If you work on a business network, you may have gradually upgraded components. Perhaps you needed to add a new firewall or better monitoring through a TAP port. As these upgrades slowly increase, it is easy to reach a point of having an overly-complex and insecure network. These are some tips on how to simplify it all and make your security stronger.
1) Cut Down on the Tools
There are some amazing modern tools that can help you achieve a lot. However, every team only has the capacity to understand and effectively apply a certain number of tools. If you have too many for the people and resources at your disposal, you are going to be vulnerable. Try to shrink the stack and make your whole network setup simpler.
It is far better to have a simpler network made up of tools you know how to use. In many cases, this will also mean working with fewer vendors. Reducing the number of vendors that you are working with is another way to simplify. You could switch some of your monitoring gear to a single provider. This means that your tools will generally work together more easily.
2) Measure Everything
One of the most common challenges in keeping a network organized and secure is visibility. When you can’t see what is happening on your network, you will have a hard time keeping it in good working order. Many routers will let you monitor using a software solution. However, it may be helpful to use a hardware solution such as a network TAP.
These relatively simple additions to your network can give you the powerful monitoring you need to keep track of what is happening with your network. Unlike a software solution, a TAP can operate without interrupting the time relationships of frames.
3) Avoid Complexity Vulnerabilities
Some modern technologies such as asymmetric routing offer some significant performance benefits but increase complexity. This can lead to vulnerabilities. In the case of asymmetry, you will have a hard time monitoring, analyzing and securing traffic because it is split between two lanes.
Fortunately, there are often solutions that can help cut down some of the complexity. Secure asymmetric routing solutions, for example, allow traffic to flow on multiple routes but monitor the entirety of it. This means that you won’t lose your ability to measure or secure your traffic just because you have a more advanced routing system.
4) Practice Good Network Hygiene
This is perhaps the issue in which most organizations are woefully inadequate. Patching your devices and updating software is important. Similarly, you need to make sure that those backup policies are being adhered to and that passwords are as secure as they are supposed to be. In short, you need to make sure you are keeping your practices in line with your policies.
Poor network hygiene is a quick way to create complexity and weaken your network. However, it happens all the time because people get apathetic. Spend some time auditing your systems and make sure that everything is in good working order. At the same time, work with your people to make sure they are following your network security policies.
6) Automate Wherever You Can
Network automation can help you achieve more with fewer resources. While the initial set up can require some investment, the return is significant. This process will help you configure, deploy. Test and measure your physical and virtual network devices more easily. That means significant time savings for your people down the road.
You can also automate tasks that are unnecessarily repetitive. For example, log analysis is a common network task that could be automated significantly. The same goes for incident responses.
Discover more about how you can simplify and secure your network. With the right set of tools, it is easier to run an effective and well-organized network for your business. Get started simplifying today.