Network Security Policy – A Complete Guide
The organization’s security policy is an organization-wide document that sets out its security expectations. The Network Security Policy describes the security procedures and sanctions that will be applied to those who do not follow the doctrines. A poorly-defined network security policy can lead to loss of resources and opportunities. A poorly defined policy is useless and makes security a haphazard process that can be governed only by the person responsible.
A security policy, or security guidelines, is a set of rules that all persons who have access to the organization’s technology, assets, or resources must follow. The main purpose of a security policy is to inform staff and users about their obligations regarding the protection of data, information, and technology assets inside and outside the premises. This policy should outline the process by which these expectations will be met. A security policy should also outline the basis from which to acquire and configure computer networks and systems to comply with the policy. Effective security policies should be implemented throughout the organization with clear guidelines that employees can use to guide their activities.
This article aims to give a comprehensive understanding of how to enforce network security policy on protocols, communication, and devices in both a generic and uniform way. This article will focus more on the best practices and methods of implementing a network security policy as policies than actual implementation. Before we get to the main focus areas, let’s briefly review the reasons why we need a network safety policy.
Why create Network Security Policy
A well-structured policy can bring you many benefits, including:
- This document provides a guideline for security implementations and purchases
- Here are the steps you should take in the event of a security breach.
- This defines the technologies that are allowed and cannot be used in the network.
- Crates are a foundation for a legally binding course of action
- This defines the responsibility at every level of an organization for the implementation, funding, support, monitoring, and auditing of policies.
- This serves as a foundation for the evolution of Network Security.
Network Security Policy
Because there is virtually no one way to protect a network, there is no one solution. Intrusions can be external or internal. The best way to protect a network system is to use multiple layers of security barriers. An attacker will need to bypass multiple systems to gain access to the critical assets of the target.
To enforce a security policy, the first step is to identify the policy you want to enforce. To restrict employees’ day-to-day activities, security measures are put in place. Sometimes, security measures can prove “extremely” restrictive. This is why it is tempting to increase security regulations. These network measures are designed to simplify employees’ work in normal conditions. They also help to define the roles of each employee. These measures provide guidelines for how to respond to an abnormality. The following section explains how each principle in network security measures should be applied to protect valuable information and systems.
When designing your network’s security infrastructure you will need to prioritize different network segments based on their security requirements. Some servers will be open to all while others will only be available to selected employees. To ensure effective security across different categories and subdivisions, you will create barriers that are only accessible by certain traffic types, such as Semi-private networks, Public networks, and Private networks. These limitations can be created by devices like switches, gateways, bridges, and routers that control the inflow and outflow of packets to the different segments.
Each communication and monitoring device that is deployed in the network must be configured according to the policy. Access should be granted based on the privileges that have been assigned to the user. The operating system and inbuilt software must also be current. In the context of device security, you should consider the following steps:
- As soon as security updates are released by vendors, patches and security updates must be applied frequently.
- All services should be disabled if they are not being used.
- An NDA should be given to each employee regarding the non-disclosure of details about devices within the perimeter.
- To regulate UDP/TCP traffic, the company should keep ACL.
All policies that affect internet access include those that block all sites that are deemed inappropriate, particularly those related to social media platforms. The user’s work status should determine who has access to the internet. The internet and network in an organization are the same things as they connect crucial assets such as servers, accounts, etc. Access to the internet must be carefully monitored and filtered appropriately before being used.
VPN should only be used on company-owned computers. It provides data security as it travels over untrusted networks. Remote access to corporate networks should only be made via an operating system and a VPN that has been approved by the company. To prevent malicious access, remote access to company computers via the internet must be blocked. To provide sufficient protection to remote access to company computers, L2TP should be combined with IPSec. To filter client traffic, Firewalls must also be enabled.
Port Communication Policy
Only essential services like HTTP should be allowed to open, even if they aren’t in use. All other ports should be blocked, outbound and inbound. The likelihood of a system breach increases if there are several unneeded ports open. Ports that are directly connected to the internet should only be allowed or marked as ports in outbound connections. Only authorized communication services should be used.
Wireless LAN Policy
An effective network policy should include guidelines for user authentication, an algorithm for tracking anomalies on wireless LANs, and a method for replacing WEP to prevent abuse of wireless networks. 802.11 security should be used for encryption purposes. This includes TKIP, CCMP, and TKIP. Here is a list that shows some suspicious activity over a wireless network you should consider when trying to detect intrusions.
- Randomly changing MAC address
- Closed network with several incorrect SSIDs
- Beacon frames available from an unsolicited access point
- Frames with duplicate MAC addresses
Remote Connect Policy
Data breaches are becoming more common as more companies increase the number of employees connected to their networks. Most often, an attacker will take control of the session by blocking remote users and using their credentials for access to the Company’s network. An attacker may also exploit the system by mismanaging remote users’ confidential information. Only authorized users should have direct access to critical servers within an organization. Other users should only be allowed restricted access via remote login or SSH utility.
Firewall Rules Policy
Potential attackers can gain access to the network every time a user connects. Firewalls may be required at the connection point to protect private networks and communication facilities. These guidelines will help you when deploying firewalls to different segments of your network.
- Proxy firewalls are used to hide the identity of dedicated server access users.
- A packet-filtering firewall is recommended for traffic filtering that is based on the source port/IP address. It increases speed and reduces congestion.
- If transmission speed is not an important consideration, the state table inspection configuration may be suitable. It validates the connection dynamically, and forwards packets.
- NAT is recommended to complement firewalls when additional security measures are required for an organization’s network.
- If you need to regulate communication between your server and an IP address, IP packet filtering can be used.
To provide the most extreme defense, IDs must be kept for anomaly monitoring and detection. Firewall measures and anti-virus firewall measures are inadequate. Security personnel and risk managers should regularly inspect the system for suspicious activity. Advance Antivirus has an inbuilt IPS/IDS that can protect against elevated privileges, changed permissions, improper auditing rights, inactive user changes, registry modifications, and many other issues. IDS software’s can be configured over OS while intercepting IDS software’s is deployed as a hardware application fundamentally because of performance reasons
Proxy server policy
Proxy servers can be used to protect or attack users and are typically located between the user and the server. When deploying proxy servers, you must follow the following checklist.
- All services should have logging facilities
- Proxys should not accept connections from outside.
- The proxy must run on the most current software and patches.
Secure Communication Policy
Unencrypted data is vulnerable to attacks like session hijacking, spoofing, and sniffing. It is impossible to control the data being transmitted through your network. You can protect the data from any breach, or prevent the conveying channel or data from being accessible at a certain level. You can use ciphering techniques such as SSH, IPsec, and SSL to counter such attacks. They can virtually encrypt all types of communication, including HTTP, IMAP, and POP, FTP, and FTP. Because SSL packets can navigate through firewalls and NAT servers as long as the appropriate ports remain open on the device, this is possible. You need to take certain initiatives if you have to transmit data that is valuable to your company. Here are some examples of these initiatives.
- Make sure that MITM attacks do not interfere with data being transmitted.
- You must ensure that no unauthorized person is allowed to pass the conveyance channel between the source and server.
- It is necessary to authenticate the identity of computer users and those who send out packets.
Servers and systems, such as email, databases, web servers, etc., that need access to the internet must be installed on a subnet that is separate from the outside. This is done to prevent attacks by black hats as public domains can be accessed easily.
The primary goal of network security is to protect all assets’ confidentiality, availability, integrity, and privacy within the network’s perimeter. The remainder of this article will discuss components of network security policy. It will also give an overview of how it works. Finally, the article will show you how to monitor your network security using simple methods.
What is a Network Security Policy?
After conducting extensive research, every organization must develop a policy that takes into account various factors. However, the policy can be modified and adjusted as new technologies are developed or become more financially viable. These components may be part of a good policy.
- Scope and Statement of Authority should contain information about who funds and authorizes the policy, and how it directly affects people.
- Access policy– outlines acceptable access rules for network operators staff and users. It also defines specific privileges and responsibilities for different types of network users. These policies should include procedures for modifying software, setting up OS settings, adding software, and most importantly, adding new devices to a network. Network policy may include important elements of access policy.
- Acceptable Use Policy– Describes the behavior expected of users and defines technologies that can be used, such as pagers, cell phones, and computers.
- Wireless access policy outlines the conditions under which a wireless device may be used within a company’s network.
- Password policy – This policy defines the appearance and frequency with which passwords should be changed.
- Authentication Policy is more like an advanced password policy. It defines local access password policies and provides instructions for remote authentication.
- Availability statement– outlines what users should expect regarding resource availability. It should include information about known risks, recovery problems, and redundancy. It should include contact information for system or network malfunctions reporting.
- Security policy explains how switches and routers connecting to a production network need to be set up.
- Antivirus policy– states the tools and how they should be used.
- IT system maintenance policy– This policy defines who can access and manage the company’s technology. This policy should specify whether remote maintenance of technology can be allowed and under what circumstances. The policy should include details about whether outsourcing is allowed, how it is managed, and what process to follow if needed.
- Violations reporting Policy– Classifies violations according to the type and who they should be reported to. This policy should outline guidelines for handling security incidents outside of the home, who is responsible, and how to handle the situation depending on where they are located.
An Outline of a Network Security Policy
Wireless Communication Policy
The company will not allow access to unprotected wireless communications networks. Only systems that have an exclusive waiver or meet the requirements of this policy will allow access to a network.
This policy applies to all devices that are connected to an internal network. All wireless communication devices capable of transmitting packet data are included.
To comply with this policy, every wireless implementation must follow these steps:
- Keep a registered and traceable hardware location, i.e. MAC addresses.
- Keep point-to-point encryption to 56 bits at a minimum
- Provide strong authentication to verify against external databases like RADIUS, TACAS+, or something similar.
Any employee who violates these policies will be subject to disciplinary action that can lead to termination.
- User authentication – This should include the method of verifying that the wireless system is legitimate and independent from the computer or OS being used.
- Revision History
The reference can only be replaced by the client or company. This policy can be modified to fit perfectly into the existing policies or to create new ones.
Monitoring Network Security Policy
A comprehensive network security policy should include a standard for routine monitoring of the network. Monitoring a network’s security is intended to identify areas that are vulnerable to a hacker attack. Network monitoring is necessary to make sure that network users follow the policies.
Monitoring can be as easy as a systematic review and collection of log files that are generated by the network during normal operation. A pattern of failed logins could indicate that a user (or user) needs additional training, or that a malicious hacker attempt has been made. To monitor network traffic, sophisticated augmented systems can be found at the other end of the spectrum. Devices such as IDS can be used to monitor network traffic for signs such as signatures. The red flag is a signal that the IDS sensor has detected. This alerts the IDS director management console and initiates mitigation to avoid the attack. You can create a list within a router or firewall to block any contact from this source.
Security policies for networks revolve around protecting all resources on the network from further exploitation. This policy should cover all network devices, data, and media that are used to transmit information. You should now be able to understand the policy elements that are necessary for imposing policies that ensure a reliable, secure, robust, and resilient network architecture. To improve performance and protect against potential network vulnerability, an organization must design a policy that is compatible with all of its entities. Your network policy must be strong enough that it protects your system from many possible threats, including code injection, software bugs, malicious, and code buggery.