Trends in Technology

The 5 Inadvertent Ways That Enterprises Compromise Their Network Security

September 21, 2020 by Bobby J Davidson
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The 5 Inadvertent Ways That Enterprises Compromise Their Network SecurityIt doesn’t come as a surprise to most that strong network security is absolutely essential. However, creating and maintaining a bulletproof network is something that remains an elusive goal for many enterprises. Organizations of all sizes and types are struggling with the challenge of ensuring that every potential gap is sealed securely.

Most enterprises are even failing at baseline attempts to keep their networks safe from attacks and infiltration, making them vulnerable to data theft and malicious attacks. To highlight just how serious this problem is we are going to outline five of the leading ways in which enterprises are inadvertently compromising their network security, and just how they can fix these oversights.

1.    Using VPNs as a Security Band-Aid

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) play a major role in most security strategies for enterprises as they are accepted widely to be the best way to secure the data ecosystem of an enterprise. However, most of these VPNs are vulnerable, old, and have proven to contribute to most major cyberattacks. The surprising thing is that VPNs have been in the cybersecurity market for over 2 decades, which is considered ancient by industry standards.

This dated technology clogs firewall rule sets, neuters protection systems and intrusion detection, and adds to the complexity of properly securing and administering networks. A better alternative to the risk-laden VPN technology is Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) technology. The great thing about SDP is that it is a straightforward, zero=trust framework that secures network access, reduces overhead cost, and neutralizes adversaries. It has a better security profile than VPNs because VPN technology is outdated and will continue to present major risks to enterprises.

To better manage and reduce their cyber risk, enterprises should retire and replace VPNs with the more efficient, secure, and effective SDP technology.

2.    Relying on One Solution to Patch Vulnerabilities

It’s not enough for enterprises to identify a gap and then buy hardware or software widgets to fill those breaches. Security professionals are expected to deal with events that threaten their network security and implement continuous testing to ensure the device in question doesn’t get compromised. Otherwise, the organization will be wasting its precious and scant security budget.

Purchasing a widget without deploying controls for assurance testing is wasteful, and so are evaluating and installing the widget and conducting employee training later. The worst part is that even without continuous testing and management, IT offers a false sense of security to enterprise directors as it claims that the organization is fully protected against tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) addressed by the investment.

3.    Outdated or Poorly-Architected Network Design

A lot of organizations compromise their network security inadvertently by not ensuring that they properly segment and architect their networks. An organization could be exposed to threats across all their data by failing to segment assets based on their security needs. That problem could sometimes stem from the business side instead of the technology side, as the business, operationally, may not have understood what types of information require more secure protections.

When you don’t segment network assets properly and securely, there’s no insight into how traffic will be flowing between high and low sensitive areas. That’s because there are no checks and balances in place. Without gateways or firewalls that are regulating flow from low to high-security areas. For segmenting these assets, businesses should be identifying what’s most sensitive to the organization, and thus create security zones that offer proper protection for high-risk information.

4.    Not Providing Adequate IoT and OT Protection

When it comes to IoT and Operational Technology security, the most common mistake is not performing continuous network security monitoring to identify unauthorized or anomalous activities quickly. As you can’t place agents on IoT/OT devices, they’re frequently unmanaged and unseen by IT, so you would need agentless monitoring at the network layer to analyze that traffic and look for any behavorial anomalies. Most IoT/OT devices are seen as soft targets as they’re typically unpatched, left vulnerable, and come with default credentials with lots of open ports that offer a convenient gateway for adversaries to gain access to corporate networks.

They can then start to steal intellectual property and trade secrets, deploy ransomware to disrupt operations, and even cause catastrophic safety and environmental incidents that may lead to corporate liability concerns. That level of continuous threat monitoring is just one element in a multi-layered IoT/OT security strategy. You also need to perform auto-discovery to understand what IoT/OT devices you have and how they’re communicating with one another, so that you can implement zero-trust, micro-segmentation policies.

5.    Failing to Stay Ahead of Emerging Threats

Planning and knowledge play a crucial role in helping enterprises stay one step ahead of network attackers. That’s why it is important to identify the most likely threats, including the personnel and data that are most likely to be targeted. It’s vital that you stay current with threat protection measures and keep the organization’s software current with updates and patches.

It’s also recommended to use a threat intelligence service for pinpointing threats and avoiding or minimizing the time, where persistent threats remain in the network architecture. The adverse consequences of a breach will multiply if the threat sits undetected in the IT structure of an organization for a long period.