Your organization’s network is the entry point through which users access all of your company’s systems, data, and intellectual capital. A viable, high-speed network is an essential part of every business’s computing environment. Employees need to be able to quickly obtain the information they need. Businesses that make use of eCommerce also need to provide access to allow external users to interact with their systems.
Without a network, your computing resources are just a bunch of unconnected machines that do not furnish anywhere near the value they do when they can communicate with each other. It forms the backbone of your IT infrastructure and enables your enterprise to function effectively.
As the entry point into your systems, the network poses an inviting target for cybercriminals. Millions of attacks are conducted daily with almost no entity immune from risk. Falling victim to one of these forays can lead to severe negative consequences for the afflicted organization.
Network Security Threats
Cybercriminals use a variety of methods to attack a company’s infrastructure and data. In some cases, the intent is to simply cause damage to the enterprise by destroying data or shutting down systems. Other attacks are designed to gain entry for the purpose of stealing data. Both categories of attack can result in serious financial losses and negative publicity for the affected organization.
Here are some of the common types of attacks to which your company may be exposed.
- Viruses and worms are malicious programs that can impact your core systems and may destroy data or impact system functionality. They can rapidly spread throughout a computing environment and lay dormant until triggered by an event or timer.
- Phishing attacks are used to deliver malware or entice users to divulge login credentials or other sensitive information. The only real defense against phishing is rigorous training to identify phishing schemes and avoid falling for their illegitimate claims.
- Distributed denial of service (DDoS) can bring your business to a grinding halt. In this kind of attack, the goal is to overwhelm an enterprise’s servers with requests for data, rendering them inoperable. A DDoS attack can put a company that relies on eCommerce out of business by shutting down the ability to serve their customers.
- Advanced persistent threats (APT) are attacks where the perpetrator gains access to your systems and remains undetected. Instead of causing immediate damage, the APT goes about its business of stealing login credentials and other important information quietly.
- Ransomware can be delivered via phishing or other types of network intrusions. It is a particularly nasty kind of malware that encrypts system data and holds it for ransom. Your data may be lost whether or not the ransom is paid.
Protecting Your Network
Not all cybercriminals attempt to get into your network. Delivering a phishing email does not require anything more than an unsuspecting employee clicking on a malicious link. It is imperative that everyone in your organization is trained on security measures to minimize the risk of inadvertently assisting criminals intent on delivering ransomware that might cripple your business. The best cyber defenses are only effective if they are implemented throughout the enterprise.
Protecting your infrastructure from infection with viruses or malware requires anti-virus tools to be used across the environment. The goal is to delete or quarantine malicious and destructive programs before they can carry out their malevolent mission. Once a machine is infected, it can be used as a platform for replicating the problem to other systems. Anti-virus software needs to be constantly updated to address the new cyber threats that appear regularly.
With those factors in mind, one of the most effective ways of protecting your organization against cyberattacks is to keep unauthorized users out of your network. It’s much more difficult to control what a rogue user does once they access your systems than it is to keep them out. That’s why you don’t let just anyone into the party you’re throwing at your house. Once uninvited guests are inside it can be challenging to make them leave without causing damage. At the very least, they may grab a bottle of wine on the way out the door.
A comprehensive strategy must be employed to secure your network from ill-intentioned intruders. It includes enforcing strong password policies as well as firewalls to help control access to your infrastructure. It takes a strong, multi-faceted defense to thwart the teams of cybercriminals infesting the Internet.
Verifying That Your Defenses are Working
Implementing hardened security measures that are meant to keep unauthorized users from accessing your network is your best defense against cybercrime. However, it is not enough to rely exclusively on these tactics. You also need to vigilantly monitor your network to ensure that nothing has escaped your attention or slipped through your defenses. Cybercriminals who are determined to breach your security will not give up easily and will try new avenues with which to compromise your systems.
IDERA’s Uptime Infrastructure Monitor is a monitoring tool that gives you visibility across your entire network. It can be used to tune network performance as well as to provide insight into unusual network events that may indicate you are under attack or already been compromised. Uptime enables you to quickly identify the cause of network problems so they can be addressed. Issues such as excessive bandwidth usage can be recognized, which may be a sign of an attempted DDoS attack. Having this information available can only strengthen your defenses against cyberattacks directed at your network.
Keeping your IT infrastructure safe from cybercriminals is a complicated undertaking with many interconnected parts. Monitoring is one of the components that can help you limit access to your system to authorized users. Force the criminals to find another network to pillage and save that bottle of wine for a relaxing evening with your invited guests.