Security Checklist

Over the last few months, I have shared many tips and suggestions on how to protect the data in your network environment.  This week, I am providing a basic checklist with the minimum items that every organization needs to implement.

To put things in the proper perspective, policies and procedures are the foundation of a successful security program.  The reality is most organizations today are extremely vulnerable and need to start a defensive program immediately vs. taking the time to build strong policies and procedures.  This checklist is not a substitute for a good security program, it is only presented as a starting point.  Once these items have been implemented, you need to proceed with developing your security program.

  • All operating systems need to be patched on a regular basis. This includes items such as routers, firewalls, and anything that has access to or can be accessed from the Internet.
  • All servers and workstations need to have a current anti-virus/malware solution implemented and updated regularly.
  • A business class firewall must be installed and updated regularly. Business class firewalls are not the devices you plug into your network and then to the Internet.  They need to be properly configured to assure maximum benefit.  The features included in a business class firewall are:
    • Antivirus Engine: AV protection at the edge of your network.
    • Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention Services (IDS/IPS)
    • DNS Filtering: The ability to stop users from going to known, bad sites that contain malware or inappropriate material.
    • Application Filtering: Prevent unauthorized applications’ access to the Internet.
    • Network Segmentation: Ability to create multiple internal networks for wireless and wired connections.  Devices connected to your network that do not need access to your internal resources, such as your server, should be on their own network segment.  Examples of networks that should be segmented are: guest wireless access, environmental control systems, such as your heating and air conditioning system, postage meters, etc.
  • Backup Solution: The backup solution should include two key items.  The first is for a quick recovery of data.  The other consideration should be for a catastrophic event, such as your server, or if your facility is no longer available.  Consideration must be given to where your backup data will be stored (on-site/off-site) and how fast you can recover from an event.  Several event scenarios should be considered.
  • Develop a culture of security. Your users need to understand the important role they play in protecting your business’s and your clients’ data.

In the next few blogs to follow, I will be going deeper into building a security program.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs