Network security

NSA: Here’s how administrators should manage network security

With cybersecurity now the top concern for IT managers and their teams, dozens of organizations including private companies, nonprofits, IT vendors, and cybersecurity vendors have published cyber hardening guides. over the past few years to help organizations secure their infrastructure.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, in particular, has been a leading voice in raising awareness, continuously publishing guides to help administrators secure their organization’s network.

However, the National Security Agency (NSA) has also been an active voice, notably with a recently released network infrastructure security guide designed to help administrators set up secure networks. The document includes tips for properly configuring devices and networks.

In a brief press release, the agency said network environments must evolve as new technologies, exploits and defenses affect them.

“While a compromise does happen and poses a risk to all networks, network administrators can significantly reduce the risk of incidents as well as the potential impact should a compromise occur,” the agency said. These tips focus on design and configurations that protect against common vulnerabilities and weaknesses in existing networks. »

The NSA’s Network Security Report contains recommendations on perimeter and internal network security as well as guides on improving monitoring and access controls through the network.

According to the NSA, existing networks likely have most of the recommended configurations noted in the report, so administrators should use the report to help prioritize next steps to harden networks against malicious activity.

the 58 page report includes guidance on Zero Trust, network architecture and design, security maintenance, authentication, securing administrator accounts, remote logging and monitoring, remote administration, and services network, routing, interface ports and notification banners.

Much of the report covers the basics of cybersecurity, such as password hygiene for administrators and keeping systems up-to-date, but also goes a little deeper into topics such as authentication procedures, the principle of least privilege, encryption and disabling unnecessary services.

The report repeatedly identifies administrators as the IT professionals tasked with defending networks from adversary threats, calling their role “critical” in doing so.

“Following these tips will help these network advocates implement cybersecurity best practices, reduce the risk of compromise, and ensure a more secure and better protected network,” the report states.

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