Why Do You Need a Network Security Checklist?
Security experts are fond of saying that data is most at risk when it’s on the move, according to the Federal Communications Commission, so no wonder you continually work with your team to come up with the ultimate network security checklist. Since data is mobile and shareable in modern business, perhaps above all else to users, it is your duty and challenge as a dedicated IT leader to constantly keep everything safely in check.
A network security checklist is the best way to help you feel comfortable that everything is battened down and locked up, safe from the prying eyes of cyber criminals. It is critical to remember, however, that no matter how thorough your checklist at any time, you need to plan for regular updates to keep up with the wildly rapid advances in technology that constantly keeps your organization’s information privacy and protection goal posts moving.
Keep a Few Key Factors in Mind When Building Your Network Security Checklist
Since nearly all businesses rely on the fluidity of data, as well as its ironclad protection while traveling through the cyber sphere, you must find a solution that satisfies both needs equally. And of course there isn’t just one single answer; instead, it is an intricate and full-scale process.
With all the complexities involved with network security in the midst of so much continual change and advancement in technology, it might help you to focus on a few key factors before beginning work on your network security checklist:
- Modern Networks Are Large, Inter-connected, Complex and Vulnerable. By desire and design, networks have become behemoth information portals that feature ubiquitous protocols, such as IPs, and proprietary protocols. The former is where most vulnerabilities lie, states Cisco, since determined and savvy hackers can easily find in-roads to your system via IP breaches over the internet and heavily connected networks.
- Computer Systems and Their Attached Applications Increasingly Become More Complex. As computer systems become more sophisticated — handling more processes and data at greater speeds and power levels — they also become more challenging to manage. Add in the advent and increasing adoption of virtualization, and it is easy to understand why computing risks continue to soar. Even with all the challenges involved with network security, as long as you and your IT team, as well as your entire staff, remember the importance of confidentiality, integrity and the consistent availability of your system and all of its data, your carefully constructed network security checklist will serve as an effective guide and safeguard.
Build Your Organization’s Network Security Checklist
You probably already have a list of areas you want to cover for network security, but you might wonder how to manage it all without feeling like you are chasing your tail. It may help you and your team to build a solid network security foundation by building a checklist under which you can monitor and adapt specific aspects of security, as necessary.
Breaking your security duties down into the following manageable sections and by creating actionable checklists will help you and your team feel confident that haven’t missed any issues and that your system is constantly running safely and seamlessly:
Administrative Controls and Prevention Measures
Have you updated your technology user manual and made sure everyone understands their terms of usage? Since user error is often the weakest link in any network chain, it is critical that you make sure all staff network users — including employees, management and the executive team — understand the need to understand and comply with the basic safety precautions when using your organization’s computing system, including the following for a solid start:
- Set Training Schedules: Set up training sessions that teach everyone precautions to keep data safe, such as creating and tending to unique passwords.
- Create a Comprehensive User Manual: Give everyone who uses company technology a copy of your comprehensive guide to the rules of usage, and require everyone to return a signed agreement before beginning active use on their own account.
- Ensure Use of Two Factor Authentication (2FA): Require multi factor authentication to keep entry to your system safe. Ask staff to choose an extra piece of identifying information in addition to their user name and password for an extra layer of system protection.
Policy Controls to Protect Your Network
With some overlap of administrative controls, policy controls are essential to getting your staff, management and executives on board to make your job easier. Protecting your network security system is truly best as a company-wide effort. It is far easier for you and your IT team to plan and enforce internal policies than missing a detail that makes it possible for an employee to inadvertently invite an intrusion. The ramifications of a cyber invasion, on any scale, far outweigh your preventive measures, which include:
- Network Security Policy
- Internet Usage Policy
- BYOD Policy
- Acceptable Use Policy
- Remote Access Policy
- Email and Communications Policy
- Encryption Policy
A Server Deployment Checklist
Along with managing policies and user agreements, tending to your servers is a key ingredient for any network security checklist. Create and maintain a running list of servers that your organization uses, including the name of each, its purpose, the IP address, date of service, service tag and rack location. Make sure that your server checklist is easily adjustable to allow for new entries and other malleable information. Other information to add to your server checklist includes:
- The responsible party who knows the reason for a particular server.
- Note naming conventions to identify irregular traffic from familiar names on the network.
Additional items to add to your checklist include the following:
- Router Considerations
- Firewall Considerations
- Antivirus Considerations
- Switch Considerations
There is still so much more that you can add to your network security checklist to make it as comprehensive as you and your organization feel is necessary. The more detailed your checklist, the better, so if you have the time to invest in expanding your checklist, you will rest easier each day.
Consider Outside Assistance to Compile the Ultimate Network Security Checklist
Depending on the size of your organization and the sensitivity of your data, it may help you to enlist a professional team of network security specialists who continually monitor the industry for vulnerabilities that may affect you. I.S. Partners, LLC. can help you create, or update, a solid network security checklist that gives you and your IT unprecedented system confidence. Call us today at 215-675-1400 to learn more about how we can help you.