Physical security in network security

The Role of Physical Security in Network Security

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Physical security plays a crucial function in protecting valuable data and information. With the ever-changing work environment and employee behavior, there are new network security threats. Physical security may sound like a no-brainer. However, new forms of attacks, unauthorized access, and theft of computer hardware occur all too often. This threat has made devices more portable and easier to steal.

While most cybersecurity solutions concentrate on anti-malware tools, firewall configurations, and other data security measures, however, physical security of IT resources is just as important. Most of these devices undeniably include valuable organization information, which a disgruntled employee can exploit. Moreover, most users are extremely lax about security, increasing network security threats. In fact, a survey by cloud security firm, Morphean, showed that 77% of IT managers stated that physical security is not optimized.

The best approach is to stay proactive when it comes to risk management, computer and network security, and keeping your employees safe through security awareness training, specifically on layered security.

What are some common data security considerations?

Data Security describes all the processes involved in keeping accounts, databases, and files connected to a network safe. Safety measures for data security would involve implementing a set of controls, strategies, and applications that detect the comparative value of various datasets, regulatory compliance requirements, their intricacies, and then using applicable defenses to secure those resources.

There are certain data security considerations that your network administrator must know.

  • Who can access your data? You need to consider the number of people who can access your data and regulate it. Knowing who can access your data is an essential data security consideration. Unchecked access and occasional permission reviews render your data vulnerable and place your business at risk of data theft or abuse.
  • Where is your data stored? Without knowing the location of your data, it may be difficult to protect your data. You need to consider if your data is safe in that location or if it is vulnerable to an attack. Your data can be stored offline, online, or cloud storage. Aside from the storage device, it would help if you also considered your storage medium, data usability, space considerations, selective archiving, as well as offline vs. online storage.
  • How valuable is your data? The value of data varies from one hacker to the other. You need to determine the value of your data and what digital or physical security measures would be appropriate. You need to establish diverse levels of confidentiality and values for your organization data and also design the appropriate security protocols for each. The more valuable the data, the more appealing it would be for malicious hackers. Use appropriate measures to make stealing and unauthorized access to sensitive data exceedingly difficult for attackers.
  • How can you ensure real-time alerting and continuous monitoring of data? You don’t only need real-time alerting and continuous monitoring of your data for compliance reasons alone. You also need to be able to identify suspicious computer behavior, shady accounts, and unusual file activity before they escalate into a full-blown attack.

What are the primary threats to physical security?

Physical security focus on the strategy, application, and preservation of countermeasures that can defend the physical resources of a business. The primary threats to physical security include possible acts of human failure or error, inadvertent acts, deliberate acts of espionage or trespass, possible changes in quality of service by service providers, and natural disasters.

A deliberate act of espionage could include a competitor entering into an organization with a camera or a disgruntled employee physically stealing sensitive data for malicious intent. It could also include software attacks, acts of theft, vandalism, sabotage, information extortion, and compromise of intellectual property.

Natural acts could include lightning bolts, floods, or earthquakes, which can physically destroy valuable data. Likewise, possible changes in quality of service by service providers, particularly water and power outage, could also serve as a physical security threat.

How can we protect physical security?

The possibilities of one of your physical assets being stolen are increasingly high, and stolen mobile devices present an even greater threat. A large transport organization would recover an excessive number of lost devices, not to talk of devices forgotten in taxis, airplanes, trams,  rideshare vehicles, and so on. You can do the following to ensure the physical security of your mobile device:

1. Password-protect your tablet and phones

Almost everyone has a mobile device and all it takes is for your phone to fall off your pockets, bag, or be forgotten in a taxi for a malicious actor to cause considerable damage. As simple as this sounds, locking your phone with a password will slow down the attacker from accessing your device. Sadly, only a few smartphone users lock their phones with a PIN or pattern.

2. Use anti-malware and anti-virus protection

Most computers come with anti-malware software and you can easily download a verified anti-virus application for your mobile phones. However, most users overlook these features giving room to the increasing number of viruses and malware programs available today.

3. Deliberately monitor and configure application privacy settings

Most applications afford users with a privacy setting that allows them to choose what types of information and how much data are to be transferred or stored. To ensure mobile security, you need to select the least amount of data-sharing options available.

4. Allow remote location and device-clearing

Some apps help to track your device when they are stolen or missing. They can also enable remote access so you can clear valuable information from your device. This ensures that even when your gadgets end up in the hands of a malicious attacker, at least they can’t access your sensitive information.

5. Do not ‘allow’ automatic backup

While it is good to backup your data, you still want to ensure you’re the only one who can access the backup or at least someone you authorize. Disable automatic backup so your device won’t share sensitive photos, videos, chats, and other information with other cloud users.

6. Constantly back up your device data

Another physical security strategy ignored for mobile devices is the need to backup sensitive information. Most smartphones now come with automatic backup options that you can use and there are other online backup options available. Even if your gadget is stolen or lost, you don’t have to lose valuable data.

Network security certifications validate best practices and the knowledge required for network security administrators to carry out their tasks effectively.

How can sensitive data be protected?

Taking proactive measures to ensure both digital and physical security can go a long way in protecting your data and mitigating potential attacks. Having an understanding of what you want to protect and designing a suitable approach for each level of data helps your organization to tackle any security issue that may arise.

Network security has become a challenging task for small and medium-sized organizations. This is because SMEs have tight cash flows, so they’ve had to compromise with network security. However, this has made them targets of cybersecurity attacks. You need to take certain steps to protect valuable information from attackers, including:

  • Sensitizing employees on the best network security practices
  • Training employees on the types of network securities and when they can be applied
  • Creating a BYOD policy to increase physical security
  • Introducing identity and access management (IAM) to make sure that all the company’s data is accessed securely
  • Ensure all your sensitive information is encrypted for maximum protection
  • Design policy to survive a potential data breach
  • Emphasize on password security to minimize vulnerability to malicious attacks
  • Always turn off your computers and laptops when they are not in use
  • Instead of issuing punishments for workers who report potential data loss or breaches, try to encourage them

Organizations need to adopt comprehensive security to prevent and mitigate unauthorized access to sensitive data.

About EC-Council’s Certified Network Defender certification program

Certified Network Defender (CND) training program provides you with the skills you need to protect your sensitive information against malicious agents, and also design a physical security plan.

It involves hands-on labs constructed through notable network security software, tools, and techniques that will provide the certified network administrator with real-world and up-to-date proficiencies about network security technologies and operations.

Click here for more information on EC-Council’s CND program.

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