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By Shane Pollard | Articles |  Blog |  News |  

How confident are you in your network’s security? Have you covered all the potential gaps in your cybersecurity? A lot of companies today like to think that they won’t become a target but cyber-attacks nowadays are starting to become more common than ever. And these breaches can occur to anybody and usually with harsh results.

From end-users to small businesses to large enterprises, cybersecurity is something that needs to be prioritized at this time. This is especially true with as the security threats of today are continuously evolving.

But what are some of the most crucial IT security skills one should look for when engaging an expert? To get started, we’ve provided you the top skills you need to keep an eye out for right now.

Security Engineering

For companies, cybersecurity and developing network defences should be one of the first steps to take as soon as possible. A security engineer’s job is to keep a network safe from threats by configuring its infrastructure to be secure and dependable from the ground up.

Skilled security engineers develop systems which will protect the right assets with the right approach. There are many aspects covered in security engineering as well as a lot of measures – from code reviews to regular security testing to developing threat models – in order to keep a network safe at all times.

 

Encryption

If security engineering keeps the network and physical assets of a company safe, encryption is the main defence for those involving digital data. Organisations using the cloud should have some form of encryption strategy in place as they are an essential way to keep files safe while they are in transit.

In case your data gets intercepted by a hacker, encryption is going to make it hard for them to use the sensitive information they obtained. This is because the encrypted data won’t be readable to users how aren’t authorised. That is why encryption should be one of the priorities and needs to be integrated well into company networks.

 

Intrusion Detection and Breach Response

Anything strange or suspicious that happens within a network is something that intrusion detection is going to pick up. In fact, Network Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS) are always on the lookout for anomalous behaviour and are flagging them for review. NIDS doesn’t only stop this sort of traffic, it also collects information regarding the concern and informs network administrators about it.

Yet even if that is the case, breaches continue to happen. This is the reason why a breach response expert would be essential as he or she can come up with a response plan against data breaches. Having a solid framework in place will allow you to start acting as soon as a breach occurs.

Furthermore, the framework can be updated as often as needed. For instance, if there are new threats that have to be addressed or if new network components have been installed. Having a strong breach framework ensures that you not only have the resources at the ready, but also what to do once a breach has been detected.

Firewall Development

A firewall is a set of protocols that ensure unauthorised users are blocked from entering your network. Developing your current firewall is a great way to stop malicious software and other unwanted visitors. It lets you make sure that only the right files and individuals can connect to it. Aside from all that, it also helps keep crucial information from leaking out such as confidential company data and user passwords.

 

Vulnerability Analysis

Usually, hackers would scan networks either actively or passively looking for holes they can exploit. A security analysis and vulnerability assessment expert plays an important role in identifying these possible concerns and closing them down. They use security analysis programs to lock on any gaps in the network, communications or computer infrastructure then works on addressing each one according to their priority.

 

Penetration Testing

The identification of possible threats can also involve the deliberate probing of a system or network to spot any weaknesses. This is also known as penetration testing. It’s a great technique to safely locate vulnerabilities prior to a breach and develop a plan to get them fixed. Whether it involves an issue with operating systems, program codes or endpoint concerns, an experienced network administrator can help. These professionals can identify issues and patch them up before they are exploited by outsiders.

A penetration test involves manual or automated processes that try to breach applications, networks and servers to see if it’s possible and where the breach can happen. With this information, administrators can create a report for auditors as evidence of compliance while also providing a list of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.

Penetration testing done well can save you a lot of time and money by helping you avoid costly attacks. Since system downtimes can be a real headache, regularly performing penetration tests can cut off these problems before they happen.

Lastly, penetration testing isn’t a one-and-done deal – it is a continuous process. You will want to get the expertise of a penetration testing specialist on certain occasions, for instance, when opening up a new location or making major changes to your network.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Another holistic approach to improve your line of defence that lets you keep an eye on each touchpoint is SIEM or security information and event management. This is a comprehensive method that tracks and collects information on the network whether be it on security software or endpoint devices. SIEM would then compile this data and make it available for everyone, making managing and analysing information in real-time possible.

Having these systems around can be complicated to set up and maintain so having a skilled SIEM professional around would make it easier.

 

Cybersecurity: TLS, SSL and HTTPS

Although the Internet is a huge, unsecured network where we give and receive data, there are protocols in place that protect us from those who would choose to exploit this. For one, encrypted connections and secure web pages that have HTTPS protocols can keep user data protected when sending and receiving information in browsers. To make communication channels more secure, IT professionals can install TCP/IP protocols along with encryption techniques like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Having anti-malware and anti-spyware installed and updated regularly should be a priority. These are made to monitor Internet traffic or those sent by harmful software.

 

Endpoint Threat Detection and Data Loss Prevention

Following the best security practices such as having the latest updates on antivirus software, operating systems and backing up data regularly can prevent ransomware attacks from being successful. But this can be quite difficult to achieve for organisations who have numerous employees, facilities and systems to take care of.

Users can be the weakest link in any security chain. That is why having an endpoint security expert around can help prevent loss of data and theft that can be caused by users. Furthermore, an endpoint security specialist can also implement various protection levels like authorisation technology which provides devices access to a network.

 

Data Loss Prevention

Another important strategy in terms of security is data loss prevention or DLP. This is a subtype of endpoint security which encompasses steps to make sure sensitive information isn’t sent out from the network either by accident or on purpose. DLP software can monitor networks and ensure authorised personnel are not sharing private data they shouldn’t.

 

Final Thoughts

The protection of your network is not a one-time event, it’s an ongoing practice wherein patches, updates and preventative measures are taken to be successful. These tips are meant to give you advice on what you can do and who you can hire to get your cybersecurity up to par.

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