There’s nothing worse than having your entire team’s production come to a screeching halt because your network has faltered. It not only causes immense frustration (think smashed keyboards) but can lead to massive losses – as high as $5,600 per minute. The good news is that a well-planned and implemented network security plan can preempt downtime.
In fact, with proper network security implementation, downtime from external attackers becomes all but nonexistent.
Now, you may be under the false impression that your business is not being targeted by hackers – after all, aren’t they more likely to attack the tech behemoths worth 12 figures? Not necessarily; the majority of attacks on small businesses. When you consider that the FBI received over 800,000 cybercrime-related complaints in 2022 alone, the need for protection becomes obvious.
In this piece, we’ll provide a walkthrough on developing and implementing a network security plan. That way, your business can be more fully prepared to meet cybersecurity threats – and save yourself from potentially hundreds of thousands in losses.
Network Security Implementation – What Is It?
Before we start with a network security plan template, it’s important to cover the basics.
A network security plan is a security strategy devised to protect your network from cyberattacks.
When developing a network security plan, it’s critical to evaluate each and every aspect of your network and attached devices, including:
- Wired and wireless networks
- Wireless devices connected to your network
- Access controls for the network
- Employee training on cybersecurity best practices
This total evaluation of your network is necessary to better determine the gaps and requisite security requirements that will help keep your network safe from external threats.
What’s more, when you implement network security measures, you need to ensure that you’re meeting all relevant regulatory requirements, such as those required by:
Finally, your network security plan needs to be a living document, one that is able to grow as your business grows and meet ever-evolving threats – it’s the only surefire way to ensure that a security breach does not occur and malicious actors don’t gain access to your business-critical data.
And if you want to ensure your business is fully protected at all times, the single best way to do so is through managed security services.
Why it’s Important to Implement Network Security Measures
Every day, hundreds of millions of terabytes of data are created across the globe. Some of that data is anodyne, like shopping metadata or search history for jeans, but some of it is highly sensitive – medical data, financial data, tax documents, etc.
These sensitive data are highly valuable to hackers; if they can get a hold of them, they can hold them ransom and force you to pay thousands to have it returned. Not paying simply isn’t an option in some cases businesses can’t function without that data. Consider that 10% of businesses are unable to recover following a breach and it’s clear that the stakes are high.
That’s why we believe in the importance of demonstrating a competent network security plan example and how to build it so you can avoid these worst-case disaster scenarios.
How to Implement a Network Security Plan in 7 Steps
Step 1: Assess Your Current Security Array
You can’t fix a problem without first identifying it. To that end, you’ll need to perform an assessment (or a number of assessments) to determine where the security gaps in your network exist. You can make use of:
- Penetration testing
- Vulnerability assessments
- Full IT audits
All depending on the IT support you’re working with and the level of concern.
This risk assessment is necessary in order to identify which prevention systems are missing and need to be implemented – or can even identify gaps in your employee cybersecurity training that could leave your business vulnerable.
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This process can take a few days to several weeks to complete based on the size of your business, the type of technology you work with, and the scope of the audit (vulnerability testing vs full IT audit).
These assessments can include:
- Critical system encryption settings audit
- Identification of vulnerabilities and security risks in your network, including:
- Outdated operating systems
- Weak passwords
- Unauthorized access privileges
- Testing your current security measures for efficacy in identifying and intercepting potential threats
- Proposal of a long-term network security plan to address any issues discovered during the assessment
- Network segmentation plans to isolate immediate security vulnerabilities
No matter what type of testing you perform, your IT support team will present a detailed report that outlines what they found and next steps.
Step 2: Develop IT Security Policies & Procedures
Now that you have a comprehensive overview of your current network security positioning, it’s time to begin the implementation of network security solutions and best practices.
The implementation of network security planning usually begins with a General Information Security Policy, a cybersecurity bible that outlines general best cybersecurity best practices, and can include details on how to manage:
- Social media
- Internet usage
- Mobile devices
Step 3: Get Your Team Up to Date on Cybersecurity Best Practices
Your team may need specific training on the policies outlined above, so it’s best to schedule time for them to become trained up, especially considering that social engineering attacks are the most common entry point for hackers.
Proper training and policies in place are the only way to counter these specific types of attacks – there’s no technical solution to these particular threats.
Step 4: Build Out a Threat Response Protocol
The key to preventing cybersecurity breaches is fleet-footed responses the moment threats are detected. The only way to ensure your team is ready for such a swift response is through the development and implementation of security response protocols.
This includes detailed steps that your business and your team are to follow should a data breach occur.
This document should be clear, concise, and provide actionable steps on how to effectively respond to breaches.
Step 5: Implement Network Security Technical Measures
Now that the human avenue of attack into your network is addressed, it’s time to implement technical safeguards.
These technical safeguards include:
- Advanced firewalls
- Antivirus software
- Improved access control systems
- Improved security controls
- Updated network software
- Updated network hardware
- 24/7 automated threat detection and monitoring
With these technical improvements in place, the implementation of network security measures are now complete and you have the foundations in place that can keep your business safe for years to come – if properly maintained and managed.
Step 6: Ensure Long-Term Security
Every year, cybersecurity threats are constantly growing in both number and sophistication. In order to counter these threats, your business needs to outfit itself with ongoing security support to ensure that it’s never outgunned by hackers.
An MSSP (managed security services provider) can manage your entire security infrastructure, so you can rest easy knowing that your business is safe. Better yet, it will be one last thing for you to worry about, allowing you to rededicate your time to business-critical tasks.
Your MSSP will build out a network security plan example to demonstrate how it can help, then use that network security plan template to quickly implement a working defense system.
With managed security services, you can work with a variety of seasoned security experts that can help ensure that your network is all but impenetrable to attackers – both in the present and as your business grows.
These specialists include:
- Information Security Officer (ISO)
- Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO)
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
In that way, you can avoid having to search out a sample network security plan and instead have your outsourced team build it for you.
Cyber Awareness Training From an Elite Team
Instead of busying yourself with a network security proposal example and building the plan on your own, why not have experts with combined decades of experience do it for you?
OSG has over 80 technical certifications and the necessary experience to implement network security plans that maximize security without burdening workflows.
Contact Outsource Solutions Group for a fully managed IT security service package that ensures your business and network are ready for any threat.