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Eight Most Common Network Vulnerabilities

Network security vulnerabilities are continuously evolving as bad actors seek to gain access to business networks. This article will break down three of the most common network vulnerabilities that threaten the security of your IT systems right now.

1. Lack of Patch Management

Patch management involves applying your technology vendors’ software updates promptly to help close new network vulnerabilities and improve the usefulness and performance of the software or hardware. Having a viable patch management process in place is very important to help mitigate risks from cyberattacks and malware. There are several steps in the patch management process:

  • Inventory your IT assets: Have IT or those managing your hardware and software create an inventory. This may include applications, devices, operating systems, and firmware.
  • Plan to deploy and test all patches: All patches that will be installed in your environment must have a deployment plan and be tested. This may include network downtime that may impact users.
  • Document and report: Document the results of the patch process and report to leadership on patches installed and vulnerabilities that are now mitigated.

2. Unauthorized Devices

Do not let unauthorized devices have access to your network. They can become one of the worst network vulnerabilities as they can house malware or other malicious software that can compromise your network security. Be sure to train your employees so they only plug in known and authorized devices into their machines and the network. Some devices to be cautious of include but are not limited to USB drives, MP2 players, digital cameras and more.

3. Poor Password Management

Businesses must utilize a strong password policy. Allowing employees to use weak passwords or use the same one to gain access to multiple systems will make your network more vulnerable to a phishing attack. Many companies are now using multi-factor authentication or are leveraging third-party password managers, which make it easier for employees to have multiple passwords without the need to remember them all. Here is a brief description of both tools:

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): As its name suggests, MFA requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to access an IT resource. With MFA in place, any bad actor must know multiple pieces of information to gain access.
  • Password managers: Password managers store all passwords in an encrypted database that is utilized to gain access to IT resources. Employees only need to remember the password for the password manager.

4. BYOD Connections

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are becoming much more common in today’s business landscape, but if not properly enforced, these devices could create network vulnerabilities you can’t afford. Many organizations include mobile phones in their BYOD policies today, which creates higher risk to your organization. Mobile phones often don’t have the same level of security measures that computers do, leaving them more susceptible to cyber threats like malware that can wreak havoc on your network if left unchecked.

5. Firewall Misconfigurations

A firewall and an effective firewall management plan are essential for protecting your network. Even with effective security measures in place, misconfigurations can still lead to security breaches, which can disrupt your business. There are several firewall misconfigurations to avoid, but here are just a few to note:

  • Using the default settings: A firewall’s default settings may make it ineffective in your environment. Always customize the settings to suit your business and security needs.
  • Access control: Providing access by role often gives you a higher level of control, as permissions can be added as needed.
  • Monitoring and testing: Regularly test your firewall for security and performance. Make note of any vulnerabilities so they can be patched. Monitor alerts and logs to understand changes and incidents.

6. Not Segmenting Your Network Traffic

Network segmentation can make a huge impact in protecting your network from threats. If you’re not segmenting network traffic, you’re putting your network at greater risk if it becomes compromised. Network segmentation divides your network traffic into smaller segments, which you can create controls around. By not segmenting your traffic, you are effectively keeping a larger attack surface. If your network is penetrated and you don’t have network segmentation in place, a hacker could easily navigate across your network and gain access to more data and systems.

7. Public and Wireless Internet Connections

Accessing your network through non-secure connections like public WiFi is a bad idea and can create network vulnerabilities for your organization. When you don’t have a secure connection or are connected directly on the network, you could be exposing yourself to a man-in-the-middle attack. Users should always use a secure connection like VPN when accessing the corporate network to eliminate the threat of someone piggybacking onto your network connection.

8. Not Having Enough Email Security

Phishing is a pervasive threat to network security. If you only have basic email security measures in place, your employees could fall victim to threats that could impact your network security. By incorporating sophisticated email filtering, Managed Inbox Detection and Response, and training your staff on good email best practices, you can reduce your risk against phishing while also keeping your network protected.

TPx Can Help Secure Your Network

Protect your business from network vulnerabilities by working with TPx for your security needs. We can help protect your network against evolving threats and ensure it is properly monitored with the right technology and systems in place. TPx offers a full suite of managed security services, including firewalls, endpoint security, backups, user security, security awareness training, email security, and advisory services.

Want to learn more about how we can help improve your network security? Request a free Network Security Evaluation. This fast and free evaluation gives you an in-depth view of the current state of your network, identifies network vulnerabilities, and provides information on network performance. Contact us to learn more.

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