security audit. This will help you in understanding your network’s needs and weaknesses. If you want a more detailed analysis, then you can use vulnerability assessments. You can even organize a penetration test.
If you understand your network needs, then you can use the best practices for protecting your network. Businesses can also use the universal standards for protecting their network. These universal standards include data backups, top facility security, strong passwords, and data encryption.
Segmentation of Network Resources
Network Segmentation is one of the best ways to increase your network security. In this, you will break your network into smaller segments. Every segment will have its own security protocols, access controls, and firewalls. This will ensure that your network admin can group infrastructure resources into subnets according to the risk level, system criticality, and security issues.
Network segmentation won’t help you in preventing an attack. However, it will help you in reducing the impact of a data breach. It will ensure that the intruder can’t spread a malicious file across your network devices and systems. Also, they will get access to a small segment of the network only. It is not possible to move laterally in the network if you are using segmentation. If you are using network segmentation, then attackers can’t use your network for starting a DDoS attack.
You should also focus on segregating your network resources according to their functionality and role. It will help your network admin in separating the important network segments from other less important segments.
Limiting Attack Surface
Your Infrastructure attack surface is equal to the sum of all the networking elements that a hacker can attack. It will include the following things generally:
- Networking applications.
- Network admins.
- Endpoint devices.
You should focus on limiting the attack surface. This can be done by removing all the unused network services, apps, and devices. You should monitor all the 3rd party services and components for vulnerabilities. Make sure that you are regularly updating your networking software with the latest updates and patches.
You should also consider implementing the principle of least privilege. The least privilege simply means that your users should have only the resources that they need. Also, try to segregate all critical apps and systems. You should also consider implementing MFA for protecting your network.
You should start by mapping the attack surface. After that, you can start reducing the attack surface. Your network admins should ensure that they have a list of all the network versions, assets, and devices.
Protect Network Infrastructure Devices
You should focus on hardening your devices. This will ensure that your network devices are protected. Some of the practices that you can follow are:
- You should use SNMP version 3 for managing your network.
- Should maintain a good system for monitoring your logs.
- You should limit admin privileges for infrastructure devices.
- Make sure that all the network devices have the latest security patches.
- Back up all your network configurations and store them offline.
- You should have a control access list.
- Restrict access to switches, servers, and routers.
- Make sure that you are protecting access to the virtual terminal lines and console.
- Don’t use unnecessary services on switches and routers like HTTP, Bootstrap Protocol, and SNMP.
- Make sure that you are not using unencrypted for managing your network infrastructure.
Remove unnecessary communications
If you are allowing peer-to-peer communication between your workstations, then you are creating serious network infrastructure weaknesses. It is important to ensure that you are removing useless peer-to-peer communications from your network. If some attacker gets access to your host, then they can easily reach additional resources.
You can use host-based firewalls for restricting communications. This will ensure that the packets can’t flow from the hosts. You can also use a VLAN access control list. This will help you in controlling access. Thus, you can restrict unnecessary communications between network devices. You should also learn about zero-trust security. It is one of the best strategies to protect your network from intruders. You can use it for ensuring that attackers can’t expand in your network.
Why network infrastructure security is important?
Network infrastructure is a common target for experienced and novice hackers. The network equipment generally has multiple vulnerabilities. It has a large attack surface with multiple endpoints. Attackers can generally use social engineering attacks for gaining network access.
Most companies don’t invest in their employees. Their employees don’t know about cyber threats. Thus, they are easy to trick. There are various security flaws in the network. This is mostly due to constantly evolving setups and needs. Some of the connected devices will always stay poorly protected. They need special care from the security team.
There are various legacy protocols that companies use. They are generally unencrypted in nature. Sometimes network admins forget to change the default vendor settings.
Attackers will first try to attack network infrastructure as it is easy to target. If an attacker gets access to your network, then they can do anything. They can collect your sensitive data and install ransomware on your devices. Also, they can stay silent in your network. They will steal as much data as they can.
Different Types of Network Infrastructure Security
There are various approaches that you can use for protecting your networking equipment and software. Some of the common types are:
- Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): You can use these systems for monitoring any dangerous activity in your network.
- Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS): IDS will help you in monitoring for malicious activity. However, you need IPS for automatically responding to these threats.
- Firewalls: A firewall is a gatekeeping program or device that will allow or prevent traffic from entering your network.
- App security: You can use app-specific measures for locking down your potential weak points.
- Virtual private networks (VPNs): A VPN will help you in encrypting the connection between different endpoints. This will ensure that you can securely connect to the internet.
- Access Control: It will ensure that only authorized users can access your network software or hardware.
- Anti-virus program: These security solutions will help you in monitoring and eliminating software-based threats. You can use it for eliminating anti-virus from your network. It will also protect your system from phishing attacks, spam, threats, URL, spyware, keyloggers, and adware.
Advantages of Network Infrastructure Security
There are various benefits of network infrastructure security. It will ensure that you can defend and control the software and hardware running the network. Some of the most important benefits of network infrastructure security are:
- Better network performance: Reliable network infrastructure will improve your network performance. It will increase network uptime. Thus, you can easily provide better services to your customers. You will have better app performance and you can easily expand your network.
- Secure BYOD: BYOD or Bring-your-own-device is becoming more popular with time. Companies want to take advantage of it. If you have good network infrastructure security, then you can easily identify BYOD-related issues. This will ensure that you can allow BYOD policy. Thus, your employees will also stay happy.
- Improved bandwidth: Good network infrastructure security will help you in managing your network bandwidth capacity. You can save a lot of money by improving your flow characteristics.
- Limited attack radius: It is almost impossible to prevent a data breach. However, you can always limit the scope of an attack. Network infrastructure security will help you in limiting the attack radius. In case of a security breach, the security protocols will inform your security team. This will ensure that the malicious actor will have less time to do real damage. You can also stop lateral movement in your network.
- Identify improperly used devices: You should ensure that you are using all the network devices properly. Some network devices are placed in the place where they are barely used. They can be used in places where they are critically required. Proper network infrastructure monitoring will help you in identifying this problem. You can redirect your resources. Thus, it will help you in saving a lot of money and resources.
Challenges of Network Infrastructure Security
There are only benefits to improving your network infrastructure protection. However, it comes with its own set of challenges. These are some common challenges that you will face when improving network infrastructure security:
- If you are using various cybersecurity providers, then you should ensure that the tools are sending the right tool. This can be very complex.
- If there are various business sites and subnets, then you centralizing traffic will be hard for you. Network management, monitoring, and visibility are also hard.
- It is very important to remove duplicate data from your network. This will help you in improving your network infrastructure security. If your security solutions are processing too much redundant data, then they will become less effective.
These are some common difficulties that you will face while implementing network infrastructure security. However, the biggest challenge is an uninformed or careless employee. Your employees are going to be the weakest link to your security strategy.
You can solve this by ensuring that your staff members understand the best security practices. They should understand the importance of securing your infrastructure. Your employees should know what to do if they find some suspicious activity. They should report it to the correct people. Make sure that your employees understand how you protect your networking software and device.
The good network infrastructure will help you in reducing operational costs. It will also improve the productivity of your employees. Your sensitive data will stay safe. There is no perfect security strategy that can stop 100% of the attack attempts. However, you should focus on minimizing the impact of a data breach. You can quickly restore your systems and data. Thus, you should consider improving your network infrastructure security. However, it is difficult to implement these complex security solutions if you don’t have access to a large IT security team. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire can help you in solving this problem. They have access to a large IT security team. Thus, they will help you in improving your network infrastructure security. If you need more information regarding IT security services, then you can contact Bleuwire.