Critical Measures for Network Infrastructure Security and Monitoring

The application of modern technologies has seen enterprises expand their networks. Subsequently, the need for continuous monitoring has become critical to ensuring optimum network security and performance. Most organizations today deal with a common problem of achieving better security and monitoringof essential networks.

Network monitoring in a business

Network monitoring is a process of continuous tracking of network activities to identify security problems or issues. It also detects overloaded resources, such as network connections and servers, and malfunctioning devices. Businesses can monitor networks using dedicated appliances or applications attached to the network infrastructure, diagnostics tools, and command-line interfaces that provide network visibility and diagnostics.

Network infrastructure security monitoring uses various metrics, such as availability (uptime), configuration (hardware, application, and system inventory settings), and performance. The metrics’ aspects require network administrators with vast experience and knowledge in network configurations, security, performance, and topologies to monitor and manage the network. Once network monitoring identifies a security problem, the network administrator must respond quickly and efficiently to protect a business from attacks.

In most cases, small businesses use cloud networks where most of the components are cloud-based, hence relatively easy to monitor and manage security policies. An administrator would only need to monitor and manage the cloud-hosted servers network components without necessarily understanding their core technologies. However, enterprises with complex networks that run on a wide variety of network infrastructure require additional support to manage and monitor their networks effectively.

While necessary network security monitoring is essential, it is arguably more critical to procure monitoring tools that provide security teams with real-time visibility and security statistics. The more systems, components, and appliances are installed in a network, the higher the possibility of an attack. Hackers often exploit vulnerabilities in network components to gain access and steal information. Most network security monitoring systems inform a company once a security problem has been detected. 

Importance in intrusion detection and prevention

Network infrastructure security monitoring provides data used to analyze traffic flows to identify anomalies. It examines network systems’ overall integrity and structure to protect a business from numerous possible exploits and vulnerabilities. For instance, network security monitoring analyzes various complex factors like network protocols, network payload, traffic flow, traffic patterns, encrypted traffic patterns, and client-server communication. A comprehensive network monitoring program aims to provide administrators with real-time notifications of malicious events to contain cybersecurity threats.

The best network security infrastructure monitoring is using tools that give round the clock monitoring services. Such systems must monitor the networks installed in a business environment and isolate suspicious behavior from normal behavior to discern existing vulnerabilities. Providing security teams with timely notifications of malicious threats facilitates quick investigation and evaluation of unusual user patterns and implemented appropriate protective measures.

Unlike basic network monitoring that only evaluates performance, network infrastructure security monitoring is vital in detecting intrusions and attack methods. Network monitoring identifies a wide range of attacks, including zero-day threats, new malware and threats, to inform evidence-based protection decisions. Businesses should understand that an attack and data exfiltration happens in seconds and should, therefore, invest in a quality and proven network security monitoring system.

Best network monitoring and security practices

  1. Network security audits

A network security audit is a process through which businesses investigate the implemented network security policies. The audit involves all network assets to identify those with possible security deficiencies that can lead to a breach or attack. A third-party security services provider is best suited to run a network security audit on businesses lacking the capacity to conduct the procedure internally. A network infrastructure security audit includes processes such as:

  • Network firewall configurations and architectures: the audit determines the types of implemented firewall solutions and where they are deployed (at the perimeter or between assets). It also ensures the firewall configurations are accurate and up to date to prevent malicious exploitations.
  • Identifying network assets: a network security audit identifies the assets connected to a network, including the software and operating systems they run on. Identifying network assets is crucial to determining potential weaknesses that provide attack entry points.
  • Network security procedures and policies: an audit investigates existing network security policies, such as bring your own device (BYOD), and recommends necessary ones to enhance security.
  • Risk assessment: risk assessment is a core component of a network security audit as it identifies risks in a network and connected assets. Risk identification is crucial to effective risk management and mitigation.
  1. Cybersecurity awareness and training

Company employees are the largest weak link in the organization’s network security architecture. Many employees innocently connect vulnerable devices to a network providing hackers with an ample opportunity to attack. In other incidents, employees fall victim to hacking schemes and expose a network to multiple security threats. Training and awareness are effective strategies for educating employees about the best security practices and enhance network security.

  1. Implement access control privileges

Users with legitimate network access account are responsible for most of the malicious insider attacks reported in a business. An enterprise can prevent such attacks by applying access control policies, such as role-based access control and least privilege access control. The access control approaches provide employees with selective access to network access resources, thus reducing security risks. Besides, access control measures restrict network users to the minimum access required to perform core responsibilities to minimize insider threats like data theft. Therefore, it is an efficient method of tracking user activities and limiting access to critical network components.

GlobalCSA Intrusion Detection and Prevention

Many businesses have network administrators who collect network log data for analysis. However, collecting the information may cause challenges like the inability to separate network operation problems from network security issues.

At GlobalCSA, our network monitoring solutions can manage, filter, and analyze network traffic data such that it is possible to identify the security issue accurately. We deploy network monitoring solutions to determine whether an event is a regular network incident or a disruptive and malicious activity.