How to Merge Networking and Security in Organizational Structures

The shift from businesses physically located under one roof to organizations that hold their resources in the virtual space has been happening for the last decade or so. But the digital transformation has been significantly sped up during the pandemic, when most employees had to work remotely and rely on the business’s IT infrastructure to support their workload. 

Network architecture has had to adapt to all these changes, while satisfying high security and risk management requirements. That is why organizations are increasingly focusing on implementing efficient and flexible security systems into their networking architecture.

How to Improve Your Organization’s Network Security

The risk of security breach is costly, and is especially high with remote working where localized security measures have limited effect. This prompted organizations to combine multiple defensive layers and protect their resources, reputation and uninterrupted workflow. There are several ways your organization can improve its policies and practices to ensure that merging networking and security is as streamlined as possible.

1. Install Firewalls and Intrusion Prevention Systems

A firewall monitors incoming and outgoing traffic, and blocks traffic that is deemed to be suspicious based on a set of previously defined rules. Intrusion prevention systems scan traffic to block possible attacks, as well as prevent the spread of outbreaks.

2. Maintain a Reliable Anti-malware Software

A good anti-malware software will continuously run checks to detect, stop and/or remove any malicious software including viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and ransomware.

3. Start Using or Improve the Capacity of Your VPN

VPN or Virtual Private Network encrypts the connection between a device and a network, usually through an internet connection. It allows employees to access the company’s data by using a secure channel, even when connected through public internet. Your VPN’s capacity will determine how many employees can use it simultaneously while maintaining satisfying performance.

4. Control Access Vigilantly

Make sure that only authorized users have access to your network. It is equally important that every device with access uses updated software — everything from operating systems to malware detection programs. Whether built in-house or bought from a third-party, any software used on these devices must be protected and regularly updated. Make sure that your employees understand and follow this principle.

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5. Prevent Data Loss

Educate your staff not to send sensitive information beyond the organization’s protected network. Set up a policy that requires all passwords to be strong and changed in regular intervals. All network access should require two-step verification through an SMS, email, phone call or a code generating app. Emails are the most common entryway for security breaches, so make sure that your employees are educated on how to keep their messaging safe. Certain email clients offer secure messaging solutions to protect vital communication.

6. Consider Implementing Secure Access Service Edge 

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is network architecture that combines software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) with the security functions mentioned above. It is cloud-based and delivered through a SASE vendor, offering a single platform with high efficiency, security and appropriate bandwidth.

Since this is a cloud service, it can quickly easily be scaled up or down based on your organization’s needs. This makes it a good solution for businesses going through rapid changes. 

Security is Inseparable from Well-functioning Networks

When merging security with networking, priorities lie in choosing systems that are highly efficient, adaptable and easy to implement into the existing structure. Even though security threats are greater than ever, there are plenty of options to choose from that secure your organization’s networks at every entry point.

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